Aug 16, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tim Tebow (5) carries the ball during the fourth quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Gillette Stadium. The New England Patriots won 25-21. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
The Philadelphia Eagles might be the most fascinating and polarizing team in all of sports at this point. They have everyone’s attention and everyone will be watching how their season goes after all of these moves. The most recent and perhaps most headline grabbing move came when they signed quarterback Tim Tebow. Many Eagles fans are upset by this move because Tim Tebow has not shown lately that he has what it takes to be successful on the professional level. However, this signing was not nor will it ever be about talent, it is all about character.
Eagles head coach Chip Kelly had been preaching that he wants to implement an environment where everyone works hard, stays out of trouble, and buys into his system. Tim Tebow is not just known for being a mediocre quarterback, he is also known for his devout devotion to his religion. Tebow is widely regarded as one of the nicer, “purer” guys in the NFL and while that may not help on the field, it may be exactly what Chip Kelly wants in the locker room.
Many people, including myself, have been frustrated by the large number of Oregon players on the Eagles’ roster. However, if you look at who those players actually are something becomes clear. The Eagles currently have linebacker Kiko Alonso, lineman Brandon Bair, running back Kenjon Barner, lineman Taylor Hart, wide receiver Josh Huff, defensive tackle Wade Keliikipi, and wide receiver Will Murphy all on their roster. In addition they also have the exclusive rights to wide receiver Jeff Maehl.
Dec 5, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; (Editors note: Caption correction) SEC Network commentator and former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow speaks during a press conference at the Georgia Dome. The Missouri Tigers play the Alabama Crimson Tide in the SEC Championship Saturday. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
When you look at these players something, besides the fact that they are all from Oregon, becomes clear. None of these players (aside from Alonso) were acquired with the intent that they would be starters. They were all signed as depth and as role players. Kelly wants his practices and his locker room to be filled with his culture, to be have a positive energy about it. He grabbed his own guys not because he is blind to their talent like a mother is to her child, but because he knows that will act they way he wants them to.
Kelly grabbed Tebow for the same reason. Yes, he might also think he can fix Tebow and turn him into a legitimate player. However, he also knows that signing him is a win-win situation. Even if Tebow doesn’t ever step on the field, even if Tebow never makes it on their roster, just having him on the team improves the locker room culture and that is what Chip Kelly wants.
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