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Tim Tebow will 'shock' people, Eagles teammate Brandon Graham says

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PHILADELPHIA – Eagles head coach Chip Kelly has declared an open competition at quarterback, which conjures images of Mark Sanchez and Sam Bradford going head to head for the starting job.

But Kelly’s reasoning means more than that.

“If Sam goes out [in the preseason] and throws 14 interceptions and Mark throws 14 touchdowns, I can’t sit there and tell our team that Sam’s going to start and Mark’s not going to start,” Kelly said.

What if Bradford’s knee keeps him from practicing at times, Sanchez throws 14 interceptions and Tim Tebow throws 14 touchdowns? Based on Kelly’s logic, Tebow would have to be the starter.

In reality, it seems more reasonable that Bradford and Sanchez are competing for the No. 1 spot while Tebow and Matt Barkley are competing to be the No. 3 quarterback. A great preseason by Tebow or Barkley could change that, but that’s the way it looks right now.

One Eagle had a different view. Outside linebacker Brandon Graham appeared on Detroit radio station WGPR (107.5 FM). Graham, a Detroit native, said he believes Tebow will play “a lot.”

“Tim Tebow is going to shock a lot of people, because he is going to make the team,” Graham told host Lauren Beasley. “And I think he will play a lot.”

Now it could be that Graham was simply going by speculation that was fairly common when the Eagles signed Tebow. With the NFL considering changes to the point-after touchdown rules (it adopted a rule that would give teams a choice between a 32-yard PAT or going for two from the 2-yard line), the thought was that Kelly saw Tebow as a possible two-point specialist.

That would mean having Tebow active on game days, which is not typical for third-team quarterbacks. Still, Kelly could be willing to try it.

Or it could be that Graham simply based his comment on what he saw of Tebow during OTAs. If Graham thought Tebow appeared capable of making an impact in certain packages and formations, then Tebow certainly would be a candidate to make the team.

Would that be a “shock?” A little bit. Tebow has been out of the NFL for two seasons after failing to make the Patriots two summers ago. Last year, he was a college football analyst for ESPN.

But Tebow has continued to work out and spent time with throwing-mechanics coach Tom House. He had some less impressive days during OTAs, but that’s typical for quarterbacks getting their first work in Kelly’s offense.

Kelly has seemed less than confident in Barkley, a fourth-round pick in 2013 who has been the No. 3 quarterback for two seasons. Last year, when the season finale against the New York Giants had no playoff implications, Kelly could have let Barkley play. He started Sanchez instead.

So it wouldn’t be shocking if Tebow, a former Heisman Trophy winner and first-round draft choice, beat out Barkley for a roster spot. It would be more interesting than shocking if Kelly devised some plays to take advantage of Tebow’s ability to run the ball.