Plenty of things Eagles coach Chip Kelly has done in recent weeks don’t make a ton of sense, on the surface. Perhaps the most non-sensical is the decision to give Tim Tebow a mid-March workout.
It makes no sense for various reasons. I’ll try to identify each of them below.
First, Tebow has been available to anyone for two years. Ever since being cut by the Patriots prior to the start of the 2013 regular season, Tebow has been a free agent — and no one had even given him a sniff before today. Including Kelly.
Second, Mark Sanchez just signed a new contract with the Eagles, and to say the least Sanchez has no fond memories of his shared time with Tebow in New York.
Third, Tebow brings distraction wherever he goes. As the Eagles already are learning. Kelly doesn’t seem to have the patience for that kind of stuff.
Fourth, Tebow isn’t an accurate passer. He wants to be. He tries to be. He just isn’t.
Fifth, Tebow traditionally is a horrible practice performer. With Kelly trying to get every ounce of value out of every practice rep, having Tebow skipping stones and/or launching rockets won’t help the receivers get any better.
Of course, it’s possible that Kelly has been intrigued by Tebow since getting the job in 2013, but that Kelly previously lacked the power to bring Tebow to town. With executive V.P. of football operations Howie Roseman now “promoted” from the position of G.M. (and physically moved out of football operations), Kelly can do whatever he wants.
Based on the Doug Flutie documentary (which I saw for the first time last night on NFL Network, and which is excellent), maybe Kelly believes Tebow can do more than most believe, and that all he needs is a chance. Flutie didn’t get a fair shake in the NFL for years due to misguided beliefs about quarterback height. Tebow has been frozen out possibly due in part to the belief that having him on the roster will invite unwanted scrutiny from the Tebowmaniacs. (That said, I’d be more inclined to sign Flutie at 52 than Tebow at however old he currently is.)
Kelly has shown in recent days that he doesn’t care what anyone says. So why would he care about the cadre of helicopter parents who will demand that Tebow not be relegated to the bench but put on the field?
The fact that Kelly gave Tebow a workout doesn’t mean Tebow is getting a job. Even now, with up to 90 offseason roster spots per team (and 2,880 throughout the league), Tebow remains unemployed.
But at least Tebow is getting something he hasn’t had in two full seasons — a chance. What he did with it, and more importantly what the Eagles thought of it, will be known soon enough.
What also will be known is whether Kelly believes he can find a way in game situations to deploy Tebow in a way that will help the team do what Kelly will need to do in order to stick around: Win games.