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Uneven Tim Tebow shakes off rust against Colts

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The Tim Tebow era began in Philadelphia to raucous applause, so much in fact that he had to wave his arms to quiet down the crowd. Welcome to life as the most popular fourth-string quarterback in the country.

On a relatively smooth first drive, which should have resulted in a field goal, the former Heisman Trophy winner went 4-of-5 for 43 yards and a nice run. His new throwing motion has eliminated much of the hitch that plagued him for three NFL seasons, but it didn't matter on any of the following drives as he spent a majority of his time evading Colts defenders.

On the night, he finished 6-of-12 for 69 yards. He added 15 yards on the ground, including a seven-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter.

While examining his night will inevitably lead to rolled eyes -- he faced the Colts' third and fourth string -- it's hard not to still be a tad bit intrigued despite the obvious flaws that have always been picked apart in his game.

There were certainly gaffes, including a duffed second-down throw on his second drive and a 13-yard loss he took on the following play, but he was also playing behind a third and fourth string offensive line with third and fourth string wide receivers. The argument works both ways. Local product Rasheed Bailey bailed Tebow out with a phenomenal jumping grab on one pass. On other downs, his pass catching options struggled mightily to find separation.

It's safe to say that even if Kelly doesn't have his answer at quarterback, he undoubtedly has the deepest and most diverse quarterback room in the NFL.

But can Tebow remain a part of it?

The total body of his work in the preseason will answer that question, although it's difficult for a team to rationalize four quarterbacks on a 53-man roster, especially if the fourth-string quarterback continually struggles to make reads and get the ball out in a timely manner. As NFL Media Analyst Mike Mayock pointed out, if you're comparing Tebow and Matt Barkley head to head, there is no contest in terms of an ability to read a defense and get the ball out quickly.

Then again, if anyone can remain in the conversation, it would be Tim Tebow.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast discusses Steve Smith's retirement news and predicts the training camp QB battles.

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