By Barbara Harrison
At times yesterday, Eagles newbie Tim Tebow look impressive.
He is slimmer and his release looked somewhat quicker, and his ball seemed to have better rotation after months spent working with quarterback whisperer Tom House.
“I’ve spent hours and hours,” Tebow said of time dedicated to his delivery.
“Hopefully when you dedicate that much time, you do get better,” he added, saying he was focused on his balance, posture and timing.
Still, he threw some short and some well beyond the reach of his intended receivers. He was also picked off during 11-on-11 drills, eliciting groans from reporters observing the practice.
But optimism runs high in May.
“I think he’s improved,” Eagles coach Chip Kelly said of Tebow. “He’s had a lot of time the last two years working at his game. (We) wanted to have a fourth quarterback here.”
And that may be the rub.
Acquired in a pre-draft trade for previous starter Nick Foles and two draft picks, Sam Bradford is the guy Chip Kelly wanted. Meanwhile, Mark Sanchez and Matt Barkley are far more accustomed to the playbook.
Tebow won’t be asked to switch positions — “He’s a quarterback,” Kelly said flatly — and may not assume any role as a two-point conversion specialist after the NFL failed to adopt the Eagles’ proposal to move that play from the 2-yard line to the 1 at the recently completed league meetings.
But Tebow, who said he feels lean and mean at just under 250 pounds, is ready to scratch out whatever role he can and could find a niche in Kelly’s system.
“I really like him,” Tebow said of Kelly. “I think he’s an innovator. He’s someone that, wherever he’s been, he’s changed how the game has been played. It’s really fun to play for someone like that.
“It’s a lot of fun. I’ve done some similar stuff in the past, and I really enjoy it. It’s an offense that really keeps defenses on their heels in a lot of different ways — with tempo, with formation, playing fast.”
His athleticism, effectiveness in short-yardage situations and ease running the read option could certainly distinguish Tebow from a player such Barkley once Kelly begins winnowing down the roster.
“You just go out and compete and try to earn whatever you can,” Tebow said. “I’m looking to get better every single day I set foot on this field.”