The contrast in the New England Patriots' preseason opener against the Philadelphia Eagles was striking.

Quarterback Tom Brady played the first 16 offensive snaps and the offense looked pretty similar to what we've seen in recent years. There might have been new faces in various spots but it was the same explosive results.

When No. 2 signal-caller Ryan Mallett came on for the next 25 offensive snaps the majority of plays looked the same. At 6-foot-6 and listed at 245 pounds Mallett has a cannon of a right arm and is more of a pure pocket passer.

Then there was Tim Tebow. After running a few conventional plays in the two-minute offense with little success the Patriots reshaped their attack for Tebow. All of a sudden there was a full-house backfield on one snap. Some plays with option-based concepts were run. At one point a receiver motioned into the backfield.

It was the type of stuff that one would never see with Brady or even Mallett in the game. Now we know why.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick who to this point hasn't gone into much public detail about the team's plans with Tebow loosened up a bit on Monday. Three weeks after not even acknowledging if his intention was to play Tebow at quarterback Belichick not only said so Monday but he took it one step further. He referred to Tebow as a running quarterback saying he is the first the Patriots have had since backup Matt Cassel from 2005 to 2008.

Belichick's remarks came on sports radio WEEI as part of his weekly appearance where he often seems more comfortable going into depth than during his standard news conference setting.