Eagles Wake-Up Call: Matt Barkley Faces New Challenges

Matt Barkley conceded that Wednesday’s outing was “a little rough.” There were some obvious growing pains as Chip Kelly had the offense working on the two-minute drill and red-zone situations.

More Barkley passes seem to be hitting the ground now compared to earlier in the camp when the team was still in shorts.

The fourth-round pick is working uphill as he fights for the starting job against Nick Foles and Michael Vick. Even more so perhaps because he is working with less talented skill position players overall.

Barkley was asked: Is it difficult to show your best if you don’t get a chance to run with the top dogs in practice?

“I think at times it is,” Barkley said. “But I’m not looking at numbers. I’m not looking at the results. I’m focusing on accuracy and ball placement on drills, and the overall running of the offense — making sure guys are lined up and that we’re running the right plays. Sometimes matchups aren’t going to be what you want,  as opposed to throwing it to DeSean [Jackson] down the sideline, but I think it makes it more of a challenge for me when I’m out there because the windows are tighter and you have to kind of put the ball more in a precise place with those receivers. So hopefully if I do get the chance to get with the ones and those guys it will be beneficial.”

Will he get that opportunity to run with the first team at some point?

“I haven’t heard anything,” he said before the question was fully out.

“I wake up every day just planning on doing my best wherever they put me. You don’t want to be that kid whining about reps.”

This is all new for Barkley, who started all four years both at the high school and collegiate level. He is used to being with the ones; accustomed to being the man. Now, he faces the possibility of being as low as third on the depth chart.

“I don’t know what it would be like — I couldn’t tell you,” he said.  ”I’ll just have to deal with it if it happens and learn.”

Barkley’s confidence remains intact, and the goal for him is still to capture the Week 1 starting job. That is a bit of a longshot, though the coaching staff remains bullish on the USC grad.

 ”He eats the game up.  He lives it and breathes it.  He’s in here early.  He’s always wanting to watch film, always wanting to get better,” said Kelly.

 ”I think to have a young guy that has that type of experience and also match that with an insatiable taste for the game, I think it’s a great combination.  He’s been outstanding so far.”

WHAT YOU MISSED

Vick says that the team has forgiven Riley Cooper.

Observations from Wednesday’s practice, courtesy of Mr. Kapadia.

Kelly says the team will play by the NFL’s up-tempo rules. 

Jason Peters left practice early with a hamstring strain.

Jason Kelce says that sports science played a big part in his recovery from a serious knee injury.

Kelly, Bill Belichick sketch out a plan for practice.

Cooper is fined for his racist remarks at a Kenny Chesney concert.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Chesney himself reacted to the Cooper video. From ESPN:

“I’m as shocked as anyone to see the video of Riley Cooper that’s started circulating on the internet. I don’t believe in discrimination in any form, and I think using language like that is not only unacceptable, it is hateful beyond words,” Chesney told Granderson.

“I don’t know everything about every player who comes to our shows. We invite the teams in the places where we play, and I’ve found the guys from the NFL are some of the most inspiring people I meet all year. They give back to their communities, work with children, hospitals and various charities, as well as raising awesome families.

“To judge an entire audience by one loud mouth isn’t fair … not to the NFL, not to the city of Philadelphia and that awesome crowd, not to my band and crew and certainly not to me, who believes music is about bringing people together for friendship and forgetting about the things in life that bring you down.

Phil Sheridan believes a harsher punishment from the Eagles is in order.

A suspension would have been more appropriate. Releasing Cooper from the team would have been within reason. The message would be clear, that racism simply is not tolerated by the Eagles or the NFL. Now the message is that racism will cost you a few bucks.

That’s not good enough, and it won’t be good enough for the waves of angry fans and media commentators who are about to crash down on this franchise. It shouldn’t be good enough.

COMING UP

Never a dull moment, right? Practice at 12:30. We’ll have you covered all day.