Ascending Eagles — Bradford and Tebow

Noah Smith FishWrap, FishWrap Archive

With the NFL preseason around the corner, all of the intrigue that has been building throughout the offseason will finally be seen on the field. One of the most interesting stories coming out of Eagles camp this year has been surrounding Chip Kelly’s two new quarterbacks – Sam Bradford and Tim Tebow.

Well on his way to both a starting job and a new contract, Bradford hasn't looked this good since his rookie year.

Bradford promising to be as good as his rookie season.

Both players have looked impressive thus far, with Bradford looking like the great quarterback Kelly believed him to be and Tebow looking solid, as well. The constant narrative throughout camp has been about Bradford’s polish as a passer and Tebow’s work ethic and dedication to improve his throwing motion paying off.

Perhaps the biggest difference this time around for Tebow is the lack of “Tebowmania” surrounding him — don’t get me wrong, the man still has his fans, but it is no where near the media circus that used to surround him. Michael Sam and Tebow had a lot of support and media attention in common, but not because of anything pertaining to their abilities as football players.

Bradford, while not having to deal with an over zealous fan base, had to deal with myriad concerns about his toughness and durability. Like Tebow, these questions and concerns have largely been forgotten with everyone being more concerned with how sharp Bradford has looked in camp.

As reported by Brandon Lee Gowton of Bleeding Green Nation, “After looking rusty on Sunday, Bradford was much sharper during Monday’s practice. While he did not take all of the first team reps this time, he easily took the most by far. Certainly doesn’t look like much of a quarterback competition …” Bradford is quickly running away with the “open competition” at quarterback, and reportedly has looked so good that the Eagles are looking to extend his contract.

No more long winding throwing motion for Mr. Tebow.

Improved throwing motion.

Although Bradford has been winning the quarterback competition, Tebow has been getting praise for something many people never expected — his accuracy. As reported by Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post“…[Tebow] showed uncharacteristic accuracy, completing 11-of-14 passes by one count,” adding that he was being used on numerous quarterback run plays as well. They were done in third-team reps, so maybe we shouldn’t make too much of it, but given past reports of Tebow not being able to throw against air, I’d take it as evidence that he has improved.

Tebow’s ascendance also appears to be the final nail in the coffin of Matt Barkley, with him having “… worked ahead of Matt Barkley with the third-team offense … “ according to Hubbuch. To really hammer this point home, it appears that Matt Barkley is still on the trade block!

Only Chip Kelly could make reuniting Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow work.

Kelly doing what Kelly does best — magic.

Kelly’s strange decision to bring in Bradford and Tebow are already panning out, with both players shaking off their rust and looking very sharp. Bradford has all but locked-up the starting job, way ahead of Mark Sanchez.

Likewise, Tebow has all but beaten Barkley for third-string QB. Tebow may also be used as a wildcat quarterback or a two-point conversion battering ram, no matter, it is evident that he will be of use to Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles.

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