Former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL cult icon Tim Tebow signed with the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday, prompting amens and exultations from one half of the football world and hell, fire and brimstone from the other.
“I’ve never had a bad day in my life, but I’m having as much fun as everybody else is,” Philadelphia WIP sportscaster Howard Eskin said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “Chip Kelly is out of control. He’s out of control.”
Tebow, 27, has had an up-and-down NFL career. His meteoric rise began in Denver, where he led the Broncos to several late-game wins and a playoff victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Then along came Peyton Manning, and Tebow was out of a job. Following unsuccessful stints – if you can call them that – with the Jets and Patriots, Tebow was relegated to the broadcast booth.
Until now. Now, he’s a Philadelphia Eagle.
Only Eskin has no idea why.
“It’s hard to answer what Chip Kelly does,” he said, “but it’s clear that he’ll do whatever he wants and he doesn’t care what people say. Here’s why I find it surprising but not surprising. Let me give you the surprising part. When they worked him out, it was on March 16. After that, nobody worked him out to my knowledge. But when they worked him out, I was told by a few of the coaches that he’s got bad fundamentals at quarterback. So I said all right. I never thought he could play in the NFL, and he still can’t play, in my opinion – at (least not at) quarterback, and that’s what he wants to play. But when you look at what happens before (teams) go into into minicamp and training camp, there are teams with five quarterbacks who just need a lot of arms.”
The Eagles could be one of those teams, as Sam Bradford (ACL) is not fully healthy.
“So you need another body at quarterback,” Eskin said. “There’s no quarterbacks out there, but this is really a stretch. You can’t go backwards, but I would take Michael Vick over Tim Tebow to be your fifth-string quarterback because I know at least he has a better idea at quarterback than Tim Tebow does. So what is he doing? I think he’s either doing Tim Tebow a favor because he’s a good guy or the agent a favor because he’s a good guy, one of the two.
“I think (signing Tebow) is risk-less and it is pointless,” Eskin continued, “When you bring a quarterback in, obviously they have the idea – and Tim Tebow, I think . . . has enough of a brain to understand that he can’t start in the NFL. I don’t even think he can back up in the NFL. I don’t think he’s an NFL player. But he’s not going to cause any problems.”
Tebow is close with Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper, with whom he played at Florida, but that probably didn’t influence Kelly’s decision to sign the simultaneously beloved yet despised quarterback.
“I’m sure Chip talked to Riley, but you know what kind of guy Tim Tebow is,” Eskin said. “I don’t think you need to talk to Riley Cooper to find out what kind of guy he is. He’s a guy that’ll just blend in with the players, but the media is going to create such a circus. (The Eagles have said) – both on the record publicly and off the record to myself – that they’re not going to trade Sam Bradford. They really love Sam Bradford.”
For what it’s worth, former Eagles coach Andy Reid said Bradford was the best quarterback he saw come out of college – aside from Andrew Luck – during his 14 years with in Philadelphia.
That’s high praise.
“Chip’s doing somebody a favor,” Eskin said. “It does create a circus, but Chip doesn’t worry about that. Chip just goes about his business, but he does do things a little strange.”
Brandon Tierney wondered if signing Bradford and Tebow – and possibly drafting Marcus Mariota – would be a way to unify the quarterback room. After all, that would give Philadelphia three quarterbacks who were elite running a spread system in college.
Eskin, however, didn’t buy that theory. In fact, he said the idea of the Eagles moving up to draft Mariota is “nonsense.”
“This is so out of control,” Eskin said. “Chip Kelly loves the guy. That’s fine. You can love the guy. But it’s next to impossible to move from No. 20 in the draft to No. 2. There’s just no way you can move in there and get him.”
As for comparing Mariota’s skill set to Tebow’s, well, Eskin didn’t buy that either.
“Tim Tebow – what is his skill set?” Eskin asked. “He can’t play quarterback. He’s not fast. People say, ‘Oh, he could be a backup tight end.’ No he can’t. I don’t know what his skill set is. (People say), ‘Oh, he could run a goal-line offense.’ Then what did you get DeMarco Murray for? That’s what you have running backs for. That’s what you have other players for. I don’t know what his skill set is other than he was a great – and I’ll say great – college quarterback. But it doesn’t translate into professional football. You can use a calendar to time how long it takes him to throw a football. Here’s the unbelievable part for me: that people go crazy around the country (about him). Why? Why? I know he’s a good guy. I get it. (But) he can’t play. I don’t understand it.”