We’re heading into week three of pre-season and a lot has changed between now and six months ago. With rumours constantly circulating surrounding Tim Tebow and Matt Barkley, we decided to evaluate the ongoing battle over QB3 to try and see who’s the most likely to win the war.
Each Quarterback has their strengths and flaws and the one who doesn’t make the cut is just as likely to be traded as he is to stay in the practice squad. But before we analyse performances, let’s look at the numbers after two weeks of pre-season.
Completions Yds TD’s INT’s
Matt Barkley 18/34 278 0 1
Tim Tebow 8/17 82 1 0
On paper, Barkley has looked better but neither Quarterback has really set the field on fire. Tebow hasn’t played overly well but is evidently adored by fans whilst Barkley had a bit of a rollercoaster game against Baltimore. But when watching the games, this is where things get interesting. Barkley has always had overthrowing tendencies but they seem to have been minimised this pre-season. He looks far more comfortable in the pocket than Tebow does, but the former Gator has the ability to extend plays with his legs, ending last game with the third most rushing yards on the roster.
Perhaps the most telling point is that Chip Kelly was reported as saying he is “increasingly excited” about keeping Tebow and that he should indeed make the final cut so long as he doesn’t make any major errors in pre season.
— NFL (@NFL) August 23, 2015
Just when you think that Tebow has the edge he completely ignores or is oblivious to an open receiver in the end zone and decides to try and run it in for a score. If that’s Matt Barkley in there…it’s a touchdown. It’s that kind of inconsistency from Tebow that is giving Matt Barkley a lifeline. Tebow ‘s accuracy has improved that much is clear. But whilst flashing improvement against the Ravens, the 28 year old showed the lack of pocket composure that has shadowed his career since his debut in 2010. Whether a blessing or a curse, one of Tebow’s biggest “problems” is how often the throws the ball out of bounds. He tends to panic and as opposed to searching for a pass, will throw it out of play to be safe. Which is fine..nobody wants to have an Eli number of interceptions, but when you’re on first down..and then third down to plays later where the ball is being forced out of bounds then it starts to become an issue. Tebow holds on to the ball for too long and when the pressure ensues he either attempts to escape pressure with his athletic ability..or he throws it away. If he could just release the ball quicker and be a more relaxed decision maker then the battle would be over by now.
Whilst Barkley is yet to lead his Offense to a touchdown scoring drive, he is evidently the more complete passer. He has three years experience with this team now and whilst unreliable, it’s a third Quarterback position..he’s not competing for a starting role and it will be rare for him to be called upon in game situations.
Neither Quarterback is leading the battle and the spot is still wide open. It will probably come down to who offers the more versatile skill-set in this Up-Tempo Offense as opposed to who’s the more complete package. With Kelly saying he’s leaning towards Tebow..Barkley’s days could well be numbered. We have already said numerous times about how important this season is for him..it’s now or never for the USC product to save his job.