Is it possible that Tim Tebow, a man whose name is followed by the suffix "mania" more often than it isn't, is quietly making his case to start the regular season with the Eagles?
Entrenched in a battle with Matt Barkley for the No. 3 spot under center in Philadelphia, Tebow has put his head down and is throwing the ball well during Birds' training camp.
"There's a couple stretches in there where it seems like he's got a little bit more zip on the ball than he did when he was [throwing] in the springtime," Chip Kelly said. "We'll see how that manifests itself."
The problem is, no matter how good a quarterback looks in practice, he could be a completely different player once 300-pound linemen are leaping at his feet.
Tebow got a bevy of loud cheers during Eagles' open training camp at Lincoln Financial Field Tuesday, several of them when the quarterback tucked the ball under his arm and scrambled. It seems that Tebow has the mobility to excel in a Chip Kelly offense. But Thursday is just Day 4 of training camp. There's a lot left to be determined.
"For those guys," Kelly said of the quarterbacks (including Sam Bradford and Mark Sanchez, battling for the starting gig), "especially with them wearing red jerseys, you are not going to know anything with those guys until they get into a game and then there’s a chance with contact coming and all those other things."
It's been three years since Tebow, a Heisman Trophy winner and NCAA National Champion has suited up in the NFL (outside of his 2013 stint in Patriots camp) and he is understandably rusty.
During practice Tuesday he under threw a couple open receivers while also fumbling on a scramble.
But the week-to-week improvement is there, and the soon to be 28-year-old seems to be within striking distance of Barkley.
“I feel like I’m getting better everyday,” Tebow said. “I’m just trying to understand the offense more and play a little bit faster, and I’m blessed to be able to play with some really good teammates and some really good coaches.”
Regardless of whether he gets cut or remains an Eagle all year, the humble and dedicated quarterback is enjoying the opportunity to play football.
“I’m blessed to be able to do what I do,” Tebow, who famously led the Broncos deep into the 2011 playoffs, said. “ I think that’s something that you always have to think about when you come out here because you can take it for granted and there have probably been a lot of times when I’ve taken it for granted, but you just realize how blessed you are when you are able to come out here and play a game that you love. That’s pretty special.”