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August 15, 2015

What they're saying about the Eagles: #Tebowmania is coming

Eagles NFL
081515_Tebow_AP Matt Slocum/AP

Eagles quarterback Tim Tebow.

The Eagles will actually play a football game on Sunday. And, sure, it doesn't count and you'll see a lot of guys you've never heard of before and may never hear from again getting a lot of the playing time.

But for the first time in maybe forever, there may actually be more interest in the battle for the team's third quarterback spot than at any other position, at least among the fans. That's because when all is said and done, that spot will belong to either Tim Tebow or Matt Barkley. And with Sam Bradford out and Mark Sanchez getting the start, we'll be seeing even more of those two players than expected.

If Tebow wins the job -- both Jimmy Kempski and I are of the belief that he will -- then we may want to begin bracing for an outbreak of Tebowmania. He's already been, by far, the most popular player in camp, despite the fact that he is still fighting for a spot on the roster.

Bob Ford of The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote a nice column on just that. His main point: Tebowmania hasn't fully hit Philly yet, perhaps because he's only competing for a backup spot, and not the starting job. And given his popularity in spite of that, a strong performance on Sunday could push Tebowmania from a contained outbreak to a full-fledged epidemic in the city.

Yes, it's only the first preseason game, and, yes, the Colts will have their defensive first-teamers on the field for only a limited amount of time, but still. What if? What if Tebow is good?
During camp, he hasn't thrown the ball as well as Bradford, obviously, but neither has anyone else. Tebow worked on his mechanics and his motion before being signed by the Eagles, and it shows. He has delivered a pretty decent ball during practices, and he brings a physical ability that none of the others have, particularly if you believe Kelly truly wants to see whether read-option can work in the NFL.

And that's why Jimmy and I think he makes it. Even though he hasn't played the last two seasons, he brings something that Barkley doesn't. Tebowmania, however, could arrive long before that decision is made.

More from Ford, via

As for the rest, maybe Tebow still won't be good enough and the tide of mania will subside before it can crest. The lack of arm strength and the history of spotty decision-making might become all too apparent once he trades in a red practice jersey and works against a real opponent.
Still, as the game approaches and the possibility of what might be remains alive, there is that chance, even if just a slim chance, that things are about to change around here.


And here's some video of Tebow talking about his opportunity following Friday's practice:


1. Vinny Curry will play some 3-4 OLB for the Eagles this season - They want the skilled pass rusher to get to the quarterback, not to drop back into coverage. Jimmy Kempski has more from Saturday's practice.

2. 10 things to watch in the preseason opener - Kempski gives you a list of players, roster battles and more to keep an eye on when the Eagles open their preseason schedule on Sunday against the Colts.

3. TE Zach Ertz is out for the entire preseason - After undergoing surgery on Friday to repair a partially torn groin muscle, the third-year tight end will miss the entire preseason, but Chip Kelly said he's optimistic Ertz will be ready for Week 1.

4. Sam Bradford will sit out the Eagles' first preseason game - The Eagles have decided that new QB Sam Bradford -- fresh off two torn ACLs in the same knee -- will not play against the Colts, but should be ready for their second game against the Ravens. Are you worried?

5. Chip Kelly, not injury, is why DeMarco Murray has been limited - The NFL's top rusher from a year ago hasn't practiced much so far, but Kelly says that's been a coach's decision. [UPDATE: Murray was out on the field Saturday participating in individual drills, so he may play Sunday.]

6. Tim Tebow says there may be some nerves when he takes the field - Watch the former Heisman winner, now competing for the Eagles' third QB spot, talk about the pressures of returning to game action after two years off.

7. Kempski's second run at a 53-man roster projection - Although it remains written in the sand, Jimmy has some changes from his first roster projection, especially on the offensive line and in the defensive backfield.

•  •  •  WHAT THEY'RE SAYING  •  •  •

Eagles 'ecstatic' by how Bradford's played

Jeff McLane, Philadelphia Inquirer

This is a very good sign for all those who were worried that there may have been something wrong with Bradford. Obviously, Kelly's decision not to play his new QB on Sunday is a big one, but is there really a need to risk him getting hurt in a game in which he'll only get eight to 10 snaps anyway?

Probably not. 

Taking hits against an actual defense -- the Eagles don't tackle to the ground in practice, and we all know the QBs are untouchable in those red jerseys -- will be the next big step for Bradford, and if the team wants to hold that off for one more week, it shouldn't be a reason to sound the alarms.

Madden NFL 16 releases player ratings

Brandon Lee Gowton, Bleeding Green Nation
The Eagles rank 84 overall, which is behind the Dallas Cowboys who lead the NFC East at 87. The New York Giants come in at 77 while Washington is last at 75.

Brandon also listed individual ratings for each of the Eagles' projected starters and impact players, but here's what the folks at EA Sports had to say about the Eagles:

"Chip Kelly made a number of high-profile offseason moves. Now it’s time to see them in action. QB Sam Bradford (79 OVR) leads the question marks into camp. HB DeMarco Murray (94 OVR) is no question at all, led by a great offensive line including LT Jason Peters (96 OVR), RT Lane Johnson (88 OVR), and C Jason Kelce (87 OVR). HB Ryan Mathews (84 OVR) can spell him when needed.
"The Eagles have a revamped secondary with new arrivals CB Byron Maxwell (84 OVR), CB Walter Thurmond (75 OVR), and rookie CB Eric Lowe [sic] (72 OVR). MLB Kiko Alonso (87 OVR) could have a breakout year after coming over in the LeSean McCoy trade."

And yes, that's supposed to say Eric Rowe, not Eric Lowe.

After practice on Friday, John Gonzalez of CSN Philly was asking some of the players what they thought about their grades -- sorry if I spoiled your surprise, Gonzo -- and the best answer I saw came from Brandon Graham, who already knew his rating was an 86. Graham added that he plans to improve on that number throughout the season. If he comes anywhere close to his goal of two sacks per game, he may be in J.J. Watt territory by the end of the year.

For a look at all the player and team rankings for the entire league, click here.

Eagles release first unofficial depth chart

The Eagles released their first unofficial depth chart ahead of Sunday's preseason opener. Take a look:

Click here to enlarge

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