Thursday, July 24, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

The Tebow possibility

Now that the Broncos have landed Peyton Manning, the consensus is they'll send Tim Tebow packing.

The Tebow possibility

Should the Eagles look into adding Tim Tebow? (Chris Schneider/AP)
Should the Eagles look into adding Tim Tebow? (Chris Schneider/AP)

Now that the Broncos have landed Peyton Manning, the consensus is they'll send Tim Tebow packing.

So the obvious question is: Where will he end up?

Lindsay H. Jones of The Denver Post explains that Tebow has a trade-friendly contract (due $1.1M in 2012, $1.055M in 2013 and $895,000 in 2014). However, if he takes about 40 percent of the snaps in 2012, he gets an additional $11.25M in the final two years.

In today's Daily News, Rich Hofmann argues that bringing Tebow to Philly would make sense. Jonathan Tamari of the Inquirer doesn't seem to be on board.

Should the Eagles swing a trade for Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow?
Yes, he'd be a great backup for Vick.
No, he's all hype.

SI.com's Jim Trotter lists four teams that could be interested: the Dolphins, Jaguars, Patriots and (surprise, surprise) the Eagles.

And Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk has the Eagles among 10 off-the-radar teams to land Tebow.

At this point, we know to never rule anything out with the Birds, who have become one of the league's more unpredictable franchises. From the Michael Vick signing to trading Donovan McNabb within the division to landing Nnamdi Asomugha to extending DeSean Jackson's contract, Andy Reid and company have pulled their share of surprises.

Would adding Tebow make sense from a football perspective though? He doesn't fit as the prototypical backup quarterback. The Broncos were smart last year. They catered to Tebow's strengths, running the football and limiting his chances of making a mistake in the passing game. In many ways, they had success. He threw just one interception every 45.2 attempts, while the Broncos advanced to the divisional round of the AFC playoffs.

But Vick and Tebow are completely different quarterbacks. They are both left-handed, and they can both run the football. That's where the similarities end, in my opinion. Even though he had a down season, Vick completed 59.8 percent of his passes (19th) and averaged 7.8 yards per attempt (tied for 10th). Tebow, meanwhile, completed 46.5 percent of his passes (33rd) and averaged 6.4 yards per attempt (26th).

Any perception that Tebow did a good job on deep throws last year is misguided. He took a lot of shots downfield, but was not accurate. According to Pro Football Focus, 23.2 percent of Tebow's pass attempts traveled 20 yards downfield, the highest mark of any quarterback in the league. But he completed just 18 of 63 of those passes, or 29 percent.

Vick, meanwhile, completed 24 of 58 of his downfield throws, or 41.4 percent.

Overall, Vick attempted 32.5 passes per game last season; Tebow just 19.4. In other words, the offense would have to change quite a bit if Tebow were to fill in for Vick.

Here's a look at their running numbers:

  Att./g. Yds./g. YPC 20+ TDs
Vick 5.8 45.3 7.8 5 1
Tebow 8.7 47.1 5.4 5 6

Tebow ran more, while Vick had a better yards-per-carry average. Actually, Vick posted the third-best YPC of his career. I don't have the exact numbers, but Tebow obviously had more called running plays, while Vick's were more improvised.

The touchdown numbers are intriguing, but those can fluctuate from season to season. Vick had nine rushing scores in 2010 and only one last season. In 2010, Vick had nine rushing attempts inside the opponents' 10-yard line, and seven of them resulted in touchdowns. Last year, Vick had five rushing attempts for -3 yards and zero touchdowns inside the opponents' 10.

Tebow, meanwhile, had six runs inside the opponents' 10 last season, and four of them resulted in scores. Five of his six rushing touchdowns were in the red zone.

If Reid decided to bring Tebow in, my guess is it'd be in a role similar to the one Vick played back in 2009. That year, Vick came in for about five or six plays per game (to varying degrees of success). Can't you just see Reid's imagination running wild? Tebow in the backfield with LeSean McCoy. Vick and Tebow running the option. A special Tebow red-zone package. And so on.

If the coaches likes what they see in Tebow during the offseason, they can give him a shot to win the backup quarterback job, depending on who else they sign to compete for that spot (assuming they don't just go with Trent Edwards and Mike Kafka). If not, Tebow can be the No. 3 quarterback, while still playing in a limited role and working on his development.

Former GM and current CBS analyst Charley Casserly told USA Today he thinks Denver won't be looking for more than a fifth-rounder in return for Tebow.

I have a feeling you all are going to have a thing or two to say about this one, so have at it.


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Sheil Kapadia Philly.com
About this blog
Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for philly.com. His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at skapadia@philly.com or by clicking here

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