Eagles Analysis: Who will be the third-string quarterback?


The time is finally almost upon us as the preseason comes to a close tonight.When the final whistle blows after the Philadelphia Eagles take on the New York Jets, the preseason will be concluded. Will it be “Tebow Time” or does Matt Barkley remain on the roster? For both Tim Tebow and Matt Barkley, this is the final audition for a roster spot. While there are pros and cons to each quarterback, only head coach Chip Kelly knows how close the race truly is.

Matt Barkley’s fall from grace has certainly been noted throughout his three seasons in the NFL. While his arm strength is heavily criticized, his in-game prowess has arguably been one of his biggest downfalls. Limiting turnovers is paramount for any quarterback, regardless of position on the depth chart. Thus far through the preseason, Barkley has made some nice throws between the 20’s. Unfortunately just like his regular season cameos, there are more interceptions than touchdowns.

As for Tim Tebow, his resurgence in the NFL has certainly been documented on a national scale. But the media’s infatuation with Tebow doesn’t make the Philadelphia Eagles a better football team. In order for the team, and more importantly the coaching staff, to feel confident in Tebow, he needs to show marked improvement. Tebow’s mechanics have certainly improved under quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave. And while he’s flashed some of the excitement only he can provide, he’s also displayed his inability to progress through his reads.

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The statistics tell a lot of the media’s narratives. Barkley is 23-for-43 passing for 306 yards with zero touchdowns and one interception. Tebow is 10-for-19 for 97 yards with zero touchdowns or interceptions. Tebow has the rushing yards advantage as he’s rushed for 50 yards and a touchdown on ten carries.

The worst-case scenario this season would involve relying on either Barkley or Tebow for an entire game. Look at what happened last season for the Arizona Cardinals. With Carson Palmer, they were a team that could contend with the Seattle Seahawks and the rest of the NFC. The debate for the Philadelphia Eagles emergency quarterback focuses primarily on one argument. Is Tim Tebow a gimmick red zone weapon for the Philadelphia Eagles?

I have a couple issues however with Tebow being used primarily as a two-point specialist or a red zone weapon. First and foremost, the Eagles did not dress a third quarterback in a single game last season. For a team that does have some depth issues along the offensive line and in the secondary, that’s a big issue.

Second, why should the Eagles take out Sam Bradford in order to try a goal-to-go gimmick play? If the offense isn’t good enough to get the ball in the end zone with your starters, Tebow is the last worry I’d have as a Philadelphia Eagles fan. Considering the Eagles were 23rd in the NFL in red zone efficiency last season, I don’t think Tebow will be the end-all save-all that some believe.

Ultimately, neither quarterback has established themselves as the leading candidate for the job. What this entails is a true competition with immense pressure tonight. I’m a firm believer that the media has perceived Chip Kelly’s idea of a quarterback wrong from the beginning. Whether it was Michael Vick, Marcus Mariota, or now Tebow, the perception of a mobile quarterback in this offense has been overblown.

It’s my belief that Matt Barkley holds onto the job and survives the initial 53 man cut. Having said that however, it would not surprise me in the least to see the 3rd quarterback position as fluid in the next few days. With quarterbacks such as Matt Cassel or RGIII potentially on the waiver wire tomorrow, Barkley does not have roster security regardless of the performance against the Jets. My sincerest apologies to the Tebow supporters in advance.

Next: Jets Q & A With The Jet Press

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