Friday, 10 May 2013

Tim Tebow should back up Michael Vick for Chip Kelly's Philadelphia Eagles

Tim Tebow is a singular talent, in that he's a gamer, a fierce competitor, a superb athlete, a great team guy and leader, and a potent weapon for any offence with his mix of size, strength, mobility and speed.  Trouble is, he plays quarterback, but he's not very good at the defining skill for that position, which is throwing the football to an open receiver.  He has a wonky delivery, which in itself isn't a deal breaker, since QB's like Dan Marino and Philip Rivers don't have the classic windup and pitch coaches love.  But when you add that he doesn't have great arm strength, and that he's not an accurate passer, it becomes difficult to see him as an NFL quarterback who'll have a productive career.

Right now, his best bet seems to be as a backup, on a team where he can step in an emergency, and also provide different wrinkles to an offence that opposing defensive coordinators will develop ulcers over.

It seems to me that the best fit for him would be with the Philadelphia Eagles, for many reasons.

First, and maybe most trivially, he's a lefty, and would be backing another lefty in Michael Vick.  As a receiver, catching balls from a quarterback who throws left when you're used to a righty is a bit of a problem.  It's not insurmountable, but it's the kind of detail that when you're stretching out for a pass thrown long, or trying for a one-handed catch, makes a difference, and can mean a couple of extra drops in a game, which is often the difference between winning and losing.  The Eagles could seamlessly go from Michael Vick to Tim Tebow and the receivers wouldn't need an adjustment period, or drop passes when the spin surprises them and causes the ball to roll out of their hands.

An important facet of Chip Kelly's offence is that while it's uptempo and requires bright QB's with lots of mobility and the ability to make quick decisions, it doesn't rely on a 'golden boy' with a rocket arm, or pinpoint accuracy.  At Oregon, he made do, or better yet, favoured athletes who were leaders over classic quarterbacks with polished passing skills, since the former worked better in his offence.  Michael Vick has never been a particularly accurate passer, and prefers to improvise instead of studying game plans for hours, so he'll fit right in.  So will Tim Tebow.  He'll make up for his lack of passing skill with his leadership, smarts, and ability to take the ball and go with it, and challenge linebackers and safeties to try and bring him down.

Also, he could alleviate some of the pressure and wear and tear on Michael Vick, who is relatively slight of build and has run into injury trouble throughout his career.  We can envision Mr. Tebow handling short-yardage or goal-line duties for the Eagles, they wouldn't even have to put in special packages for him like the Jets did, he could run the basic sets the Eagles have.  He'd just be more of a ground and pound threat, and would be harder to stop than Michael Vick, while saving the latter from taking too much of a beating.

We could even see him dress as the third QB on the team, if it so chooses and feels more comfortable with Nick Foles as the true backup.  He'd pitch in on special teams, as he did on the Jets, could still sub in on short-yardage situations, but wouldn't necessarily be the go-to guy in case of emergency.

For all these reasons, I think he'd be a natural fit on the Eagles roster.  A lot of teams are apparently hesitating to sign him because they're afraid the media attention he'll bring will be a distraction, but most teams would benefit from having such an athlete and competitor on their roster.  His potential contribution in the right situation far outweighs any potential negative effect from added public scrutiny.

Eagles Head Coach Chip Kelly is an original thinker and is not afraid to take chances.  This would be a relatively low-risk/high reward decision, and the NFL and its fans would benefit from it.  Make it happen Chip.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a great idea. nobody could stop a Tebow / Vick combination.