One of the most anticipated storylines surrounding both the Philadelphia Eagles and entire NFL is whether Tim Tebow will make the team. He is currently in a battle with the incumbent third-string guy, Matt Barkley, for what will likely be the third and final quarterback slot on the 53-man roster.
Sunday, we finally got to see both Tebow and Barkley in game action. Both guys got to play a significant amount of time in the Eagles’ offense and show what they could do. After one game though, I think it’s still a stalemate.
Barkley played first among the two, coming into the game late in the first quarter after a sub-par performance from Mark Sanchez. Barkley looked pretty good in his first drive with the offense, leading the Eagles down the field for an eventual touchdown run by Kenjon Barner. His throws looked a lot nicer than Sanchez’s did.
Barkley had another couple good throws the next drive until he was flushed out of the pocket and threw a pass directly to the hands of a defender, which was tipped and caught by a different Colts player for an interception. It was the team’s only turnover of the day, and a bad one for sure.
Just when I thought Barkley was looking good, he makes plays like that. It’s poor decision-making that can kill a quarterback, especially after the Eagles led the league in turnovers last year. The whole point is to minimize turnovers, and Barkley does not do that. Had he played the whole game, I’m almost positive he would’ve had more turnovers. However, he still finished 12-for-20 with 192 yards and wasn’t sacked once.
He was a turnover machine in the few snaps he took during preseason and the regular season over the past two years. It was nice to see him actually make some improvements. I had written him off as the clear number four guy in the depth chart, assuming he hadn’t evolved over the years. I hope I’m proved wrong though, as a good position battle is always exciting. Especially when the other guy is…Tebow!
For not playing football for a long time, Tebow actually looked pretty good. Granted, it was against some of the Colts’ worst players, but he definitely made some good plays. As for playing better than Barkley, I’m still not sure. There were multiple times where Tebow looked lost in the pocket, and it resulted in him running around until he was eventually sacked. He was sacked three times for 28 yards in less than a half of football. Not really the best stats, but I guess it could be worse.
Still, if Tebow wants to prove himself, he’ll need to improve his decision-making. He still holds onto the ball for too long and by then, the play is already over and the line has collapsed. He will get sacked all day if he doesn’t learn to either just throw it away or go through the route progression and find someone open, even if it’s just for a short gain.
He also had a couple throws that were…confusing, to put it best. There was one where he was under pressure and was partly hit, but threw the ball into the dirt about 10 yards in front of any Eagles receiver. I’m convinced that it would’ve resulted in a similar conclusion even if he hadn’t been hit. He hadn’t thrown in a real game in a while, but still, that’s bad. Overall, Tebow finished 6-for-12 for 69 yards.
Tebow’s most impressive play came on a run around the outside where he dove into the endzone for a seven-yard touchdown. The crowd exploded when he crossed the goal line, and it was clear that he was excited to have scored. It was a cool moment for him.
Regardless, I don’t think either guy did enough to prove himself over the other. I think this was a positive though. The more competitive reps both of these guys can get, the better. I still think Tebow’s x-factor will eventually give him the advantage, but he’ll need to be clearly better in order to beat out Barkley since he’s been on the team the past two years. So as of now, it remains a stalemate. Round two is Saturday against the Ravens, where I’m sure both guys will play a lot again.
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