Eagles Wake-Up Call: Matt Barkley Gets His Chance

Matt Barkley 1Chip Kelly suggested at the beginning of training camp that Matt Barkley would have an opportunity to win the starting job. To this point, though, it sure has looked like a two-man race, with all of the first-team reps going to Nick Foles and Michael Vick.

“Camp’s not over,” Kelly said. “You’ll see a lot of him on Friday night [against the Patriots].  Camp is not over.”

The carrot, then, still dangles in front of the rookie signal-caller.

Vick and Foles will alternate series in the first quarter. The plan is to then hand it over to Barkley for the second and third quarters. He’ll have more snaps on tape than any of his competitors by the end of the night.

“I think it will be an exciting time. I think it will be electric there in that stadium,” said Barkley. “It’s an opportunity. And I think it’s how you handle that, what you do with that opportunity — whether you take advantage or you flush it down the drain.”

Do you think you’ll learn a lot about yourself in this first game?

“Hopefully I don’t learn a lot about myself. I know who I am, I know what I am capable of. I don’t think there will be any surprises.”

The Eagles seem generally pleased with Barkley’s performance in camp to date. He appears to have a good grasp of the offense. The 22-year-old hasn’t had many “wow” moments, but that can partly be because he is not throwing to many “wow” receivers. Barkley has acknowledged that working with lesser talent can be a challenge when his competition is blessed with more skilled players.

The USC grad was asked if he feels he is every bit as good as Vick and Foles.

“I feel like I can complete the ball and move the ball and put this team in scoring positions,” he said. “I think you are just waiting for that opportunity.”

He gets one tonight.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Biggest surprises and disappointments of camp? I give my take in the latest Twitter Mailbag.

Sheil examines the state of the Eagles’ offense.

Vick will start Friday, but he’ll be splitting first-team reps.

Three things we’ve learned at camp, from Mr. Kapadia.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Brandon Boykin is hoping to find a permanent home on the outside. From Reuben Frank.

“Outside corner, that’s where the big plays are made,” he said after practice Thursday. “The interceptions, the deep balls, stuff like that. That’s where you want to be.”…

“In college, I never came off the field, and that’s what I kind of what I wanted to carry over into the league, and I think this is a good first step to that.

“A guy like me really always wants to be on the field every play, so if I can prove myself outside maybe I can do both.”

Rob Maaddi says NFL teams are trending towards no tackling at camp, and gets some former Eagles to chime in on Kelly’s decision to limit the hitting. Sounds like Andy Reid is keeping his physical camps alive in Kansas City.

“You have to be a good tackling team,” Reid said. “Normally, good tackling teams end up playing late in the year — or I guess, early in the year.”

That philosophy didn’t work for Reid last year when the Eagles finished 4-12 and had one of the worst tackling defenses in recent history. But Reid’s teams went to the playoffs nine times and he usually had them playing their best football late in the season.

“It’s football, so you’re going to get hit,” Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles said. “I think we need to get hit as early as possible. We don’t need to wait until the last minute to get hit. I think it’s good.”

COMING UP

How about some football? Eagles-Patriots from the Linc at 7:30. We’ll be there.