PHILADELPHIA -- Chip Kelly plans to add a third quarterback, either to his active roster or to the Philadelphia Eagles’ practice squad.
That quarterback could be a veteran or a young prospect. He will not be Tim Tebow.
The Eagles released Tebow Saturday, a day after trading quarterback Matt Barkley to the Arizona Cardinals. The move left the Eagles with only two quarterbacks, Sam Bradford and Mark Sanchez, on their roster.
“I think Tim’s really progressed,” Kelly said. “We just didn’t feel like he was good enough to be the [No. 3] right now.”
After spending two years out of the NFL, working with throwing mechanics expert Tom House, Tebow was attempting to make a comeback with the Eagles.
“He really improved his throwing motion from when he was throwing a couple years ago,” Kelly said. “He worked extremely hard on it and he deserves a lot of credit for that. He just needs to get more playing time. He needs to get out there and get actual reps. I think he’s done a ton on his own from an individual basis, but it’s about playing the game.”
Tebow appeared to help himself with a strong performance in the Eagles’ final preseason game. Playing against the New York Jets, his former employers, Tebow completed 11 of 17 passes for 189 yards and two touchdowns. He threw one interception.
“He played well in that game,” Kelly said, “but it was a compilation of the whole time. It wasn’t just one game. He did play really well against the Jets.”
There was some speculation that Kelly would use Tebow in short-yardage situations and two-point conversions. Tebow attempted two two-point plays during the Eagles’ preseason game in Green Bay. Both were unsuccessful.
With Bradford and Sanchez as the only quarterbacks on the roster, Kelly said, tight end Trey Burton and wide receiver Josh Huff would be the team’s emergency quarterbacks. If Bradford and Sanchez got hurt in a game, one of them could fill in to get through that game.
Kelly has emphasized the need for depth at quarterback. He acquired Bradford in an offseason trade, giving the No. 1 quarterback job to a player who has torn the ACL in his left knee twice in two years. In each of Kelly’s first two seasons, he used two starting quarterbacks. Barkley was the game-day backup for eight games last season.
“There could be a third quarterback,” Kelly said. “We’ll see what happens with the waiver wire. Whether we add a third quarterback to the active roster or to the practice squad, we’ll have a third quarterback in here.”
Kelly said Barkley was the only player the Eagles received a trade offer for. In Arizona, Barkley will back up Cardinals starter Carson Palmer. Like Palmer, Barkley played his college football at Southern California.
“We had an offer for a trade for Matt, and we thought that was the best possible scenario in that situation,” Kelly said. “It’s beneficial to him. He gets a chance to go back to the West Coast. He’s really close to Carson. He was excited when I talked to him last night.”