Tim Tebow To Become The Fifth Quarterback On The Philadelphia Eagles

Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow, who hasn’t played in a regular season NFL game since being released by the New York Jets at the end of the 2012 season, will be joining a Philadelphia Eagles team that is already top heavy with Quarterbacks:

Reports that the Philadelphia Eagles are about to sign Tim Tebow raise a host of questions: How will Tebow fare after two years away from the game? What role does Coach Chip Kelly have in mind for him? Will he be embraced by the tough fans?

But the most conspicuous is this: Just how many quarterbacks do the Eagles need?

It is one thing to stockpile receivers or defensive backs. But teams can use only one quarterback at a time, and sometimes having even two candidates for starter can lead to a controversy that eats up a team. Now the Eagles have five quarterbacks, three of whom have started N.F.L. games.

But in another twist, precisely zero of the five could be considered proven, successful N.F.L. starters.

Tebow’s signing is another of the curious, news-making moves made this off-season by Kelly, including letting go of the team’s starting quarterback, best running back and best receiver.

The nominal starter at this point is Sam Bradford, acquired in March from the St. Louis Rams in a surprising trade for the Eagles’ starter last season, Nick Foles.

Bradford was the No. 1 pick in the 2010 draft out of Oklahoma. His rookie season was a success, as he led a team that had been 1-15 to a 7-9 record and, crucially, played all 16 games. After two weaker seasons, Bradford began to sustain injury problems and played just seven games in 2013 and none last year.

In his career, he has averaged 6.3 yards per pass attempt, ranking him at the back of the pack among active quarterbacks. Rams fans have been underwhelmed, and there was hardly an outcry when he was shipped to Philadelphia.

His status as starter there, and even his roster spot, may not be locked up. Though jerseys of the Eagles’ other new acquisitions are readily available, Bradford jerseys were not in stock at local stores, NJ.com reported last week.

Backing up Bradford at this point will be Mark Sanchez. A No. 5 overall pick out of Southern California, Sanchez spent four years as the Jets’ starter, putting up average numbers at best. The highlight was an 11-5 record and a trip to the conference finals in his second season, 2010. But things turned sour shortly after.

No matter what Sanchez accomplishes the rest of his career, he will be remembered for a play that joins Leon Lett’s fumble recovery, Wide Right and the Miracle at the Meadowlands in infamy. In the so-called butt fumble in November 2012, Sanchez simply ran into his own teammate’s backside, leading to a fumble recovery for a touchdown for the Patriots.

Sanchez actually did a fairly decent job at Quarterback when Nick Foles was injured last season, so his position as the chief backup is likely secure. Then, there’s Matt Barkley, who hasn’t had much of an NFL career, and C.J. Kinne, who has an even thinner NFL resume than Barkley. And now there’s Tebow. Obviously, the Eagles aren’t going to be going into the regular season with five Quarterbacks on the roster, so at least one of these five is going to have to go, and it’s likely going to be Barkley, Kinne, or Tebow. In that respect, perhaps, Tebow does have an advantage over the other two and thus may make it onto the roster as a third stringer, but even that’s not certain given the fact that his performance with the Jets was not impressive and that he didn’t even make it out of training camp when he signed with the Patriots two years ago. In any case, though, Tebow will not be the Eagles starter and he won’t be the primary backup. That’s bound to disappoint his fans, but given his skill level he should probably just consider himself lucky that he has a job in the NFL at all right now.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Moosebreath says:

    Doug,

    This is the time of year with 80 man rosters. And Chip Kelly likes having 5 QB’s so he can run very amusing drills with all 5 throwing to different receivers, so he can maximize the number of passes thrown in the limited time the players can be on the field, then watch the tape later to actually evaluate the players. If the Iggles are still carrying 5 QB’s after the cuts following the third pre-season game, then you can say they are top-heavy with QB’s.

    I’d say Tebow is the odds-on favorite to be the 3rd QB when the season starts, as Kinne is basically there because he knows the system. Can’t execute at the speed the pros play at, but he knows the system. He’s effectively another coach. Barkley has had 2 years, and shown little.

    Also, Kinne’s first name is Gary, so the initials in the post are wrong.

  2. C. Clavin says:

    From what I understand Tebow has spent his free-time working on his mechanics…so good for him. You have to respect someone who can both recognize their weakness and then do something about it.
    But he’s a Gator.
    And he believes in silly things like virgin births, rising from the dead, walking on water…and an infinitely old, infinitely powerful, omniscient being that talks directly to Republican Presidential candidates.
    So mixed feelings on this.

  3. But teams can use only one quarterback at a time

    This isn’t actually true. Some dual qb formations have started showing up at the college leve (Princeton even has a three qb formation). Some are predicting a two qb formation is going to show up in the pros at some point. Maybe Chip Kelly has decided that it’s time.

  4. James Pearce says:

    He’s better than Sanchez…..

  5. Pinky says:

    The league is really hurting for good quarterbacks right now. Maybe Kelly is preparing to trade Sanchez.

  6. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Hmmmm…

    Kind of reminds me of Mark “The Bird” Fidrych of the Detroit Tigers.

    Big news, quirky, then… went nowhere.

    Don’t get me wrong, both add some color to the game, but when you look at the big picture it’s more to drive attendance than to add a strategic player to the roster.

  7. Rafer Janders says:

    Thank God.

  8. Pinky says:

    @James P:

    Bradford plus the number 20 pick might be enough to move into a position to get Mariota

    Bradford plus the 20th pick equals Mariota? There’d have to be a lot more to make that deal work. What team would trade away a potential elite quarterback in exchange for Sam Bradford? Philip Rivers, maybe. Anyway, trading away your quarterback for anything less than pick #2 would be too risky, when so many teams are in need of one. No point in getting to pick #5 (without a quarterback) in what’s considered a two-quarterback draft year. There may be other prospects for QB, but you don’t have to trade up for them. And you don’t bring in 5 quarterbacks and plan to draft a 6th.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Pinky: This. Also, Rams… Please go away. Don’t go away mad, just go.

  10. Pete S says:

    I misread the headline, I thought it said “Tim Tebow to Become Fifth Best Quarterback on The Philadelphia Eagles”. That would be true too, even if all they had was Bradford, Sanchez and a couple of running backs throwing halfback option passes.

  11. Pinky says:

    @Pete S: I dunno. The league has its share of standard-type quarterbacks who can’t win games, so maybe there’s room for an unconventional one who can? Some day someone’s going to figure out how to use these college quarterbacks who supposedly aren’t fit for the pros, and the game’s going to look a lot different a couple years later.

  12. John H says:

    @C. Clavin:

    If that disqualified NFL QBs, there would be very few to choose from. Besides, isn’t it more fun watching a full grown man crediting his invisible friend rather than his blockers?