|You can throw a lot of accusations at Chip Kelly. You can say his playcalling is college standard, you can say his man management is questionable when dealing with strong characters (Brandon Boykin, Evan Mathis & LeSean McCoy spring to mind) , and you can say his obsession with signing former Oregon players is turning the team into the Philadelphia Ducks, but ..
You can never, ever say, that Chip Kelly makes things boring (despite, as a Person, being on a par with Joe Philbin for his interviews). So as much as I may have sounded like a desperate man every time it was mentioned that Tebow was still on our roster, I guess inside I knew when it came time to make the big decision, I still had some faith in the crazy bastard.
And now the Circus that is Tim Tebow is leaving town, and with it, the debate that never made any sense to me, that being “Why is all the focus on who will be the 3rd choice QB”.
3rd String QB’s rarely get gametime. Even in the event the 1st choice is injured, they’re still that guy you only see in garbage time on blowout wins (or defeats). He’s the guy who for a lot of teams, you dont even know his name. Nobody wears his shirt, he gets no mention in the pre-game team lineups, and in the stadium, you never hear the fans chanting for him to be introduced to a mis-firing offence. He’s usually Christian Ponder (more on that later).
“Its Tebow Time” , “Tebow the top 5 selling NFL shirt in the league” , “Tebow leads Eagles to pre-season victory”. Just a few of the quite bizarre headlines that Eagles fans have been reading over the last few months, most of which seem to be written by people within the media who are either close friends of, or massive fans of, Tim Tebow. These are the same people who last season, would mention his name at the slightest sign of a wobble by any teams outside of the playoff contenders. The same, tired, easily disproved arguments were dragged out. “Tebow has experience at the top level”, “Tebow has a better winning record in playoffs than Quarterback X” , “Tebow can make this team better”.
Tebow’s stats have always been the very definition of College QB who failed to make the transition. His 15 minutes of fame came in the 2011 Denver season where he played in THAT playoff game (316 Yard , 31.6 Nielsen ratings, 31.6 yards per completion). In that game, he was 10/21 and the majority of the yards came from the legs of Demaryus Thomas rather than the arm of Tebow. The 45-10 thumping they received from the Patriots in the next game (9-26 , 136yds , sacked 5 times) was what Bronco’s fans had come to expect from Tebow. A tentative quarterback who, given time, could scramble a bit, but simply didnt have the arm to make the big plays when it mattered. His stats were amongst the worst of any starting QB in the league (46.5% pass completion, sacked 33 times, 13 fumbles, 6.4yds per pass, and most obviously, only 12TD’s from 14 appearances). Denver with Tebow got it done on the ground.
And my colleague Chris will tell you, they also participated that year in the worst game of Football ever seen in the NFL , a 7-3 defeat to the Chiefs on the last day of the season. Yes, that would be another match (and there were a few) where Tebow didnt throw a single TD.
There was an argument to be made I guess for having Tebow on the roster as a short yardage QB, a mobile option to be brought in when the team needed it. This argument can be made, quite successfully, for your 2nd string QB, but not your 3rd stringer. If you build your offence around one guy with an exceptional arm, but little movement, and a second guy who maybe doesnt have dynamite guns, but can throw a few lobs to tight ends and scramble for a 1st down, then im all for it. It is by all accounts his strength, and he showed in pre-season that he’s still decent in that respect. If he catches on as a no.2 somewhere that skillset will hold him in pretty good stead. There’s talk now of him going to Oakland, where he would be an interesting choice to backup 2nd year QB Derek Carr, of whom a lot is expected this year after a solid Rookie campaign. The main talk however is that he should likely head north to Canada, where he can get a starting berth, and show the world what he’s all aboot.
In the end, Chip even threw us a classic curveball. He traded the other competing QB (Matt Barkley) to Arizona for a conditional 7th round pick prior to cutting Tebow. He pulled no punches when explaining the decision. “We felt Tim has progressed, but we didn’t feel he was good enough to be the (No.) 3 right now.”. The cynic in me says “Our number 2 is Mark Sanchez”, but on his day, there’s no comparison betweent he 2. Sanchez, butt fumbling and all, is a far better pocket passer.
Wherever he lands, the circus will follow. As he said on being cut by the Patriots, “I will remain in relentless pursuit of continuing my lifelong dream of being an NFL quarterback”. He’s 28, and by no means is done as an athlete, but if that spot at Oakland fails to materialise, then its probably fair to say that the Circus is closed, and the fans should start looking for its next freakshow.
Addendum : You’ll note I mentioned Christian Ponder earlier. Today he’s been cut by Oakland, and Chip being Chip (and wanting to make sure no Eagles fan ever gets to sleep easily) has mooted the idea of bringing him in as his third stringer. Thanks Chip. I had almost 24 hours of breathing without the paper bag this weekend, and now normal service is resumed.
Still, at least he’s not Blaine Gabbert.