The Philadelphia Eagles are rumored to be using their final preseason game as an audition of sorts for Tim Tebow and Matt Barkley, with the game helping to decide who will be the third quarterback and who will likely be cut.
The two have been considered neck and neck in camp, with Tebow sometimes outplaying Barkley and at other times struggling with accuracy, the bane of his enigmatic career. But Tebow would seem to offer a dimension that Barkley does not bring, excelling in short yardage situations and offering the possibility of coming in for special packages or two-point conversions
That is the decision that Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles are reportedly making this week. Teams have to cut their rosters down from 75 to 53 by Saturday at 4 p.m., and the Eagles may be working right up until the deadline to pick between Tim Tebow and Matt Barkley.
Chip Kelly has already decided that Barkley will start Thursday’s fourth and final preseason game, but Tebow is expected to get significant playing time as well.
Kelly confirms that Matt Barkley will start against the Jets. Says this game carries weight in deciding third QB.
— Tim McManus (@Tim_McManus) September 1, 2015
Barkley said he isn’t sweating the decision too much.
“I don’t feel any pressure at all,” Barkley said, via USA Today. “I don’t think it’s anything except an exciting opportunity. I’ve been in this place before to have to impress and move the ball down the field.”
Tebow wasn’t giving away any of his emotions either.
“I wouldn’t say [I’m] more nervous,” he said. “I always get excited, nervous for every time I step foot on the field for practice or a game.”
As USA Today reported, there is no clear leader in the fight for the final roster spot.
“Barkley is 23-for-43 passing for 306 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. Tebow is 10-for-19 for 97 yards with no TDs or interceptions.
“Tebow has rushed 10 times for 50 yards with a touchdown. And the Eagles tried him on two 2-point conversion attempts Saturday night against Green Bay – both failed. That running ability could swing the decision in Tebow’s favor, although Tebow’s accuracy has always been a factor.”
Though rumors surrounding the Philadelphia Eagles aren’t clear, it seems that Tim Tebow would have to show quite a bit in the last game to make the roster. Barkley represents a safer choice, and Tebow would have to show Chip Kelly that those intangibles are worth making what would otherwise be the riskier option.
[Image via Getty Images]