The Tebow Plan: Some Thoughts

By Dave Spadaro

Chip Kelly sees a roster spot and wants to maximize its existence. In the case of the No. 3 quarterback job on the Eagles depth chart, maybe Kelly wants more than a down-to-an-emergency player to utilize the roster position. Maybe that’s why Kelly wanted quarterback Tim Tebow, who signed a one-year contract with the Eagles on Monday morning …



Chip Kelly sees a roster spot and wants to maximize its existence. In the case of the No. 3 quarterback job on the Eagles depth chart, maybe Kelly wants more than a down-to-an-emergency player to utilize the roster position. Maybe that’s why Kelly wanted quarterback Tim Tebow, who signed a one-year contract with the Eagles on Monday morning. 

If he weren’t Tim Tebow, this news would be not much more than a one-line announcement as the Eagles look to add competition at quarterback, bring in another arm for the post-draft workouts and see if a player who has been out of the NFL for two full seasons can earn a roster spot.

But this is Tim Tebow, and this is making headlines everywhere.

The Eagles worked out Tebow a month ago, on March 16 to be exact, a private session in the bubble at the NovaCare Complex. Tebow, the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback from Florida who has not played since he was released by New England on August 31, 2013 as the Patriots trimmed their roster to 53 players, did enough in that session to convince the team he was worthy of a contract.

How it plays out remains to be seen, and the speculation is rampant. The sense here is that Tebow is on the roster to compete for a role on the quarterback depth chart, along with Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley and G.J. Kinne. There are no guarantees with Tebow, a first-round draft pick of the Denver Broncos in 2010 who was traded to the New York Jets in 2012 and then joined New England for a failed roster run in 2013. Tebow has been working in television with ESPN and the SEC Network since.

He’s also been training as a quarterback, reportedly working with noted throwing coach Tom House. Tebow hasn’t played in an NFL game since 2012, but he’s a legendary competitor and a winner. Tebow, the college roommate of wide receiver Riley Cooper, led the Florida Gators to a pair of national championships before Denver selected him in the first round of the 2010 draft.


Tebow’s NFL numbers: 35 games, 173 completions in 361 attempts (47.9 percent), 17 touchdowns, nine interceptions. Tebow started 11 games for Denver in 2011, passing for 1,729 yards, 12 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. He also ran for 660 yards and scored six touchdowns and helped the Broncos beat Pittsburgh in a playoff game.

Whatever Tebow has done in the past, however, is merely a historical footnote. To wonder how Kelly will use him here is the story, the fascinating subplot as we consider the quarterback picture. Sam Bradford is the starter, recovering from the ACL injury, his second in two seasons, that sidelined Bradford for all of the 2014 season in St. Louis. Mark Sanchez – a teammate of Tebow’s in New York – is the quality, veteran backup who is competing for playing time after compiling a 4-4 record as a starter for the Eagles last year.

Who’s number three? Will it be Barkley, a fourth-round draft pick in 2013 who has been in the system for two seasons? How about Kinne, an athletic prospect who has been on the practice squad for two years? Maybe it’s Tebow, who has the “move” ability to give Kelly some creative freedom designing packages to use Tebow’s versatility.

So what is Kelly thinking? Since we haven’t yet heard from Kelly regarding the move, here are some thoughts:

  • 1. Maybe Kelly sees Tebow as someone who can be an active third quarterback on gamedays. He can run down and cover kicks, something he did with New York when he was the personal protector on punts. He can be a short-yardage and red-zone threat as Kelly puts in some X’s and O’s that, at the very least, defenses will have to prepare to defend each week. The Eagles, remember, ranked among the league’s worst in the red zone last season. They’ve added physical, north-south running backs DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews to the backfield. Maybe Tebow is another weapon to utilize, or not. At the very least, defenses would have to account for those “mobile-quarterback” packages if Kelly and offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur can put something together to take advantage of Tebow’s skills.
  • 2. Would it be crazy to think that Tebow could be used, at the very least, as a personal protector on punts? He had success in New York at the posiition. It could be a too off-the-wall idea for special teams coordinator Dave Fipp to consider, but we’re thinking out loud here, having fun. If Tebow, a sturdy 235-pound man, can at least be a threat as an up-back for a direct snap, couldn’t that have a positive impact?
  • 3. The NFL owners are mulling over some radical changes to the extra point, and one idea on the table is to move the line of scrimmage for two-point conversions to the 1 1/2-yard line. Could Tebow be an option in that scenario? Having Tebow running some read-option plays, getting him to the edge and having defenses wondering whether he will hold the ball or pitch it back to Murray or Mathews or Darren Sproles? It’s interesting food for thought.
  • 4. Is there something else Tebow can bring to the table? Does Kelly envision him as another “Swiss Army Knife” who can play as a “move” tight end to get the ball in his hands in some other fashion?

The Eagles have made a bold move here, a top-of-the-page decision, to sign Tebow. The way Kelly sees it, maybe, is that there is no risk, other than a lot of attention (wasn’t there going to be a lot, anyway?) directed toward the quarterback position and Tebow, in particular. It’s a one-year deal. The money is minimal, by NFL standards. There are no guarantees that Tebow even makes the team. This is, as coaches like to say, about competition.

Kelly, then, wants to take the third quarterback position – one that means trouble in the NFL when a team gets that far down the depth chart – and maximize its scope. Tebow can now be a full participant in the team’s offseason conditioning program, get a lot of reps when the time comes to get on the field for Organized Team Activities, and then Kelly can really see what Tebow can bring to the Eagles’ offense.

There is always a “why” with Kelly, and he clearly sees something in Tebow that the rest of the NFL has not embraced. As the offseason continues, and Tebow gains his footing in the offense and Kelly evaluates him on a daily basis, we will have more clarity. Right now, it’s all speculation, and it sure is tantalizing and fun and fascinating.

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25 Responses to “The Tebow Plan: Some Thoughts”

  1. Bubbaelvis says:

    I am semi-amused by all the reporters that say Tebow is in Philadelphia to compete for the 3rd string QB spot as if that is a fact. No one with the Eagles have said that. I doubt that Tim would sign if he didn’t have some indication that he would be competing to start. Even if it is a slim chance, I guarantee He is going in with the mindset that he can win the job. What a story that will be when Tim is shredding defenses as the Eagles QB. I don’t know what Coach Kelly saw at the workout on 3/16/15, but it had to be beyond routine for him to chance the ridicule that signing Tim brings. I think we will be seeing Tebow at Florida 2.0.

    • brandi says:

      We’re seeing the storyline now…with the occasional Jay Feelygood about being a jerk kinda stuff…be more this really makes sense. The Eagles would probably have Won 3 more Games last year if they weren’t so poor in short yardage and Redzone. Those 3 Wins are the difference between barely missing the Playoffs and being #1 Seed in the NFC.

      Anyone want to speculate how huge a difference that is?

      If Tim can compete for Top QB Job as well that’s a big bonus. But that first part is what I started hearing out of Philly right after his workout even as the National Media was trying to treat it as a joke. Some still are. But NOBODY in Philly is.

    • Larry says:

      Bubbaelvis: the media isn’t saying Tim’s competing for 3rd string because they’re assuming that, but because that’s what the Eagles themselves have said. The guy who broke this story was Jay Glazer and he was told by the Eagles specifically that Tim is currently the Eagles’ 4th string QB. Here’s the short video of his explaining that:

      Yes, it’s possible the Eagles are lying and have bigger intentions for Tim. But it would be dumb, non-objective journalism to assume that, especially since most of the media has almost never been right about Tim yet.

    • ck says:

      Bubbaelvis: Am starting to like this coach and can hardly wait to see how it all works out w/Tebow getting reps w/first string and a REAL chance!

  2. lex says:

    I love your closing sentence, bubbaelvis. amen to that!

  3. andrea says:

    I also have to agree with bubbaelvis – this explains why Kelley was getting rid of the malcontents, thugs and riff raff on the team. Looks like he wants more of the Tebow positive energy on the team and got rid of the bums – even if they were good football players.

  4. jp says:

    This is what we are dealing with

    • Larry says:

      jp: Why are you linking to something that trashes Tim? By posting that link you’re just rewarding the jerk who wrote it by increasing his web clicks. More web clicks for him = more money for him.

      I ask everyone to please not click on that link to the article bashing Tim.

  5. jp says:

    This is what we have to deal with… they all claim they don’t hate Tebow
    Buzzy Says : i didnt post this as it was so anti-T2and just plain stupid.

    • Larry says:

      Oh, great. So then you post the link AGAIN. Would you please stop rewarding people who trash Tim w/web clicks and attention?! That’s why they do this BS in the first place.

      • ck says:

        Larry: Agreed on that matter.

      • jp says:

        Sorry about the double post i was on a bad connection and am a tech incompetent.. I appreciate you point about neg posts.. It was the most bizzare outburst. by a nfl player that i encountered so i thought it was pertinent.. I will be thoughtful about other posts.. One plus the talented posters on this site crushed that moron
        With fact and ideas

        • Larry says:

          Thanks for understanding, jp. I’m sorry to come down so hard on you, but in the past few days I’ve seen several Tebow fans post links to articles that trash him & just slightly lost it.

    • David says:

      Feely probably saw Tebow throwing when he had broken ribs. Ryan kept him active after the injury as a decoy just to make the other teams waste time preparing for him.

      • David says:

        Correction. I looked at Feely’s record and the only time he was in Denver was when he played them with Arizona in week 14 of 2010. Tebow played the next 3 games and lead the league in TDs per completion and was 4th for TDs per attempt. In 2010, Tebow led the league (1st) for TDs per completion and was 4th for TDs per pass attempt which factors in his completion percentage (min. 15 attempts).
        2010 Quarterbacks
        These QBs threw the most TDS per attempt in 2010.
        Brady scored every 13.4 attempts
        Young scored every 15.6 attempts
        Garrard scored every 15.91 attempts
        Tebow scored every 16.4 attempts
        These quarterbacks threw the most TDs per completion in 2010.
        Tebow scored every 8.2 completions
        Brady scored every 9.0 completions
        Young scored every 9.3 completions
        Stafford scored every 9.6 completions
        In 2010, Tebow played 13 situational plays and started 3 games. He threw 41 of 82 for 654 yards for 5 TDs and rushed 43 times for 227 yards and 6 TDs. He averaged 15.95 yards per completion with a 50% completion percentage and scored more often per completion than every QB that threw 15 or more attempts in 2010. Orton scored 20 TDs in the first 13 games and Tebow scored 11 TDs in a little more than 3 games. Tebow was the fastest scoring QB in the league throwing a TD every 8.2 completions and running for a TD every 7.1 carries.
        Longest TD run by a QB in Broncos history (40 yds) First play in the highlights
        First rookie to rush for a TD in each of his first 3 starts.
        His 82.1 quarterback rating was the highest of the eight rookie quarterbacks who started a game in 2010.
        He became just the second rookie quarterback in NFL history to record four games with both a passing and rushing score (Fran Tarkenton in 1961).
        100.5 QB rating is best ever for a Broncos QB in his first start.
        Third highest yards passing by a rookie in Broncos history, 308 yards in 2nd game
        Watch rookie Tim Tebow play under center in McDaniel’s pro offense in 2010.

  6. David says:

    Tebow is the QB to beat in Philly.
    In their first 16 games of playing time,
    Sam Bradford threw 18 TDs in 590 attempts with 15 ints
    Tim Tebow threw 19 TDs in 374 attempts with 9 ints
    Tebow scored more often per attempt and more than twice as often per completion
    Tebow ran for 15 scores and 937 yards in 175 carries.
    DeMarco Murray led the league in 2014 with 13 rushing scores in 392 carries.
    Tebow has outscored both the Eagles’ best QB and their best running back in 15.5 games and 13 plays.
    He scored twice as often passing than Bradford and outscored the best running back in the NFL with less than half the carries. Tebow is twice as efficient at scoring than both of them. Tebow is clearly the starting QB in Philly.

  7. andrea says:

    The only thing I know about Jay Feely is when his country was attacked on 9/11 – Jay Feely decided to stay home with the children.

  8. ck says:

    Tebow has already played against Bradford and won the BCS Championship in Miami in 2009 and as far as Sanchez is concerned he knows Tebow can outplay him too!!! Gators were rated #1 w/T2!!!

    As far as negativity goes, refuse to read trash that is nothing but hyped up LIES intended to keep someone off focus plus adds to their bogus ratings game!!! 🙁

  9. bubbaelvis says:

    No one knows how Tim will do. It is all speculation at this point. However, we can make fact based speculation or media fueled speculation. The facts are; He has been a winner every place he started at QB, His stats are on par with some of the greats when comparing same years experience (first 16 starts), He understood he needed to be a more accurate passer and had two years to work at it, his workout with the Eagles must have been above average for them to sign him, the spread/read option offense was a very successful scheme for him in college and pros, his leadership ability is proven, his passion is proven, his work ethic is proven, and his character is proven. Also, when his back is against the wall and everybody is saying he can’t do it, he always proves them wrong. I would definitely not bet against this guy.

    • Larry says:

      I wouldn’t bet against Tim, either, which is why I visit this site. I’m a Tebow fan, too. But at this point, he’s officially listed by the Eagles themselves, not just the media, as their 4th string QB. So it’s not unreasonable, or anti-Tebow, of the media to say that he’s competing for the 3rd string spot. That was my point.

    • ck says:

      Bubbaelvis: Definitely a PROVEN WINNER and like all the positives he has going for him.

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