Many doubted Tim Tebow's chances of making the Philadelphia Eagles, but there are reports that he's set to make the team's final roster and he's looked good in preseason play. Well, more precisely, he's looked like a good Tim Tebow.
He's made some big plays with his feet, like this 26-yard gainer against the Ravens:
And a touchdown against the Colts:
Tebow has looked good enough running the ball against other team's backups that it's easy to imagine Chip Kelly keeping him on the roster. Kelly has been nothing but an offensive mastermind at every stop he's made, from FCS to FBS to the NFL. I could see him devising a limited, but effective scheme for Tebow, and Tebow has looked good enough running the ball to execute it.
But Tim Tebow will certainly not be the Philadelphia Eagles' starting QB. That is Sam Bradford.
Tim Tebow will not be the Eagles' backup QB. That is Mark Sanchez.
Bradford completed 60 percent of his passes with a 14-4 TD ratio in his most recent season as an NFL QB. Sanchez completed 64 percent of his passes for 7.8 yards per pass last season. Tebow's career completion percentage is 47.9, and he most recently went 11-for-30 in preseason play with the Patriots in 2013.
Tebow's ability to read defenses is bad and his ability to complete passes is worse, as he's just 8-for-17 for a scant 82 yards. On this play, he opted to hurl his body towards the goal line (coming up short) instead of looking up and making a simple pitch-and-catch to the aggressively open receiver in the back of the end zone.
If you think Tebow, who has never proven himself to accurately throw the ball against NFL defenses, should usurp either of the guys ahead of him, you're simply being unreasonable.
But Tebow isn't fighting for a starting job right now. He's fighting for a third string job. He's fighting against Matt Barkley, whose career is more checkered: After being picked in the fourth round in 2013, he's thrown four picks and no touchdowns on 50 NFL passes. (That's bad.)
This comes down to a decision about what Chip Kelly wants out of a third-string QB. If the Eagles want somebody who can reasonably replicate their top two guys should somebody get injured -- and in past years, somebody on the Eagles has gotten injured -- they should take Barkley into the season.
And if Chip Kelly wants trade value out of his third-string QB, he should also keep Barkley. There's reportedly a market for him, and he's looked alright in preseason. Meanwhile, the other 31 NFL GM's seem to think the Eagles were crazy for even taking a training camp flyer on Tebow.
But Tebow could give the Eagles something different. While most third-string QB's just spend the season on the sideline unless there's an injury, Tebow could come into the game and lead the Eagles out of a read-option look. And having a running QB working with the scout team could be a great help off the field when the first-team defense needs practice looks against a mobile passer.
Tebow has found a team that likes him and might be willing to put in the effort to use him the way he should most effectively be used. But the Tebow brigade shouldn't get carried away. He's going to exist in a limited role, one that matches his skill set and talent level. Saying he should take over as starter over more productive players is kinda like this pass:
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