What They’re Saying: ‘I Think He Is a Mess’

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Here is what they’re saying about Chip Kelly and the Eagles this week.

Bob Sturm of The Dallas Morning News doesn’t understand any of the moves Kelly has made so far, including the Tim Tebow signing:

I still have no feel for the [Sam] Bradford situation which I assume we are still waiting to see if anything happens in the draft. Then, what do they do with their first pick? Corner? Wide Receiver? Trade everything for [Marcus] Mariota? They have really confused all observers this offseason and also acquired players rehabbing ACL injuries. If he pulls this off and wins big, I will have to concede he is special. Right now, I think he is a mess that has fooled most of the NFL media into thinking he has everything all figured out. I have long said his undoing will be when he gets full personnel control, because that is the fatal flaw of so many coaches. Almost none of them are as successful at “buying the groceries” as they think they can be. Kelly, with no personnel background whatsoever, is betting on himself heavily and sending his accomplished players away. It is a fascinating storyline for sure.

The folks over at ESPN Stats and Information look at Tebow’s potential as a running weapon in Kelly’s offense:

The Eagles have utilized the zone-read option a league-high 514 times the last two seasons, 235 times more than the next closest team (Seahawks).

In his NFL career, Tim Tebow has kept on 41 zone-read options for 256 yards. The only Eagles quarterback currently on the roster with any experience keeping on a zone read is Mark Sanchez, who did so six times for 38 yards last season.

Overall, Tebow has rushed for 989 yards in his career. Sanchez, Bradford and Matt Barkley have combined to rush for 671 yards in their careers.

Bill Barnwell of Grantland looks at how Tebow fits as a QB in Kelly’s offense:

Last year, the Eagles threw 20 yards or more downfield on 13.7 percent of their passes, the sixth-highest rate in the league. That fits Tebow’s strengths as a passer. His arm strength plays up on deep throws, and while he has issues with his accuracy, the sheer time it takes for a football to move 40 yards downfield allows his receivers to make adjustments that they can’t make on shorter routes. Tebow doesn’t get the sort of velocity that a freakishly strong-armed quarterback like Matthew Stafford gets on his intermediate throws, but his downfield throws have a consistent loft that get over trailing defenders.

During his season as the primary starter with the Broncos in 2011, Tebow was able to find Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas when teams left them alone in single coverage downfield. He just didn’t do it quite as frequently as it might have seemed at the time. On throws 20 or more yards downfield that year, Tebow was 15-of-60 for 496 yards, with three touchdowns and two picks. His 60.4 QBR doesn’t sound too bad, but that was 29th among 33 qualifying quarterbacks that year. On all of his other throws — the ones that traveled 19 yards or less in the air — Tebow’s 48.2 QBR was 28th out of 34 qualifiers. The arm strength is an unquestioned tool, but he didn’t really turn it into a skill during his famous season in Denver.

Drew Magary of Deadspin works through his confusion of the Tebow acquisition by coming up with a few theories, including Kelly exploiting the potential new PAT rules:

The NFL hasn’t altered the PAT rules yet, but they’re expected to vote on the changes in May, with the PAT line probably being moved back to the 15, and the 2-point conversion attempt moved to either the 1-yard line or an extra half-yard away from that spot. So Kelly could be preparing for that rule change early (FAR too early, mind you) by signing Tebow and essentially creating a 1-point specialist roster spot. I don’t know why Tebow would suddenly become a hot commodity in this brave new 2-point world when a) most coaches are cowards and will still go for the PAT anyway, b) the Eagles already have millions invested in running backs, players who are also suited to, you know, running the ball, and c) Tebow is [expletive] terrible.

Patrick Dorsey of ESPN.com notes that Washington didn’t do a great job trolling the Eagles on Twitter:

Now, one might argue that everyone on Twitter knows the Kermit thing by now, and everyone on Twitter at the moment knew the Tebow signing had just become official. Also, not adding any text gives the team plausible deniability: “Tebow who? We just thought it was a funny photo!”

But lack of wording could leave some people confused. Also, trolling a team with a much better recent history — and with no indication as to what was none of its business — left Washington open to counter-trolling.

Andrew Sharp of Grantland writes that there’s only one more crazy move to make: trade for Johnny Manziel:

Five years of sports have been building toward Tebow, Manziel, and Chip locking arms in the City of Brotherly Love. Also, did I mention that trading Bradford to the Browns means Eagles fans don’t have to watch him get hurt five weeks into the season? And what about how Manziel is the perfect quarterback to run Chip’s scheme? We should be rooting for this move because it would be the funniest thing ever, but it’s also just crazy enough to work.

Mike Tanier of Bleacher Report conducted a Q&A with QB coach Tom House, who has also worked with Tom Brady and Drew Brees:

House: I honestly believe that everybody who was trying to help Tim, everybody who thought they “fixed” him, they probably did temporarily fix him. But Tim didn’t have enough repetition for it to become autonomic. When he got into competition, with the stresses and anxieties that come with the competitive situation, he fell back to his old habits.

The difference now is that he has put in the reps. There have been 10,000-plus reps. If he gets a chance to play again and gets back to competition, it’s hard-wired now. He doesn’t have to think about it.

And in non-Tebow news, Phil Sheridan of ESPN.com wonders if the DeMarco Murray signing was a wise move:

It would have been much more trying if fans had to wait until the NFL draft to find out who McCoy’s replacement would be. Dallas Cowboys fans can relate. Dallas lost Murray, the NFL’s leading rusher, about five weeks ago. The Cowboys signed Darren McFadden, but the expectation remains that they will draft one of the running backs available at the end of this month.

Should the Eagles have waited to select a young running back in the upcoming draft before signing veteran DeMarco Murray at a high price? Despite the fan comfort factor, it’s fair to wonder if coach Chip Kelly would have been better off waiting for the draft, too.

Andrew Kulp of Bleacher Report looked at five potential mid-round targets for the Eagles, including Penn State S Adrian Amos:

What undoubtedly appeals to the Eagles is Amos’ ability in coverage. He spent some time going man-to-man against slot receivers, which will be expected of any safety in Philly. A three-year starter, Amos wound up finishing his college career with seven interceptions and 22 pass breakups.

Amos possesses good size at 6’0”, 218 pounds, although he isn’t the greatest athlete, posting middling times in the 40-yard dash and three-cone drill at the combine. He’s projected as a fourth- or fifth-round pick yet could wind up starting right away for the Eagles because he’s such an excellent fit.