You knew Sunday’s pre-season game between the Eagles and Colts was going to be different than the average, run of the mill game. The reason? Tim Tebow.
Tebow, who has been dubbed polarizing yet average in the same breath, took his much anticipated first set of pre-season snaps for the Eagles in the third quarter of Sunday’s game. How well did he perform? Is his throwing motion fixed? Will he make the roster? Let’s discuss.
Now, I am a big Tim Tebow fan. I watched every game he started during his tenure with the Denver Broncos, and I even watched a lot of the Jets games in 2012 just to see if he would get put in at some point. I am biased in a small regard, because I want Tebow to succeed.
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I think he is an exciting player who definitely has a lot of talent and passion for playing in the NFL. Sadly, the media hype and fan following he attains, makes bringing him into an ordinary NFL training camp very difficult. But Chip Kelly and the Eagles aren’t ordinary, making this the best shot Tebow has to make an NFL team.
Tebow had an up and down night, stepping into the game in the third quarter, he showed off some improvements early. Playing a shotgun style of offence that Chip Kelly loves and Tebow thrives in, he completed his first five of six passes for over 60-yards and led the team down to field goal range.
Now, despite the kicker missing the field goal, the drive did showcase improvements in Tebow’s throwing motion. The ball seemed to be coming out quicker and was being thrown with less awkwardness than his old, original throwing motion. A positive drive overall for Tebow and the Eagles.
Sadly, things got worse as the game progressed. His new throwing motion deteriorated as he only completed one of his next six passes and was sacked three times. The offensive line protection was awful and the snaps he was taking were often flying over his head or down to his ankles. He did bust off a nice seven yard TD run late in the game which pretty much sealed the victory for the Eagles.
His final stats read: six completions out of twelve attempts for 69 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions, four runs for 15 yards, including the seven yard touchdown run. Not great but not bad either. If Tebow plans to make this roster he has to improve his play, complete more passes and get the ball out faster to avoid sacks.
Now, the argument can and will be made that he is playing with third-string backups, players who might not even be on the Eagles roster come September, but he is also playing against Colts’ players who are in that same exact situation, so Tebow has to play better.
If he is to make the Eagles roster, it will most likely be as the third-string quarterback. Unfortunately for Tebow, the incumbent third-string quarterback, Matt Barkley, showed no signs that he was giving his job up easily. Barkley played very well; he was accurate, poised and efficient, something Tebow was not. Trade rumours have been floating around Matt Barkley in recent months and perhaps those trades are still on the table, but one cannot assume Barkley will be traded, especially Tebow himself.
To answer all the questions I prefaced earlier:
How well did he perform? I honestly think Tebow performed average, his protection was awful and I put some of the blame on the Eagles’ offensive line, but Tebow often held the ball too long and was inaccurate on deeper passes.
Is his throwing motion fixed? Not sure about that really, it looked good early on, but he reverted back to his old motion slightly as the game progressed and the pressure mounted. I’m going to say no, it isn’t fixed.
Will he make the roster? Yes, I believe Tebow will make the roster, despite all the deficiencies in his game that I’ve mentioned, because I think his skill-set suits Chip Kelly’s offence perfectly and his passion, will to win and never-give-up attitude is something Chip Kelly appreciates and wants on his team.
Only time will tell if Tebow is an Eagle come September, and pre-season has only just begun. I look forward to seeing Tebow play again next Saturday versus the Ravens; hopefully he has a better night.