Tim Tebow is back in the NFL as Mark Sanchez's teammate. This time Tebow has an uphill battle just to make it on to the roster.
When NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that Tebow was joining the Philadelphia Eagles, we knew that it would get attention. Tebow is the only fifth-string quarterback who could jolt the NFL world awake on a sleepy weekend. But Tebow is also exactly like any street free agent who hasn't played a regular-season snap since 2012: The burden of proving he's an NFL player is entirely on him.
That's the bad news. The good news is that Tebow found a coach in Chip Kelly who still sees something worth salvaging in Tebow's game after he spent 2014 as an SEC Network analyst. The 27-year-old worked out for the Eagles in March after working with noted quarterback guru Tom House to improve his accuracy. Tebow joins a crowded Eagles quarterback room with Sanchez, Sam Bradford, Matt Barkley and G.J. Kinne.
Could Tebow beat out Barkley and Kinne for the No. 3 job? Anything is possible. His athleticism and college experience in a spread system should help his transition to Kelly's offense. Still: Tebow has always struggled in practice, and is not a natural thrower. He went to training camp with the Patriots in 2013, but simply wasn't accurate enough to keep around. It's unlikely he'll suddenly look great in practice.
Tebow's uphill route to a roster will be as a No. 3 quarterback who could be used for occasional packaged plays with an option to run or throw. His previous three NFL coaches have all struggled to find a useful way to integrate Tebow into an offense. Perhaps Chip Kelly just wants to show everyone he's smarter than the rest.