Tim Tebow is poised to make the third NFL roster of his career if he can hang on for the rest of the Philadelphia Eagles preseason. According to a recent report from ESPN, Eagles head coach Chip Kelly is “impressed” by the versatile quarterback and that he should make the final 53-man roster if he can avoid any major mistakes during the rest of the preseason.
Specifically and even ironically, Kelly’s praised the skills that made Tebow a pariah and afforded his NFL career a three-year hiatus. Entering his third season in Philadelphia, Kelly is impressed by Tebow’s running skills and by his improvement as a passer. And with the NFL changing the two-point conversion rule Tebow could become a valuable weapon to the Eagles offense and stands to overthrow Matt Barkley as the team’s third quarterback.
Tebow has flashed his improvements in Philadelphia’s two preseason victories, most recently over the weekend in a home matchup against the Baltimore Ravens. With the Eagles already up 30-7, the 28-year-old entered the matchup in the fourth quarter and eventually went 2-for-5 for 13 yards, but made up for his inaccuracy with 31 total rushing yards, highlighted by a 26-yard scamper to finish third on the squad in rushing.
Tebow did however show the kind of inefficiency and lack of pocket presence that has plagued him since he joined the NFL back in 2010. With the Eagles driving and on the four-yard line just before the two minute warning, Tebow scrambled and continued to read the Ravens defense and his receivers in the endzone, only to miss wide open rookie receiver Mike Johnson and charge ahead for the left corner pylon.
Still, Tebow’s passing numbers could be a bit skewed after he received far less reps against Baltimore. In the preseason opener, Tebow had far more opportunities and went 6-for-12 for 69 yards and rushed for another 15 yards and one touchdown on four attempts in the 36-10 beat-down of the Indianapolis Colts.
As of now, NJ.com predicts Tebow could surge ahead of Barkley but that Kelly could opt to start the regular season with only two quarterbacks on the roster and wait and see if a third is necessary after a week or two.
With Mark Sanchez firmly ensconced as the primary back-up, Barkley remains Tebow’s sole competition and Kelly’s choice will likely come down to who offers more versatility to his complex, high-paced offense.
Barkley has shown significant improvement as a more traditional pocket passer to potential fill in for presumed starter Sam Bradford or Sanchez. Barkley has completed 18-of-34 passes for 278 yards and one interception during the preseason, and while he hasn’t finished a drive with a touchdown he still remains a valuable commodity to Philadelphia. Yet, with the crowded quarterback situation, Barkley could also be traded.
Both Tebow and Barkley have two more games to impress Kelly and the Eagles staff, beginning with Aug. 29’s trip to face the Green Bay Packers followed by Sept. 3’s road matchup with the New York Jets.
Though one or both could technically be cut at any time during training camp, the days before and after the matchups with Green Bay and New York will be ones to watch. Teams must get their rosters down to 75 players by Sept. 1 at 4 p.m. and then on Sept. 5 rosters must be pared down to 53.