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.

NFL draft day manifesto: 20 final points

NFL draft day manifesto: 20 final points

On the day of the first round of the 2017 NFL draft, Jared Sherman has 20 thoughts on this year's class and classes from year's past.

1. As you've read countless times over the past several months, the 2017 cornerback class is as deep as I've ever seen. I see four slam dunks (Marshon Lattimore, Marlon Humphrey, Tre'Davious White, and Kevin King) going in the first round, with several (Quincy Wilson, Adoree Jackson, and Chidobe Awuzie) knocking on the door. This depth bodes well for the Eagles, who can grab some help for Carson Wentz at No. 14 knowing the CB depth should allow them to land a potential starter in the second round. 

2. Thank goodness the Eagles were able to land Wentz last season, because this QB class has no surefire studs. Of the top quarterbacks available, I have the most confidence in DeShaun Watson becoming a legit starting QB. He's started for three years, has consistently won games, and stood out in the biggest ones. He's short, and his arm strength won't wow you, but the guy is a leader, played in a pro-style offense, and won't need a lot of grooming before you can put him behind center.  Don't be surprised if he's off the board at No. 4 to the Jaguars. 

3. Corey Davis is the best receiver in this class. He doesn't have the speed of John Ross, or the sheer size of Mike Williams, but he's the total package. Yes, the competition he played against wasn't top tier, but he's coming from the same conference that produced Antonio Brown (Central Michigan), Julian Edelman  (Kent State), and Randy Moss (Marshall), and I'd take any of them. If I'm the Eagles and had to choose between Davis, Ross, and Williams, I'd take Davis all day. 

4. This is a terrible interior defensive line group. Outside of Alabama's Jonathan Allen and maybe Stanford's Solomon Thomas (who could project outside to DE), this class is really lacking true impact players. If the Eagles are looking for depth at the position after losing Bennie Logan, they should look at Michigan's Ryan Glasgow in the late rounds. 

5. If Philadelphia was open to trading Malcolm Jenkins, there is real depth at safety in this draft. In the second round, the Birds may be able to grab Texas A&M's Justin Evans, Florida's Marcus Maye, Connecticut's Obi Melifonwu, or NC State's Josh Jones. All should be impact players early in their careers. I could even see some team grabbing Evans or Jones late in the first round. 

6. Best names in the draft:
Fish Simpson - S - Kansas: His real name is Anthony. His brother, a WR at Kansas, was called Shaky.
Weston Steelhammer - S - Air Force: Sounds like the main protagonist in a series of bad detective novels.
Gunner Kiel - QB - Cincinnati: If you had to come up with a name for QB in a TV Show, this would be it.
Speedy Noil - WR - Texas A&M: Seems like a fitting name for a WR.
Bobo Wilson - WR - Florida State: If this football thing doesn't work out, he has a name suited for playing blues guitar.
Taco Charlton - DE - Michigan: No explanation needed.
Noble Nwachukwu - DE - West Virginia: Most fun name to say in the draft.
Charmeachealle Moore - LB - Kansas State: Man, first day of school every year must have been tough for both him and his teachers.

7. Three years from now, these will be the Top 10 players out of this draft:
Corey Davis - WR - Western Michigan
Jamal Adams - S - LSU
Reuben Foster - LB - Alabama
Leonard Fournette - RB - LSU
Budda Baker - S - Washington
Myles Garrett - DE - Texas A&M
Forrest Lamp - OL - Western Kentucky
Malik Hooker - S - Ohio State
Taco Charlton - DE - Michigan
Christian McCaffrey - RB - Stanford

8. I know there's been a lot of talk of the Eagles drafting Tennessee DE Derek Barnett, but I think that'd be a mistake. Barnett was super-productive in college but relies too heavily on jumping the snap count to get pressure. Physically he reminds me of Brandon Graham minus the closing burst. He'll be solid in the NFL, but not worthy of a Top 15 pick. 

9. The most intriguing defensive player that may fall to the Eagles is Foster. Despite the combine incident and diluted urine test, I'd take him on my team in a heartbeat. Foster reminds me of Luke Kuechly on the field - he's just everywhere. The Eagles haven't had a true difference maker on defense since Brian Dawkins (Fletcher Cox isn't one). Foster could be that guy. Linebacker isn't a pressing need, but someone with Foster's ferocious playing style and obvious talent may be enough to force the Eagles' hand. 

10. Of course Wentz's career will define Howie Roseman's 2016 draft, but I have high hopes for Isaac Seumalo, Halapoulivaati Vatai, and Jalen Mills going forward. All showed something last year, and all could (should) be starters by 2018. Joe Walker, their last 7th round pick who got hurt in training camp, is also coming back this year, and he very well could grab a spot on the roster as a special teamer and Jordan Hicks' backup.

11. You can't judge a draft until three seasons have past, so looking at the 2014 class here are the Top 5 best picks based on value (where they were drafted compared to others at their position) and performance:
Odell Beckham, Jr. (WR) - Giants Pick No. 12: OBJ was the third WR selected (Sammy Watkins at No. 4 and Mike Evans at No. 7)
Zack Martin (OG) - Cowboys No. 16: This pick was a bit of a wildcard after many thought Jerry Jones was going to grab Johnny Manziel. 
Derek Carr (QB) - Raiders No. 36: Oakland found its franchise QB in the second round. Bet Jacksonville, who took Blake Bortles at No. 3 overall, feels great. 
Allen Robinson (WR) - Jaguars No. 61: This is the guy I was pounding the table for the Eagles to take. 
Gabe Jackson (OG) - Raiders No. 81: Another guy I loved, who has blossomed into an All-Pro OG. 
Devonta Freeman (RB) - Falcons No. 103: The 6th RB off the board after legends like Bishop Sankey, Tre Mason, Dri Archer, Jerick McKinnon, Terrance West, and Charles Sims.
John Urschel (OG) - Ravens No. 175: The math genius has become a very solid starter in Baltimore. 
Daniel McCullers (DT) - Steelers No. 215: The massive McCullers is a productive late-round find. 
Beau Allen (DT) - Eagles No. 224: Not sexy, but the man with the massive arms has become a reliable rotational player for the Birds. 

12. I think Marlon Humphrey has a lot of plus tools (speed and tackling), but I'm not sure he's a guy I want on an island. I'd pass on him at No. 14. 

13. I think there's a good chance Carolina grabs Christian McCaffrey at No. 8.If he's there at No. 14, I wouldn't be opposed to taking him. He brings a lot to the table, and I think the Eagles priority should be to build around Wentz first. 

14. While I don't buy into arguments that you can't draft Player A because he comes from XYZ University, and they have historically not produced solid pros at that position, I wonder if any NFL team has pause when looking at Alabama OT Cam Robinson. It's odd how many highly-rated offensive linemen Alabama's produced who haven't had a ton of success in the NFL:
Ryan Kelly (2016 - Indianapolis)  - 1st Round
Cyrus Kounandjio (2014 - Buffalo) - 2nd Round
Chance Warmack (2013 - Tennessee) - 1st Round
D.J. Fluker (2013 - San Diego) - 1st Round
Barrett Jones (2013 - St. Louis) - 4th Round
James Carpenter (2011 - Seattle) - 1st Round
Mike Johnson (2010 - Atlanta) - 3rd Round
Andre Smith (2009 - Cincinnati) - 1st Round

15. I've seen a couple of mock drafts that have Youngstown State DE Derek Rivers going in the first round. Rivers certainly had a brilliant career at YSU (41 career sacks) but I think the first round is a bit of a stretch. He's too small to play DE on running downs, and has limited pass rush moves, relying heavily on being a superior athlete to the competition he faced in the FCS. Look for Rivers to go late in the second or early third round.

16. I love Temple's Dion Dawkins. He will be an instant starter in the NFL. If I'm running the Jaguars' front office (Note: I'm not) I'd think long and hard about him early in the second round. 

17. Ohio State CB Gareon Conley, recently accused of sexual assault, was a surefire first-round pick just a week ago. Now, like Dallas OG La'el Collins last year, he probably won't be selected at all. 

18. Strange that Joe Mixon will absolutely be drafted (and possibly by the Eagles). I'm all for second chances, and I know he was only 18, but as the father of both a son and daughter, I couldn't in good conscience have him in my locker room. 

19. Such a shame Washington CB Sidney Jones tore his Achilles during his pro day. I really thought he'd be the guy the Eagles take at No. 14. Now, I'm still onboard with taking him in the third round. He's too talented and hard working not to take a gamble on that in 2018 you'll have a starting CB ready to roll. 

20. Here's my Eagles-only mock draft:
First Round (14) - Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
Second Round (43) - Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
Third Round (99) - Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington
Fourth Round (118) - Daeshon Hall, DE, Texas A&M
Fourth Round (139) - George Kittle, TE, Iowa
Fifth Round (155) - James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh
Sixth Round (194) - Jeremy Clark, CB, Michigan
Seventh Round (230) - Avery Moss, DE, Youngstown State

Flyers officially sign 2015 draft pick Mikhail Vorobyov to entry-level deal

Flyers officially sign 2015 draft pick Mikhail Vorobyov to entry-level deal

It’s official now.
 
The Flyers signed Russian forward Mikhail Vorobyov to an entry-level contract and announced it Thursday afternoon two days after it had been reported by Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports in Canada.
 
Vorobyov is the Flyers' fourth-round pick (104th overall) from the 2015 NHL Draft.
 
The 6-foot-2, 194-pound center from Ufa, Russia, played this past season in the KHL with Salavat Yulaev and had 11 points (three goals) in 44 games.
 
The 20-year-old is expected to play for the Phantoms next fall.
 
Vorobyov played for Russia at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championships, where his country won the bronze medal. He had 10 assists in seven games. That tied him for third in overall team scoring.
 
Vorobyov recorded points in six of the seven games. He also added a shootout goal in the semifinals against the United States.