Philadelphia Eagles: Oh, No. It’s Tebow


Normally, it wouldn’t be news that a team signed a quarterback that no one else wanted to a tiny deal on the eve of a pre-draft team workout period.

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But Tim Tebow is not a normal quarterback that nobody wanted.

And nothing has been normal, this offseason, for Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles.

On Monday, everything was progressing quite calmly: The draft was fast-approaching. The talk of the Eagles trading up for Marcus Mariota had calmed to a quiet hum. The sounds of birds singing and children playing were only interrupted by occasional reminders that Evan Mathis still might be traded and that the Eagles still have that gaping hole in their secondary.

And then Jay Glazer did this:

So, now what are we supposed to do? Let’s keep our calm. Okay, ESPN? Let’s remember that we’re still early in the offseason and that Tebow’s been out of the game for awhile and that it’s more likely he’s simply a third-at-best quarterback option for the Eagles, okay? There is no reason, I’m sure we can agree, to treat this as top-shelf news. Right?

Oh. Yeah. I mean… or you could go that route.

For me, the questions is simple (even if the answer is not): Why? Why, oh why, Chip Kelly, would this be part of the plan?

Why, if looking for a back-up to a back-up, would you elect to bring in a player whose signing was obviously going to cause such a storm of attention?

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Why subject your players to that kind of attention right now? Why further cloud a quarterback field that no one seems to understand?

Why not let practice-squader G.J. Kinne earn the third quarterback job that will be open when Matt Barkley is either cut or traded for… I dunno… a signed Matt Barkley USC jersey?

Why not bring in a late-round draft pick with some untapped potential?

Or sign a veteran that’s got a bit more… what’s the world I’m looking for? Ability-to-play-quarterback?

Some, like Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman would argue that it’s Chip Kelly’s ego. And although the piece is poorly conceived and clunkily written: Freeman has a point. Not exactly the one he’s attempting to make. But a point, nonetheless.

Kelly sure is an egotistical guy. He’s an NFL head coach. Show me 32 of those… and I’ll show you 32 guys with healthier-than-average egos. And Kelly’s very well might be healthier than most. And I believe there is a part of that ripe ego that would absolutely love to live in a world where Chip Kelly is the guy who resurrected (pun ardently intended) the career of Tim Tebow.

Jan 1, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; EPSN analyst Tim Tebow prior to the 2015 Sugar Bowl game between the TCU Horned Frogs and the Mississippi Rebels at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Drew Magary of Deadspin tossed around several reasons why Chip Kelly has made this move. They’re entertaining and they range from the plausible-but-silly (Kelly thinks Tebow has improved as a quarterback) to the loony and contrived (The NFL paid the Eagles to stir the pot.)

Everyone is guessing. Because no one seems to know.

Here I come to the rescue? No: I am a bit stumped, here, too.

But here’s my best guess:

This isn’t a big deal to Chip Kelly. He recognizes some simple facts:

Tebow is a talented football player (read: not a quarterback.)

There is no offense in the NFL and no coach in the NFL that stands a better chance at finding a use for Tebow than the Eagles offense and Chip Kelly given the reliance on zone-read plays, the desire to have a quarterback that is a threat to run, and the number of quick throws that don’t rely on a quarterback to make long progressions (something Tebow has proven beyond question he cannot do.)

Signing a veteran free agent to a risk-free, one-year deal really costs your team nothing if the experiment doesn’t work out.

Matt Barkley is not a reliable option as a third quarterback. So there’s little harm in looking elsewhere.

Kelly seems unfazed by the potential for distraction. Or for confusion. He seems that way in most of his dealings. He cuts Pro Bowl receivers. He trades away franchise-leading rushers. He agrees to pay always-injured quarterbacks massive sums of money.

Call it egotistical. Or unflappable.

Call Kelly a loon. Or a maverick.

I think he’s just a smart football coach who just made a dumb football decision.

Next: Enough with Landon Collins to the Eagles

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