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.

Alec Asher lone bright spot as Phillies continue to limp to finish with another loss to Mets

Alec Asher lone bright spot as Phillies continue to limp to finish with another loss to Mets

The Phillies returned home from a bad road trip Friday with only three games to play and the only thing to play for being the role of spoilers.

With the New York Mets in town looking to put a stranglehold on a wildcard spot, the Phillies, as another losing season finishes out, could be a thorn in the side of their rivals.

Alec Asher looked like he was playing the part of spoiler, retiring the first 11 batters he faced, but the Mets rallied, got behind starter Robert Gsellman, and turned back any Phillies sabotaging on this night, beating the home team, 5-1.

The two teams are heading in quite opposite directions.

The Mets, with their win, clinched at least a tiebreaker in the wildcard and guaranteed their season not ending on Sunday, the league’s final regular season date.

The Phillies on the other hand… 

“We’re certainly limping home,” said manager Pete Mackanin an hour or so after being ejected for the first time this year. “Not playing well, not swinging the bats very well.”

They struck out 14 times Friday night. And after scraping a run across in the second inning, never really looked like they were in the game at the plate.

Mackanin's ejection came in the eighth inning. Mackanin wasn’t happy with first base umpire Will Little and was thrown out of a game. Reliever Michael Mariot threw a fastball in on Yoenis Cespedes and Cespedes appeared to lose control of the bat through the strike zone. When appealed to, Little ruled Cespedes did not swing, and out came Mackanin.

"I had to get thrown out there," Mackanin said.

Perhaps he just couldn't stand to watch anymore. 

Gsellman battled through some early struggles and stymied the Phillies’ offense. Gsellman turned in six innings of one-run baseball, improving to 4-2 on the year. He allowed one run on seven hits and struck out seven.

Asher, in his last start of 2016, was the lone bright spot on this night.

With two outs in the fourth, his brief perfect game bid was ended with a single from Yoenis Cespedes. That was followed by another from Curtis Granderson. 

Jay Bruce then worked a full count but Asher couldn’t put him away. On the ninth pitch of the at-bat, Bruce singled home Cespedes to tie the score. 

A fourth consecutive single, this time off the bat of T.J. Rivera, allowed Granderson to cross the plate for a 2-1 Mets lead.

Asher’s night and season ended with a Bruce home run - his third in as many games - to lead off the top of the seventh.

“I wanted to go sinker away and just kind of got it mid-thigh belt,” Asher said. “He took advantage of the mistake.”

Asher, 24, went six-plus innings Friday, throwing 104 pitches while allowing three runs on five hits. He struck out four and walked zero.

His 2016 finishes with a 2.28 ERA and 0.94 WHIP in 27 ⅔ innings pitched. He struck out 13 and walked four.

“Last year when Asher was here I recall being asked if it was a smart thing to do because he got rocked so badly,” Mackanin said. “We talked about if and when he did get back to the big leagues if he would be able to handle it. What kind of make up he had. Certainly he made an adjustment. Added a two-seam fastball which he never had. Has a plus changeup. He needs a little more work on his breaking ball, but nevertheless he’s pitched well since he’s been back. He’s done a good job.”

The Phillies bullpen hasn’t lately.

Mariot, in relief of Asher, gave up two runs in 1 ⅔ innings of relief, including Bruce’s third RBI of the night to give the Mets a 5-1 lead.

The Phillies offense then went quietly into the fall night. The Mets didn’t allow a hit from the final 12 Phillies hitters.

Their season will continue beyond Sunday.

“It’s step one of a bigger accomplishment,” said Mets manager Terry Collins. “We’re certainly pleased we get to play past Sunday.”

The Phillies are just limping.

Orthopedist on Ben Simmons' injury: 'The prognosis is good'

Orthopedist on Ben Simmons' injury: 'The prognosis is good'

On Friday, Sixers fans got some bad news when the team revealed that No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons fractured the fifth metatarsal in his right foot.

The Sixers didn't give a timetable for his return, saying that they were reviewing treatment options for the 6-foot-10 point-forward.

As a guest on CSNPhilly's Sportsnet Central, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Mark Schwartz gave a little insight into Simmons' injury. Schwartz is not treating Simmons, but has dealt with similar injuries. Schwartz believes the prognosis is good for the Sixers' rookie.

"The big question is where the exact location of this fracture is," Schwartz said. "That will dictate the prognosis and the treatment. If it's at the base of the fifth metatarsal, it's usually a non-surgical treatment. It's usually a cast/boot for six to eight weeks and return to play somewhere around eight weeks."

That would be great news considering Sixers fans didn't get to see Nerlens Noel the year he was drafted and are still awaiting the debut of 2014 draft pick Joel Embiid. 

Schwartz warns that the injury could be something known as a Jones fracture, which would likely require surgery and the recovery could be three to four months. The prognosis would still be good, according to Schwartz, but other NBA players have had lengthy recoveries with a similar injury.

"The prognosis is still good, but we know that Kevin Durant had a Jones fracture and he was out for an entire season because of it not healing," Schwartz said. "But the prognosis is good, however, the question is whether it's going to require surgery or not."

For more from Schwartz on Simmons' injury and possible timetable, check out the video above.