Welcome to The Big Question. Every Monday during the offseason, Dave Spadaro, Chris McPherson and Bo Wulf will debate one of the hot topics surrounding the Philadelphia Eagles. We invite fans to continue the discussion in the comments section. Enjoy ...
CM: The NFL Draft is less than two weeks away and the Eagles continue to make moves as they signed quarterback Tim Tebow to a one-year contract on Monday. The Eagles' quarterback position has been in the spotlight this entire offseason with the acquisition of Sam Bradford, the re-signing of Mark Sanchez, the Tebow addition and, of course, the Marcus Mariota rumors. With the draft finally almost here, what do you think of the Eagles' quarterback situation?
DS: Let's just put the rumors of Marcus Mariota to the side, please. PLEASE!!! This is just not going to happen. The Eagles have five quarterbacks on the current roster. There isn't a position more fascinating to watch in the months to come in the NFL. I think I don't know what to think of the quarterback situation until I see Sam Bradford healthy and on the field and until I see how Tim Tebow handles the demands of the offense.
Mark Sanchez is as good a No. 2 quarterback as any team has in the league and he emerges as a key figure here. He turned the ball over too much last season, but Sanchez showed some good things in his first extended action since the 2012 campaign. I think he can function at a high level in this offense.
As for Bradford and Tebow, the upside is there. Chip Kelly and Pat Shurmur have in place a quarterback-effective system. The offensive structure is conducive to success. Rather than make predictions and impose limits on the direction the Eagles have taken at quarterback is simply not fair. Kelly has made some bold moves overhauling the quarterback position, so let's give him a chance to have his plan unfold.
BW: If you'll indulge me, I'd like to harken back to our very first Big Question, all the way back on January 12. The question posed then was about the part of the roster that most needed to be addressed in order for the Eagles to go from "good to great." With sage wisdom of forethought, I contended – much to Dave's chagrin – that the quarterback position was most in need of offseason exploration.
One trade, one re-signing and one signing later and it looks like I wasn't alone. Chip Kelly evaluated what he had at the position and decided that the team needed better quarterback play. I think we all agree that Sam Bradford is expected to be "the guy" heading into 2015, with Sanchez capably filling in as the No. 2. As Kelly has said in the past, and as we've seen over the past few years, you need more than two quarterbacks in the NFL and now the Eagles have three competing for the coveted third spot. Not to mention that Bradford's rehab opens up a spot for practice reps in Kelly's snaps-maximizing practice style.
While Tebow certainly brings more than his fair share of attention, I don't see the downside in taking a closer look at just how much he has improved since his last trip to the NovaCare Complex as a member of the Patriots. Neither Matt Barkley nor G.J. Kinne has proven himself at the NFL level, so I see no reason not to continue creating competition at every level of the roster. To that end, while I agree with Dave that the Mariota fantasy will be put to bed in a week and half, I also wouldn't be shocked to see the Eagles add a developmental quarterback late in the draft or in undrafted free agency. The most important position in sports always demands as many close looks as a team can afford.
DS: Let's give Bo a moment to recover from patting himself on the back so aggressively. And we all hope that Bradford stays healthy and plays at the highest level and that Sanchez and whoever wins the No. 3 quarterback job is ready to play late in blowout victories.
The question here is what we think of the position. And it's clear that there is a lot of change. And that there are quarterbacks here with a fair amount of tough times in the not-too-distant past and that, in a way, Kelly is hopeful that the "Eagles Way" will bring out the best in everyone the team puts on the field. My point is that it is just too unknown right now to make any kind of call. My point is that the only fair thing to do is let it all play out. It may be boring. It may be anti-today to just allow it all to unfold ON THE FIELD.
Kelly has created a unique mix at the position, no question about it. Bradford, Sanchez and Tebow have all attained reasonable levels of success in the NFL -- Bradford has been a Rookie of the Year, Sanchez has played in two AFC Championship Games and Tebow won a playoff game. All three are former first-round picks. All three have different styles of playing the position. Matt Barkley and G.J. Kinne remain part of the picture here as the Eagles push for more competition.
Fun stuff at this late juncture in April. We have a lot to discuss. There is a lot of speculation and debate. But "what I think about" the quarterback position is that nobody is going to have a real sense until late August, until Bradford has played in the preseason games, until Tebow goes through an entire spring and summer for the first time in two years, of what the Eagles have at quarterback.
CM: At the midway point of last season, I argued on an episode of Eagles 360 that Mark Sanchez was the most important free-agent acquisition of the offseason because it gave the team a comfortable insurance policy if anything happened to the starter. And it looks like that could be the case again here. Sanchez was able to operate the Eagles' offense efficiently at times before the team stumbled down the stretch. He is still just 28 years old and played last year after missing all of the previous season with a shoulder injury. I am on the Bradford bandwagon, but if he is not ready to start the season, the Eagles have someone who has shown that he can handle the duties on a short-term basis.
As for Tebow, what is the risk? The so-called media circus? The Eagles are in the spotlight every year. How is this going to be any different?
Lastly, and I'm just asking this for a friend, Mariota is not going to happen, right?
DS: I've staked quite a bit of my reputation on the idea that the Eagles will not go up and get Mariota. As for quarterback ...
It's such a critical juncture for the franchise. There has not been stability at the position since Donovan McNabb was traded and we see how that impacts the team: Zero playoff wins since 2008. The perfect scenario is that Bradford is healthy, stays healthy and thrives in the system and that he and the Eagles work out a long-term deal. Everything is speculative at this point. It is a unique situation.
CM: I think that should make us appreciate what McNabb did during his time here that much more.
And, the Eagles are used to unique QB situations.
BW: Thank you, Chris, for bringing back the catchiest song of the last six years. You truly are doing a phenomenal job.
Is there any move remaining that the Eagles could make at quarterback that would surprise us? We've ruled out Mariota but even that crazy trade-up is considered possible by some. Is there a trade out there for a veteran? Is the Mississippi gunslinger staying limber in case he gets the call? I guess what I'm saying is, I really need to send over that highlight tape of my bubble ball performances to coach Kelly.