In Sunday afternoon’s NFL preseason game between Green Bay and Pittsburgh, the Packers lost star receiver Jordy Nelson to an ACL tear. For most teams, this would be a difficult loss to overcome, but in the case of the Packers, it may not be as bad as it looks.
Green Bay General Manager Ted Thompson does an excellent job putting a roster together, and he always finds ways to find players to fill in when a starter goes down. The best example of this was in 2010 season when over 10 players, many of whom were starters, were placed on injured reserve. The Pack won the Super Bowl that year.
Part of the reason is the system. They have, basically, been in the same offensive system since 2006 when Mike McCarthy became the Head Coach. Thompson and the Packers personnel department find plays who are fits for that system, and the coaching staff does an excellent job developing the players.
That is the case at the wide receiver position. In the 2014 NFL Draft, the Packers drafted three wide receivers. Fresno State’s Davante Adams was selected in the second round, Wisconsin’s Jared Abbrederis came in the fifth round, and Saginaw Valley’s Jeff Janis was a seventh round selection.
Adams became a significant player as a rookie, especially later in the season and the playoffs. Janis was a role player as a rookie, and Abbrederis was on injured reserve with an ACL injury. Adams and Janis have had strong camps this year and are ready for bigger roles. Abbrederis has spent most of the time on the sidelines recovering from a concussion, but when and if he is ready to play, he can be a contributor.
As for the depth chart, fifth year player Randall Cobb moves up to be the primary receiver. He was second in receptions to Nelson last year with 91 catches for 1287 yards and 12 touchdowns. He is ready to become a number one receiver in the league. Adams will become the starter opposite Cobb, and he is also ready for that role. As a rookie, he had 38 receptions, and now that he is comfortable within the system, he is ready to roll. He was one of the more physically gifted receivers in the 2014 draft and is capable of putting up big numbers.
Janis is an interesting player. Coming from Saginaw Valley, he wasn’t as developed as much as players who came from BCS level schools, but he has the natural physical traits. He has great size (6’3 – 220) and speed (4.4) and is becoming a much better route runner. In the first two preseason games this year, he has five receptions, and I would bet he will get a lot of playtime this week in the dress rehearsal game.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not underplaying the significance of Nelson’s injury, I just feel that because Green Bay is Green Bay, they will be able to overcome the injury much better than most. The Green Bay offense is a finely tuned machine led by Aaron Rodgers, who, in my opinion, is the best quarterback in football. While Nelson was his most trusted target, Rodgers will adapt, and the offense will still put up huge numbers.
USC Bans Alcohol from their Football Locker Room
This report came out late Monday evening. It was reported that last year during Head Coach Steve Sarkisian’s first season at USC, there was alcohol available to the coaches in the locker not only at home games but on the road as well. It was further reported that when Lane Kiffin was the Head Coach, alcohol was also available. The ban comes after Sarkisian got in trouble with the University after reportedly being drunk at a University football function this past Saturday.
Why alcohol was available at all? Many college stadiums do not sell alcohol to the fans because the stadiums are on a college campus. If alcohol is available to the coaches in the locker room, who is to say that underage players aren’t enjoying a taste when someone isn’t looking? That can be a dangerous precedent and a liability waiting to happen.
Reading that brought back memories of a funny story from 25 years ago. At that time, I was working as a scout for the New York Giants. On Labor Day weekend of 1990, I was assigned to watch the Long Beach State at Clemson game. Long Beach State was, of course, not a power, but what made this game interesting is they had a new head coach that season. The coach was none other than NFL Hall of Famer George Allen. Allen had not coached since the USFL folded in the mid 1980’s and was 72 at the time.
That weekend I happened to be staying at the same hotel as the Long Beach State team in the Greenville-Spartanburg area. The night before the game, I was with George Allen’s son Bruce (now the president of the Redskins) and former Bills and Chargers General Manager, the late John Butler. We were in the lobby of the hotel talking football and swapping stories when Bruce told us this one…..
When George Allen was coaching in the NFL, he would always have some beer available for his players after a game. His thought was that it helped replenish the fluids the players lost during the game. That afternoon, George was having a conversation with the Long Beach State Athletic Director about the coming game. He said to the AD (Corey Johnson) that because it was going to be so hot at game time, he needed three or four cases of beer for the players to drink after the game. The AD looked at George and said, “George, this isn’t the NFL, most of these kids aren’t old enough to drink. If you want to give them something to drink, it will have to be water”. George just looked at the AD still not realizing how young his players were and said, “Oh!”
That was the last season George Allen coached football. When he was hired by Long Beach State, he promised the administration a winner. He fulfilled the promise by finishing the season with a 6-5 record. George Allen died shortly after the end of that season. He went out the winner he always was.
Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe
After last year’s joke of a season, you wouldn’t find too many people who would bet on the Chicago Bears making a run for the playoffs in 2016. After two preseason games, I am not about to anoint them, but they are a much better team than many are thinking.
Why do I say that? Head Coach John Fox is a veteran coach who has a history of turning teams around quickly. He hired a veteran staff of assistants, all with strong resumes, and these coaches know how to get a team ready for the season. There is no question that there are still some holes in the roster, but the NFL is a coach’s league and strong coaching can make up for an overall lack of talent. As long as key players stay healthy, and they get just above average quarterback play, they could have a chance.
Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler has been the whipping boy of the media the last few years. He has gotten criticized (and rightly so) for his indifference and pouting on the sideline and for his poor play at inopportune times. This year, I have seen a different Jay Cutler. He is more relaxed, and his interaction with coaches and teammates has been excellent. The most important relationship he has to have right now is with offensive coordinator Adam Gase, and to date, the relationship seems very strong. In both practice and games, Cutler seems to be more at ease, and I haven’t seen the huge mistakes we have gotten so used to seeing.
On offense, right now, I feel the biggest need is to solidify the right tackle position. Jordan Mills started the first preseason game and struggled. Charles Leno played with the first unit on Saturday night, and he also had some problems. If that position can get straightened out, the offense will be fine. There has been talk of moving Kyle Long to tackle, but then who plays the right guard slot? I have always felt that the choice at right tackle is second year man Michael Ola, but that is for the coaching staff to decide.
First round draft choice Kevin White, the speedy wide receiver from West Virginia, will miss at least half the season with a stress fracture in his right leg, and that will hurt. Even with White out, the Bears have talent at the wide receiver position led by Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal. Third year man Marquess Wilson who, has been injury prone his first two years, needs to step up while White is out.
Unlike the last two years, the Bears offense will not be a pass happy scheme. Fox would like to be able to run the ball and control the clock. The Bears have been successful with that the first two games, rushing for over 330 yards. If the Bears can continue to run well, life will be easier for Cutler as he won’t be asked to do things he can’t do.
The defense will be much better than the unit we have seen the last two years. The Bears have gone to a base 3-4 scheme and are playing a much more physical brand of football. I don’t think they need to worry that this defense will give up 50 points in games like last year’s defense did. The pass rush is much better both from inside and outside, and there is more talent and confident play in the secondary.
One of the surprises of camp has been the play of inside linebacker Shea McClellin. The former first round pick is now playing his third position in four years but seems to have found a home. He has made a number of plays in the first two games and is also calling the defensive signals. If the strong play continues, McClellin will resurrect a career that looked close to being over. Up until now, he has been labeled a bust
The big question is: have the Bears improved enough to challenge for a playoff slot? This will most likely will be answered in the first month of the season. The schedule makers didn’t do Fox any favors. The Bears first three games are Green Bay, Arizona, and Seattle. Fortunately, both Green Bay and Arizona are home games. The Bears have to come out of those three games with a 2-1 record to have a shot. If that happens, this team will develop some confidence and could make a solid run. If they start out 1-2 or 0-3, it just might be the same old Bears.
Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe
The two dreaded “A’s” seem to dominate the injury headlines. Both are typically non-contact injuries that end a player’s year with surgery and could change a team’s fortune.
The Panthers had the misfortune this week of experiencing both injuries. Star wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and projected starting defensive end Frank Alexander ruptured his Achilles tendon. ACL tears are still the leading season-ender, but Achilles is the new ACL and a close second. Over half the clubs have already suffered an ACL tear and almost half of teams experienced Achilles tendon ruptures.
When it become official that Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson tore his ACL that would make 22 ACL injuries this season. In another example of “coach speak”, Mike McCarthy said, “Until we get back to Green Bay, won’t have all the info…Looking for some good news tomorrow.” By physical examination, the team already knows before the MRI that the ACL is torn. Perhaps McCarthy is hoping for to find only an isolated tear without associated cartilage damage. By video, it is clear that he ruptured his ACL By reports, two major network NFL insiders have indicated ACL tear.
Teams often await MRI before officially concluding Achilles rupture, but that diagnosis is even more easily made by initial on field physical examination than an ACL tear. In addition to Alexander, Corey Peters (Cardinals), joined Phil Loadholt (Vikings), Kyle Williams (Broncos) and others with season ending Achilles repair surgery.
With the new CBA limiting practice time and contact, one might expect a decrease in injuries; however, that has not been the case for ACL and Achilles. The trend of high-tempo non-contact practices plays into how ACL and Achilles usually occur with a quick change of direction rather than a direct blow. The 2013 season had the highest number of preseason ACL tears in a decade with 27. With two preseason weeks to go, this year is on pace to eclipse that mark with 22 to date.
I am noting a trend and not blaming coaches or the new CBA for causing injury. As players get bigger, faster and stronger, neither the ACL nor Achilles gets any larger. The size of an ACL or Achilles in a 340 pound nose tackle is essentially the same as that of the average 170 pound male half his size.
ACL and Achilles are the two injuries players and teams fear. Both primarily happen in non-contact situations and both end seasons with surgery. The only silver lining in these preseason injuries is there is more time to recovery for a healthy 2016 season.
MMMD 1: Maurkice Pouncey needs ankle surgery
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin announced likely surgery for his star center. No time frame was given for return.
Based on video analysis, Pouncey has a clear high ankle type injury with likely associated fracture. Surgery is needed as the fibula (smaller lower leg bone) is no longer secured to the tibia (larger lower leg bone) and thus the ankle is unstable. This is not just fracture surgery but involves syndesmotic ligament healing. Simple ankle fractures take six plus weeks to recover. Complex ones like Pouncey’s take three plus months to recover. Last season, Browns center Alex Mack suffered the same fate in October and had season ending surgery.
Typically this fracture results in injured reserve (IR). With it still being preseason, the best hope here for the Steelers is IR/designated for return. Unfortunately, a December return would be a best-case scenario.
MMMD 2: Sam Bradford takes hit on knee
The Eagles quarterback coming off left knee ACL re-tear took a big hit from Terrell Suggs on the same knee. Ultimately, that will be good for Bradford.
In my experience, until a player recovering from ACL takes a blow, there is always apprehension about the knee. Surviving the momentary scare gives one confidence that the knee will ultimately hold up. Hopefully that will be the case for Bradford.
MMMD 3: Reggie Wayne could be poised for big season
The former Colts wide receiver was reportedly taking a physical in New England. No doubt Wayne will pass as he is likely the healthiest he has been in years.
Last season he was hampered by a triceps tear that caused several pass drops. This injury should be well behind him. In 2013, Wayne tore his ACL. Although he played last year on the knee, typically the second season back is the better one.
Despite his age, a healthy Wayne being paired with Belichick and Brady, might result in a big year. Or perhaps, McCarthy and Rodgers will jump into the fray.
MMMD 4: Jadeveon Clowney starts practicing
Last year’s overall number one selection passed his physical and was taken off the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. He is being eased back into practice.
Microfracture surgery is a long recovery. I hope he will do well. Since the Texans placed him on active/PUP originally, if there is a setback, Clowney could go on reserve/PUP to start the regular season. I am not suggesting his knee won’t respond well, just explaining that PUP remains an option for any player that started on preseason PUP, as long as it is for the same injury.
MMMD 5: Chris Borland dubbed “the most dangerous man in football”
ESPN’s Outside the Lines gave the retired 49ers linebacker that moniker. I am not sure about that title but Borland has become the early retirement poster child like I predicted in March of this year.
Borland originally said he suffered two concussions in his football career. However, when concussion was defined as blurred vision, seeing stars, headaches, dizziness, balance problems, nausea, vomiting, trouble sleeping, fatigue, confusion, difficulty remembering, difficulty concentrating, or loss of consciousness, he revised his number to 30 times.
He remains a thoughtful presence in the head injury debate. He has learned that there is much more we don’t know about concussions/CTE than what we do know.
Borland also concluded, “this whole world of brain injury and football is more political than I anticipated.” That is a shame. It should be about health and safety, not politics.
MMMD 6: NCAA sports preserved for now
The National Labor Relations Board essentially punted on the issue of Northwestern athletes unionizing. They denied union status but did not preclude further consideration.
Union status might have changed the face of college football forever. Let’s remember Kain Coulter started this movement primarily over medical care issues. Hopefully that aspect will improve, even without union status.
MMMD 7: ProFootbalDoc scorecard
Clearly I am not happy about my first inevitable “miss” of the 2015 season, but in many ways I am glad. I certainly never wanted to portray video injury analysis and my predictions to be perfect. There is no way to be correct 100% of the time without examining the player and my 16-0 record entering the week was misleading.
My early tweets on Jordy Nelson were clearly wrong. In retrospect, when I didn’t have quality video but only GIF and Vine, I should have passed instead of saying “I don’t see ACL injury.” No excuses, I was wrong. An hour later, I found better video that clearly showed a left knee ACL tear. When his ACL tear is confirmed, I won’t claim a correct call, even though I am sure of an ACL tear now.
Earlier in the week, based on video, I did correctly call Kelvin Benjamin’s ACL tear before official reports.
Overall for 2015 season, the record is now 17-1. My goal all season is to stay above the 90% mark.
Follow David on Twitter: @profootballdoc
Dr. David Chao is a former NFL head team physician with 17 years of sideline, locker and training room experience. He currently has a successful orthopedic/sports medicine practice in San Diego.
If you pick up a copy of the Buffalo News or listen to sports talk radio in Buffalo, the theme seems to remain the same. The starting quarterback for the 2015 Buffalo Bills will be Tyrod Taylor, the 26-year-old, fifth-year pro from Virginia Tech.
Going into camp, it looked as if the favorite for the quarterback job may have been Matt Cassel, the veteran, who has flashed when he has gotten an opportunity in New England, Kansas City, and Minnesota.
Cassel’s problem is that he is a stationary player with no movement skills. The new offensive coordinator in Buffalo is Greg Roman, who came over from San Francisco. It wasn’t that long ago that Roman was one of the “hot” head coaching candidates in NFL, with the job he did developing Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick and Taylor have a lot in common in that both are very athletic and can make and extend plays with their feet.
In the first two pre-season games, Taylor did some very good things. In the opener versus Carolina, he completed five of eight throws for 49 yards while rushing for 47 yards on six carries. Thursday night in Cleveland, he played the entire first half and finished 7-10 for 65 yards, adding 41 yards on four carries.
On the Bills opening drive, they held on to the ball for 9:36 on a 16 play, 57-yard drive. Taylor’s only mistake on the drive was allowing himself to be sacked on a third-and-six play from the Cleveland 19-yard line, taking the Bills out of easy field goal range. While that certainly was a key play in the drive, Taylor was pretty much flawless before that.
The last three years, Taylor has been the primary backup to Joe Flacco in Baltimore. While he was able to win that position with good play in both practice and pre-season games, he never got that much playtime. His stats while with the Ravens were only 19 completions in 35 attempts for 199 yards and no touchdowns.
When a team has a journeyman quarterback, the saying is he “doesn’t have to win games, just don’t lose them”. That could be a very true statement in Buffalo. The Bills have one of the better defenses in the NFL and have a number of playmakers on the offensive side of the ball.
With the acquisition of LeSean McCoy this spring, they will have a strong running game. They have the makings of a good passing attack with Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods, and Percy Harvin at wide receiver. All Taylor has to do is play within himself, not turn the ball over, and the Bills will have a chance in every game.
Having watched their first two pre-season games, I believe that Taylor can do that. He has a strong arm and shows good timing and accuracy with his throws. Really, all he needs is game experience to help develop his confidence. I have not seen him make a poor throw in the first two games.
While Taylor will never be mistaken for the likes of Aaron Rodgers or Andrew Luck, he can be similar to Michael Vick in his prime. If that happens, the Buffalo Bills may well be the surprise team of the AFC in 2015!
Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe
With the first set of preseason games being played last week, it was good to finally have some football on our televisions. Every team has played at least one game now, and there were a couple of things that stuck out to me.
Nelson Agholor, Tyler Lockett, and Phillip Dorsett will give Amari Cooper stiff competition for Offensive Rookie of the Year
My early favorite to win Offensive Rookie of the Year is Amari Cooper. Watching the Raiders against the Rams featuring Cooper in their first handful of plays did nothing to change my mind. Cooper was targeted four times and made three catches for 22 yards in the first quarter. What was also impressive were the starts of three other rookie wide receivers in the Eagles’ Nelson Agholor, Seahawks’ Tyler Lockett, and the Colts’ Phillip Dorsett.
Nelson had an up and down game for the most part, as he did drop some balls, but also made a tough catch (thrown a bit too high), quickly turned, avoiding the defender, and sprinting up field for a 34-yard touchdown. Agholor was touted as one of the better route runners coming out of the draft and watching him cutting in and out of his routes on Saturday, you could see why. With his timed 4.42 speed, Nelson will be the primary deep threat for Chip Kelly’s high-powered offense. Nelson and second-year receiver Jordan Mathews look to be Sam Bradford’s main targets in Philadelphia, so he should see plenty of action.
Indianapolis Colts’ rookie Phillip Dorsett started their preseason opener versus the Eagles in place of T.Y. Hilton and caught four balls for 51 yards. Dorsett was more of an afterthought in Colts grand scheme of things heading into training camp. With Veterans Andre Johnson, Donte Moncrief, and the aforementioned Hilton, the Colts looked like they would not have enough balls to satisfy all their receivers. With the quickness and speed Dorsett displayed versus Philly, I can’t see how Coach Pagano and Offensive Coordinator Pep Hamilton can keep him off the field. Dorsett is so quick and has soft hands. I can see him eating up yards from the both the slot position as well as the outside. With Andrew Luck at quarterback, Dorsett has a leg up on the others in terms of playing with one of the best signal callers in the league.
Tyler Lockett of the Seattle Seahawks also had quite the coming out party. Drafted not only for his receiving ability but also his special teams’ skills, Lockett returned a kickoff for a 103-yard touchdown. In total, he had 186 kickoff return yards and 18 yards on his lone punt return. Obviously, Lockett will have a major impact on the Seahawks’ special teams unit, but what also needs to stressed and repeated with this young man is that he is a heck of a receiver. Listed at 5’10” 182lbs, Lockett has always had to fight off the “too small” stigma, even while putting up huge numbers in his final two seasons at Kansas State. Lockett had over 2,700 yards receiving and 22 touchdowns combined in his last two years in Manhattan, Kansas. Prior to the game, Lockett had already been drawing praise from the coaches for his route running and speed. He quite possibly landed in the perfect situation, between the head coach and coaching staff, to take advantage of his skills. If there is one thing Pete Carroll has made clear in the past, if you can play and produce on the field, no matter your size or draft status, he will find a way to use you. Lockett also does not have a number of established veterans to climb over on the depth chart.
The days of the Oakland Raiders being pushovers might be over
The Raiders are coming guys, and no, I am not referring to their possible relocation to Los Angeles. The Raiders have stockpiled some young talent on their roster and will no longer be marked as automatic wins on their opponents’ calendars.
Having gone 11-37 over the last three seasons (2012 – 2014) the Raiders have not been a very competitive team to say the least. The lone bright spot in those dismal seasons was the fact they were able to compile high draft picks in every round. Coupled with smart free agent signings, it appears they might be on their way back to being competitive.
Head Coach Jack Del Rio and his staff had the young Raiders flying around the field last Friday night versus St. Louis. With Derek Carr entering his second season, and the addition of wide receivers Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, and Center Rodney Hudson, expectations were that the Raiders would take another step up on offense. What took me by surprise was how fast and physical the Raiders were on defense. Defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. had their players attacking from the start. With second year linebacker Khalil Mack leading the way, the Raiders were swarming to the ball carriers with their speed and gang tackling at every opportunity. Mack was not alone in his relentless pursuit. Joining him was fellow 2014 draft classmate Shelby Harris who had one sack and one tackle for loss. Not to be outdone, rookie linebacker Ben Heeney, a 2015 fifth round pick from Kansas, also registered eight tackles and a sack. In all, the Raiders finished the game with three sacks and seven tackles for loss.
Now I am not saying they will win their division or even finish above 500, but the last two draft classes put together by Reggie McKenzie have been very good, and the proof is on the field. Expectations are that 15 of the 18 players selected in the last two drafts (not including undrafted free agents) will make the final roster. The Raiders are building that young nucleus that will lead them back to prominence. With Derek Carr and Amari Cooper on offense and Khalil Mack and company on defense, the future appears to be very bright.
The Steelers could have the best offense in the NFL
It’s hard to imagine the Steelers having a better offense than what they displayed in 2014, when they had one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL. They finished in the top two overall for average yards per game (411.1) and total passing yards per game (305.9) and seventh overall in scoring offense (27.2). Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had a tremendous season, passing for 4,952 yards and 32 touchdowns (all career highs). Wide receiver Antonio Brown had 129 receptions 1,698 yards and 13 TD, while running back Le’Veon Bell compiled 1,361 rushing yards, 854 receiving yards, and 11 TD.
Expecting Roethlisberger, Brown and Bell to repeat or come close to their 2014 stats is a bit unrealistic, especially when Bell will miss the first two games of the season serving a suspension. Where the improvement will come from is the added depth at running back and the continued development of their younger receivers.
The Steelers finally seem to have depth at running back with veteran DeAngelo Williams and second year speedster Dri Archer. Both will be asked to help fill the void in the running game for the first two games with Bell out. Williams was a terrific signing and will give the Steelers a dependable option as a backup to Le’Veon when he returns. Archer has speed to burn and will be used in a number of different formations that will be designed to get the ball in his hands in the open field. Both will allow Bell to stay fresh at the end of games and limit some of the physical punishment he absorbs.
Pittsburgh appears to have a spectacular and dynamic collection of wide receivers. With the aforementioned Antonio Brown leading this group, expect a huge year out of 2014 fourth round pick Martavis Bryant.
Bryant, who in 10 games last season had 549 yards and eight touchdowns, has size (6’4” 211lbs.) speed (4.42), and big play ability (21.1 yards per catch). With Antonio Brown drawing the primary focus of opposing defenses, Bryant will thrive with single coverage. With the continued development of Markus Wheaton, plus this year’s third round pick in Sammie Coates, the Steelers very well could have the best group of wide receivers in the NFL.
With Ben Roethlisberger coming off a career year in 2014, and entering his fourth season with Todd Haley as his offensive coordinator, the sky is the limit for the Steelers on offense. Roethlisberger has complete command of the offense and has become the unquestionable leader of that unit. During practice, he is not only coaching up and talking to the quarterbacks, but also the receivers, offensive line, and running backs.
Coming into coming into training camp, both Roethlisberger and offensive coordinator Todd Haley suggested that the Steelers can average 30 points a game this season by simply limiting the early season struggles they endured in 2014. After initially scoffing at the notion, I believe the Steelers have a legitimate chance at topping 2014 and will have the best offense in the NFL this season.
Tim Tebow Will Make the Eagles 53-man Roster
Leave it up to Chip Kelly to resuscitate Tebowmania, this time in city of brotherly love. Tebow played almost the entire second half versus the Colts on Saturday, seeing his first live game action since 2012, completing six of twelve passes for 69 yards. He also had a 15-yard touchdown run. Tebow had been working on speeding up his throwing motion and improving his accuracy from the pocket in order to enhance his chances of getting back in the league. Even though he made a couple of nice throws from the pocket, he still is not a NFL caliber quarterback in my books.
Yet, I still see Tebow making the Eagles’ final roster as the third quarterback and beating out Matt Barkley. No, this won’t be a publicity stunt by Kelly and the Eagles to try and drum up more media attention. Chip Kelly does not like the spot light. He just wants to coach football and he wants to do it his way. The reason Kelly will keep Tebow will be football related.
First, Chip Kelly believes in his offense and this offense revolves around the quarterback. Kelly wants accurate, athletic quarterbacks who can make quick, smart decisions with the ball. In starter Sam Bradford, he has the accurate and quick decision maker part down. He is just not athletic enough to buy time or create plays with his feet, especially after back-to-back knee surgeries. Tebow gives Kelly an option at quarterback that would replace Bradford in short yardage and goal line situations. My guess is Kelly already has a number of plays drawn up that will strictly be “Tebow Plays”. With both Ryan Mathews and Demarco Murray joining Tebow in the backfield, it would be difficult for defenses to determine who would get the ball pre-snap. This could give the Eagles one of the most efficient goal line offenses in the NFL.
Second, Kelly might feel having Tebow on the roster would give the Eagles an edge on their opponents. Even if Tebow is not active on game day, the opponent’s defensive coordinator still has to plan and prepare for him. They have to take time during the week of preparation and practice possible situations and plays that Tebow could run during a game. Some may argue that’s just gamesmanship, but to Kelly, it’s an advantage. The time they spend preparing for the possibility of Tebow playing is less time they prepare for the rest of the offense.
Chip Kelly has proven this offseason that he has a vision on how he will win in the NFL, and he does not care what anyone else may think. He has a plan, and in 2015, his plan will include Tim Tebow.