Tim Tebow left no doubt that he belongs on the Eagles’ roster

Morning Win

 
 

By: Mike Foss | September 4, 2015 7:36 am Follow @themikefoss

Thursday was Tim Tebow’s last opportunity to prove his worth to Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly before the team’s roster gets cut to 53 players. Heading into the final audition, Tebow had kept himself even with Matt Barkley in the race for the third quarterback spot. He hadn’t changed the world with his performance, but he had kept things interesting.

On Thursday night, Tim Tebow likely played himself onto an NFL regular season roster for the first time since 2012. Tebow had been steady in the first three preseason games. He had gone 10-for-19 passing, didn’t throw an interception, and hadn’t passed for a touchdown. He had rushed into the end zone in the Eagles’ preseason opener against the Colts, but beyond that, he’d been quietly reliable.

Tebow hadn’t been asked to do much with his arm over the first three games, leaving many of the longstanding doubts over his mechanics and the hitch in his throw to linger. He’d only thrown 19 times over three games, doing little to ease or increase the doubt.

USA TODAY Sports

USA TODAY Sports

But against the Jets, the team he last played for, Tebow came to life. Kelly elected to have Tebow and Barkley alternate quarters during the game, with Tebow playing the second and fourth. It was in the fourth quarter that Tebow showed the maturity and progress that had remained unseen over his first three games. He connected on a 45-yard pass to Freddie Martino, setting himself up for 9-yard touchdown pass with Martino once more to end the drive.

Tebow connected with Martino on the run, sprinting left after dodging pressure. Three years ago, it’s a play that would have ended with the ball in the quarterback’s hands. This time, Tebow had his head up and saw the corner cheating forward and connected with his arm.

It wasn’t a perfect performance by any means. He threw an interception in the fourth quarter as well, when he attempted to force a pass on a long fourth down. Tebow ended the night 11-for-17, passing for 189 yards, and two touchdowns.

USA TODAY Sports

USA TODAY Sports

It was a steady performance. But it was Barkley’s play that sealed the fate of both players. The second play of Barkley’s opening drive ended in an interception. Eight plays later, the Jets scored a touchdown. Barkley ended the night 4-for-9, passing for just 45 yards. Any case Tebow made for a spot on the roster was only reinforced by Barkley’s performance.

When everything is added up and laid out, Tebow has performed well enough – as Barkley has performed poorly enough – to earn his place on the Eagles in 2015. Kelly has said he will make his final roster cuts Friday and it seems like the only scenario where Tebow isn’t in Philadelphia this fall is if the coach decides to stick with two quarterbacks on his roster instead of three. But that seems like an improbability at this stage.

It’s Tebow time in Philadelphia.

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