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.

10 Eagles to watch during 2017 training camp

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USA Today Images/CSN

10 Eagles to watch during 2017 training camp

The Eagles kick off their 2017 training camp this week for a season with higher expectations than a year ago. 

A big reason for that is because Carson Wentz is entering his second season after an up-and-down, yet promising, rookie campaign. We're not going to list him as a player to watch because we're all going to watch him anyway. 

Another big reason for optimism is plenty of newcomers. Many of them are listed. 

Here are 10 players to watch during Eagles training camp 2017: 

Nelson Agholor 
We mentioned the newcomers, but let's start with a guy who has been here for a couple of disappointing seasons. Agholor will probably never live up to his draft status, but now it's just about making him a decent NFL player. This spring, he was the best receiver on the field, which was undeniable as it was infuriating to fans. Because it just hasn't translated into games and until it does, no one will care much. But it's worth watching to see if he can continue his impressive offseason. Maybe this year, with a reduced role, he won't be a headcase. 

Derek Barnett
The first-round pick showed some impressive signs during the spring, especially when he beat Lane Johnson a few times 1-on-1. But now the pads go on and the real football begins. Barnett has a real chance to not just earn playing time but also earn a starting job during this training camp. 

Ron Brooks/Joe Walker
We cheated a little here by lumping these two together, but it kind of makes sense. Both are coming back from serious injuries, which is why we need to see what they can do. Walker tore his ACL during the preseason a year ago. Before he did, he was set to be the team's backup middle linebacker. It wasn't until his injury that the Eagles went out and signed Stephen Tulloch. And Brooks was playing OK as the Eagles' slot cornerback before his ruptured quad tendon in October. Jim Schwartz seems to really like him, but many folks have seemingly forgotten about Brooks this offseason. 

Timmy Jernigan
Of all the newcomers, Jernigan might be the most overlooked, but could also make the biggest impact. He's here with just one year left on his contract but will get a chance to put up some serious numbers while playing next to Fletcher Cox on the interior line. 

LeGarrette Blount
Blount reportedly has language written into his contract that gives him bonuses based on staying under 250 pounds. Even if he's under 250, Blount is still a big back, about 20 pounds heavier than rookie Corey Clement. Blount is up there in age and had a huge workload for the Patriots last season. How much does he have left? 

Rasul Douglas 
Of all the Eagles' rookies, Douglas might need to have the most immediate impact. The third-round pick might be thrust into a major role this season just because of the lack of talent at the cornerback position. He was impressive in the spring but is bound to have ups and downs as a rookie. 

Alshon Jeffery 
The Eagles actually have a real No. 1 receiver. Jeffery made some spectacular catches during the spring, but he and Wentz need to build their rapport, which they had extra time to do when the receivers went to North Dakota. We'll see how far along he and Wentz are soon enough. 

Donnel Pumphrey
It's pretty shocking to see how small Pumphrey looks without pads, especially standing next to Blount. How will the Eagles use the tiny running back? Will he be more of a receiver out of the backfield and in the slot? And can his body really hold up in the NFL? 

Isaac Seumalo 
Yeah, we're telling you an interior offensive lineman is a guy to watch. Seumalo has a real chance to beat out Allen Barbre for the starting left guard position. Either way, Seumalo figures into the Eagles' plans for the future as a guard or as the center who eventually takes over for Jason Kelce. 

Mack Hollins
Of the rookie receivers, Hollins was clearly more impressive this spring. I became convinced Hollins can play football in shorts and a helmet. Now, we'll get to see how he does when the pads go on. With his size/speed combo, he's certainly an intriguing prospect.

Union's Andre Blake helps Jamaica stun Mexico to reach CONCACAF Gold Cup final

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USA Today Images

Union's Andre Blake helps Jamaica stun Mexico to reach CONCACAF Gold Cup final

PASADENA, Calif. -- Kemar Lawrence scored on an exquisite 24-yard free kick in the 88th minute, and Jamaica advanced to the CONCACAF Gold Cup final with a 1-0 upset victory over Mexico on Sunday night.

Jamaica will face the United States on Wednesday night at Santa Clara, California. The Reggae Boyz are seeking their first championship in soccer's North and Central American and Caribbean region.

Jamaica goalkeeper Andre Blake kept the game scoreless with a series of saves while Mexico dominated possession despite missing most its top players.

Lawrence's late strike froze goalkeeper Jesus Corona. The ball rose past a five-man wall and curled into the left corner just below the bar for the New York Red Bulls defender's third career international goal and first in three years.

The Reggae Boyz have reached the final for the second straight Gold Cup tournament, but this stunning upset at the Rose Bowl ranks among their biggest international wins. Mexico has won seven Gold Cup titles, the U.S. five and Canada one.

Trying to win its second consecutive Gold Cup and fourth in five tournaments, Mexico used the deeper reaches of its player pool following the World Cup qualifiers and the Confederations Cup last month. While teams were allowed to make up to six substitutions for the knockout rounds, El Tri coach Juan Carlos Osorio said he was blocked by Mexico's clubs.

Mexico hadn't trailed in the tournament before Lawrence's late goal, but El Tri also hadn't been impressive -- no player scored more than one goal. That lack of finishing skill ultimately cost Mexico, which failed to advance to the Gold Cup final for just the second time in the last six tournaments.

The crowd was dominated by Mexico's vast Southern California fan base, but the Rose Bowl was less than half-full with just 42,393 fans. The absence of Chicharito Hernandez and other top Mexican stars, combined with El Tri's unattractive performances in the Gold Cup to date, apparently kept many of their usual faithful at home.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino watched the semifinal from the Rose Bowl stands. So did Osorio, who served the fifth game of a six-match FIFA ban for his conduct toward officials during the Confederations Cup.

Blake made two brilliant saves in succession in the 12th minute, diving twice to stop close-range chances by Jesus Duenas and Erick Torres, the Houston Dynamo star and the only player on the current roster from outside Mexico's domestic leagues.

Blake did it again in the 25th minute, stopping Torres' point-blank header from the top of the 6-yard box with improbably quick reactions.

Jesus Molina sent Blake crashing to the ground with aerial contact in the 34th minute while competing for a ball in the box, but Jamaica rallied and forced Corona to make his own diving stop in the 38th minute off a free kick.

Jesus Gallardo's 22-yard free kick also was punched away adroitly in the 65th minute by Blake for his sixth official save.

Jamaica got a chance in the 56th minute, but substitute Ricardo Morris' 14-yard shot went straight to Corona. Damion Lowe got another golden chance with a sharp header off a free kick in the 78th minute, but Corona dived to swat it away.