GROTZ: Forget who’s playing safety for Eagles, it’s Tebow Time

Tim Tebow warms up before a preseason game against the Eagles when he spent time in training camp with the Patriots. Even though the Heisman Trophy winner has been out of the pro game for three seasons, Eagles coach Chip Kelly is giving him a shot to make the Eagles, beginning with this week’s organized team activity, (Matt Rourke/Associated Press)
By Bob Grotz, bgrotz@21st-centurymedia.com, @BobGrotz on Twitter

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Three summers ago Tim Tebow uncorked one of his finest throws on the very field on which he’s mounting his comeback.

 It was a high fade to a corner of the end zone that only the receiver could get his hands on. It was textbook and on time.

 With Rob Gronkowski hurt and Aaron Hernandez in jail, the ball found its way to an obscure tight end for the New England Patriots, who were at the NovaCare Complex for an intra-squad practice with the Eagles.

 Tebow continued wowing the audience on that sunny day only it was along the lines of “wow, that wasn’t even close” or “wow, heads up, incoming!”

 After a few minutes you started taking a few practice throws of your own, without the ball, just to see if it really was as awkward an operation as Tebow presented it to be.

 That, by the way, was the last summer Tebow played professional football until signing with the Eagles this spring.

 It wasn’t just the throwing mechanics, but the national celebrity and the distraction it created for Tebow’s teammates and teams that kept him on the shelf for so long.

 Critics grudgingly conceded Tebow could win, proof positive his 9-7 record, including the playoffs with the Denver Broncos.

 But Tebow was perceived as high-maintenance. His ability to win would never match the attention he commanded as a man of international prominence who wore his faith on his sleeve.

 In that regard Tebow hasn’t slowed down. How many pro football players build hospitals, as he did? They just opened the place up in the Philippines, where he was born.

 Face it, Tebow’s worldwide profile as a Christian and professional athlete scares people. He’s a mystery and a riddle.

 Make no mistake, all eyes will be on Tebow and the supposedly new and improved way he throws the football Thursday when the Eagles open their organized team activity practice to the media.

 Tebow has worked with a throwing coach. Now he’s working with the Eagles coaches. Considering the grim medical history of Sam Bradford and the finite, yet gritty skills of Mark Sanchez, it’s entirely possible Tebow or Matt Barkley could wind up quarterbacking the Eagles this season.

 Chip Kelly’s up-tempo offense certainly is quarterback-friendly, if you will. Historically it exposes the starting quarterback to injury and eventually exile. Michael Vick, the 2013 starter, is an unemployed quarterback these days. Nick Foles, the guy last year, was traded along with a second-round pick to the St. Louis Rams for Bradford.

 Kelly will open the 2015 season with his third different starting quarterback in his tour as head coach of the Eagles. Just a hunch, but barring a breakthrough, next year could bring a fourth different guy on opening day.

 If Tebow throws a better ball and his legs, which turn 28 in August, haven’t left him, he almost certainly will be able to help the Eagles win football games.

 The rules change in extra points favors a mobile, 6-2, 236-pound quarterback such as Tebow. Kelly has the choice of kicking what now will be about a 32-yard PAT or spreading the offense and going for 2 points from the 2-yard line. Anyone else like Tebow, in a zone-read offense that close to the goal line? The guy ran for 57 touchdowns at Florida.

 Tebow would make sense in Kelly’s exotic triple-stack formation featuring three eligible receivers and-or running backs stacked behind each other and split wide to each side of the field. With just three men on the line of scrimmage, the quarterback has an instant bubble screen to whatever side is light in defenders. Or it’s the quarterback and his blockers against a few linemen, or the quarterback throwing a quick slant.

 Would you risk disrupting the rhythm of the starting quarterback by inserting Tebow, skilled in the zone-read, to change the pace? It’s something opposing defenses might have to think of.

 There are plenty of issues the Eagles must address in the offseason, first and foremost who will defensive coordinator Billy Davis pair with safety Malcolm Jenkins? The list of candidates is anything but proven, the group composed of Earl Wolff, Chris Prosinski, Jaylen Watkins, Jerome Couples and possibly someone the Eagles add down the road. The OTAs provide at least a look at the early leaders in the clubhouse.

 The offensive line is anything but set as veterans Allen Barbre and Matt Tobin will at least temporarily replace guards Todd Herremans (released) and Evan Mathis, who has asked to be traded.

 Linebacker Marcus Smith, the 2014 first-round pick is supposedly bigger and stronger. Better? It’s hard to imagine anyone contributing less than he did as a rookie.

 There is quiet speculation that Bradford, coming off back-to-back torn ACLs, could participate Thursday. That would be another must-see, for the Eagles have raved about his ability to spin the football.

 For me, it’s Tebow Time.

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11 Responses to “GROTZ: Forget who’s playing safety for Eagles, it’s Tebow Time”

  1. brandi says:

    “But Tebow was perceived as high-maintenance. His ability to win would never match the attention he commanded as a man of international prominence who wore his faith on his sleeve.”

    This is a nice way of putting it. Nicer than the Dolphins he’s “too popular to sign”…well, a little.

    But this is the very reason I have been such a vocal proponent of Tim’s.

    I think he’s a great Football Player, great Person and has shown he is capable of being a Great QB at every level, including the NFL. But capability and delivering on that promise are two different things. That Tim Tebow has been denied even the usual opportunity afforded a Heisman Winning 1st Round Draft Pick QB who has both a Winning Record and Solid Playoff Performance/Experience specifically because he’s “high maintenance” due to being so popular is a huge indictment of the National Football League. It says that not only does the league have no interest whatsoever in the desires of the Fans, it considers them to be just too much trouble to deal with in unregulated, uncontrolled doses.

    There is not a Professional Sports League of any kind on the planet that can be allowed to exist having this kind of attitude. It’s a repugnant view of the Fans, to be squeezed and not heard.

    I don’t know if Tim has more in the tank and neither does anyone else. That this is the first time in years we may get to see because the NFL considers Fans to be an annoyance is why the NFL is now looking directly at a future that is not as rosy as its past.

    • Sage says:

      Of course he has more in the tank. He’s been filling it his whole life.

      But he can only prove it when he’s given time on the highway. Go with Tebow and see things you never expected to see.

    • ck says:

      Brandi: Not to worry, you have not seen anything YET!!!
      GO TEBOW AND WE B-E-L-I-E-V-E!!!:D

  2. LuitLipton says:

    Change of pace?? Two point qb?? No thanks! At least have the decency to give him the credit EVERY other QB in the league has and that’s the potential to step up into the starting role, whether winning the job in camp or next-man-up. COMON!

    • Sage says:

      One day the geniuses will wake up and realize that the best QB inside the 5 yard-line is also the best QB between the 20s. Either way, it’s Tebow.

      • LuitLipton says:

        I’m just so sick of these so called journalists belittling Tim at every turn, now jumping on the rule change to drive their agenda of opposing any success Tim could have. Really hope this is the in-your-face time for Tim and the Eagles All. The. Way. To. The. Super Bowl

      • ck says:

        Sage: Well said and I mean VERY!!!

  3. ck says:

    At least this guy who wrote this knows it’s “TEBOWTIME”!!!

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