Reminder for Chip Kelly: the Broncos won games with Tim Tebow at QB

Reminder for Chip Kelly: the Broncos won games with Tim Tebow at QB

Practically every Eagles fan understands this team in all likelihood does not have its franchise quarterback. For all the words that were spent on Michael Vick, Nick Foles, Matt Barkley and which one should or should not start, there are legitimate doubts that any one of them could ever be the man in Philadelphia.

Chip Kelly lamented the “unsettled” quarterback situation after the Birds’ 15-7 loss to the New York Giants on Sunday, essentially laying the last two losses on the club’s lack of a proper field general. The head coach isn’t wrong about how difficult it is to win in the NFL without a QB, but it’s not impossible. After all, the Denver Broncos went to the playoffs one year with Tim Tebow at the helm.

What? You thought this was gonna be an “Eagles Shood Sign Tebow” story? Let’s get one thing straight right out of the chute: this is NOT a call for the Philadelphia Eagles to sign Tim Tebow in any capacity, let alone to play quarterback.

Somebody—maybe lots of somebodies—will inevitably try to tell me Tebow is good, that the only reason he’s not with an NFL team is politics. Every statistic and metric we have, even technology as simple eyesight tells us otherwise though.

Tim Tebow stinks. He’s out of the league less than two years after starting a game in the postseason because he can’t play. And as for those eight wins in 2011? Largely defensive victories (look it up).

Defensive victories not unlike the one the Eagles should have pulled off on Sunday. Whenever an opponent is held out of the end zone for the full 60 minutes, that result should be a W every time. Unfortunately, Kelly’s squad couldn’t score either, their lone touchdown coming on an unforced special teams miscue by the Giants. Why?

If you listen to Chip, it’s because his quarterbacks were incapable of getting the job done.

That’s probably true of Vick, who appeared to be laboring with a strained hamstring from the outset. Vick aggravated the injury and exited the game in the second quarter, evidence that he shouldn’t have been playing in the first place. It was admirable of the 11-year veteran to try, but the head coach should not have allowed that to transpire.

If Barkley was incapable, it’s because Kelly did him few favors. Barkley could have prepared as the starter all week in practice—instead his first-team reps were limited. The rookie could’ve started the game when a clean slate rather than enter late in the first half trailing 12-0. The fourth-rounder could’ve been protected by a run-heavy game plan, particularly down at the goal line where Barkley fumbled points away.

All things considered, Barkley didn’t play poorly, completing 17-of-26 passes for 158 yards with an interception in garbage time. That’s not great, but Tebow has won games in this league completing 2-of-8 for 69 yards.

Lots of bad quarterbacks have piled up wins in the NFL. Derek Anderson won 10 games with the Cleveland Browns in 2007. Matt Cassel led the New England Patriots to 11 in ’08—hell, Cassel is responsible for the Minnesota Vikings’ only win this season. Even Blaine Gabbert has won some games during his three years with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The list goes on forever.

We’re not talking about winning the Super Bowl or even the NFC East here. We’re talking about winning one game against an opponent with a 2-6 record that is literally trying to give games away by snapping the ball over the punter’s head in the fourth quarter.

The Broncos won eight games and upended the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs in ’11 because the coaching staff adapted to their shortcomings under center. They didn’t just throw their hands in the air and cry, “Well, we don’t have a quarterback!” They tailored their entire game plan around Tebow’s strengths and shortcomings, and because the defense held opponents to 17 points or less most weeks, they pulled out some unlikely victories.

For a head coach that claims he doesn’t have a system, that he’s personnel driven, I haven’t noticed many adjustments or differences at all from Chip when Vick is under center compared to Foles or Barkley. For example, why are the Eagles using read-option concepts on virtually every running play when the QB isn’t a threat to keep it?

Granted, not all bad performances are created equal. When Foles was struggling to complete 37 percent of his passes during a 17-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys one week earlier, that performance was so ghastly there is not much the head coach could’ve done differently to salvage the game.

Barkley was nowhere near so ineffective versus New York. If only he had been given the week to prepare for the game, if only the game plan had been tailored to Barkley’s strengths, maybe they escape the Linc with a win in Week 8 and finally end that nasty home losing streak.

The Eagles lost by eight, not 28. It was a one-possession game. Could they have made up those eight points by not wasting a half to find out Mike Vick wasn’t healthy, by handing the ball off to LeSean McCoy a few extra times and especially at the goal line? Maybe, maybe not, but don’t blame the quarterbacks every time something goes wrong. We’ve all seen far worse performances than Barkley’s in wins.

Best of NBA: Russell Westbrook posts 5th straight triple-double in Thunder's win over Pelicans

Best of NBA: Russell Westbrook posts 5th straight triple-double in Thunder's win over Pelicans

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Russell Westbrook became the first player with five consecutive triple-doubles since Michael Jordan had seven straight in 1989 and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the New Orleans Pelicans 101-92 on Sunday night.

Westbrook finished with 28 points, 17 rebounds and 12 assists. The Thunder have won all five games during Westbrook's triple-double stretch. It was Westbrook's 10th triple-double of the season and the 47th of his career.

Enes Kanter had 17 points and 10 rebounds and Victor Oladipo added 15 points for the Thunder.

Anthony Davis, the NBA's leading scorer, had 37 points and 15 rebounds for the Pelicans. Buddy Hield, who led nearby Oklahoma to the Final Four last season, scored 16 points in his first game back in the state (see full recap).

Rose, Anthony help Knicks hold off Kings
NEW YORK -- Derrick Rose and Carmelo Anthony each scored 20 points and the New York Knicks held off the Sacramento Kings 106-98 on Sunday night for their eighth win in 11 games.

The Knicks took a 21-point lead in the first half, gave up 18 consecutive points in the third quarter but outplayed the Kings down the stretch to win their third straight overall and improve to 9-3 at home.

Brandon Jennings added 19 points for New York and Kristaps Porzingis finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds.

DeMarcus Cousins had 36 points and 12 rebounds for the Kings, but shot just 9 for 30 and looked fatigued while struggling late while playing the entire second half (see full recap).

Ibaka's big night leads Magic past Pistons
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Serge Ibaka scored 21 points and blocked four shots, helping the Orlando Magic beat the Detroit Pistons 98-92 on Sunday night.

Nikola Vucevic added 16 points and eight rebounds for the Magic.

Pistons guard Reggie Jackson made his season debut after missing Detroit's first 21 games with knee tendinitis. He had 18 points in 23 minutes. Marcus Morris led Detroit with 21 points.

Orlando won for the third time in four games while Detroit had its three-game winning streak snapped.

On Jackson's first possession, the Pistons went to their bread-and-butter play -- he and Andre Drummond running a high pick and roll. Jackson came off the screen and hit a 3-pointer, bringing a cheer from the small crowd. Jackson played the first 5:50 of the quarter as Detroit built a 16-10 lead (see full recap).

Best of NHL: Canadiens avoid winless California trip with SO win over Kings

Best of NHL: Canadiens avoid winless California trip with SO win over Kings

LOS ANGELES -- Paul Byron scored the clinching goal in the fourth round of the shootout, and the Montreal Canadiens avoided a winless swing through California with a 5-4 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday.

Max Pacioretty had two goals and an assist for the Canadiens, who won for just the second time in seven road games. Montreal had only one win in its previous 11 games in California before scoring three times in the four-round shootout.

Alexander Radulov and Andrew Shaw also scored and Carey Price made 27 saves for the Atlantic Division-leading Canadiens.

Jeff Carter and Drew Doughty had a goal and an assist apiece for the Kings, who lost for only the second time in eight games. Peter Budaj stopped 26 shots (see full recap).

DeKeyser gives Red Wings OT win over Isles
NEW YORK -- Danny DeKeyser scored 1:02 into overtime to give Detroit a victory over New York.

Mike Green scored twice and Henrik Zetterberg had a goal and assist for Detroit, which improved to 4-1-2 in its last seven games. Peter Mrazek stopped 32 shots to improve to 3-0-2 in his past five starts.

Anders Lee, Johnny Boychuk and Josh Bailey scored for New York, which had won a season-high three straight. Jaroslav Halak finished with 30 saves.

Detroit's Frans Nielsen had an assist while facing his former team for the first time since leaving the Islanders for a six-year, $31.5 million deal with the Red Wings last summer. The 32-year-old Danish center was selected by the Islanders in the third round of the 2002 draft and had 119 goals and 230 assists over 10 seasons in New York (see full recap).

Late goal lifts Jets over Blackhawks
CHICAGO -- Andrew Copp scored the tiebreaking goal with 4:45 left, Bryan Little got his third goal in three games and Winnipeg edged Chicago.

Copp beat Scott Darling on the stick side with a shot from the right circle that slipped just inside the left post.

Chicago's Artemi Panarin scored with 6:54 remaining to tie it at 1, moments after Copp hit the post, to spoil Connor Hellebuyck's bid for a second shutout against Chicago in less than a month. Panarin completed a give-and-go with Patrick Kane, beating Hellebuyck to the glove side.

Hellebuyck finished with 25 saves and outdueled Darling, who started his second straight game for the Blackhawks in place of No. 1 goalie Corey Crawford. Darling made 30 saves, including three on breakaways.

Little's power-play goal with 43.4 seconds left in the second period was his fourth point in four games since missing 23 with a lower-body injury (see full recap)