Eagles Wake-Up Call: Barkley Doesn’t Want Season To ‘Slip Away’

Matt BarkleyThe question posed to Matt Barkley was straightforward: When’s the last time you went into a football season and weren’t the starting quarterback?

Barkley paused for about four seconds, thought about it briefly and then answered.

“I can’t think of a time,” he said.

“It’s different, but I think since the announcement came out about Mike [Vick], I kind of realized that’s what it is, so you take it in stride and you learn to deal with it. It’s not like a ground-breaking deal. It’s not that drastic. You want to see the field, you want to play, but it’s just another opportunity to learn. I’ve said that before. Just try to grow from it.”

A four-year starter in high school and again at USC, Barkley is in unfamiliar territory. He will fade into the background this year as the third-string QB behind Vick and Nick Foles. In all likelihood, the only way he’ll play meaningful snaps as a rookie is if the two guys ahead of him get injured.

Obviously, that’s not an ideal situation. So Barkley’s focus has shifted to making sure his first year is not a waste just because he won’t be playing on Sundays.

“Not letting the season just slip away because I’m not playing, that’s what I don’t want,” he said. “Making sure that I grow and progress to where next offseason I feel like I’m steps ahead of where I was. I definitely don’t want this to be steps back. So just take every day like it’s your job to lose, even if it’s not. That’s how I look at it.”

Added Chip Kelly: “I think [QBs coach] Billy Lazor has done a pretty good job there. His career of developing quarterbacks, and that’s a big thing, what is your gameplan when your guys are not playing? Because that’s the one position where you’re not going to play, barring an injury, you’re not going to play multiple guys.

“We’ve talked about it and what his plan is for Matt and for Nick [Foles] if we kept going and Mike [Vick] stays healthy. You’ve got a couple of guys that you’ve got to really make sure that they are on top of their game. And it’s hard, because they don’t get those reps and it’s not like you can throw them in a scrimmage situation. …You are always planning for your next opponent. There’s a plan in place from how much we are throwing, what days we are throwing on with those guys to continue to develop them.”

One of the main knocks on Barkley coming out of USC was his arm strength. He dealt with a shoulder injury as a senior, but thinks he has improved and can make all the throws.

“I think my arm strength has gotten better since the injury,” Barkley said. “I think it took a lot longer to heal than I thought it would. I feel strong where I am right now. I don’t know if I’ve had a chance to really showcase that, but that’s not up to me. So I’ll do as much as I can to keep getting that arm stronger. I think over time, even over the course of your career, you should still be trying to get that stronger.”

His rookie season in the NFL is probably different than what Barkley was anticipating at this time last year. But he’ll look to progress in the classroom, the weight room and on the practice field before potentially getting a shot down the road.

WHAT YOU MISSED

The Eagles waived Phillip Hunt to get their roster down to 75.

Three leftovers from Kelly, including the Eagles’ head coach confirming that he has final say on the 53-man roster.

T-Mac explores what the Eagles are going to do about injured offensive tackle Dennis Kelly.

Our latest No-22 breakdown looks at how Connor Barwin is finding success in a variety of roles.

Tim checks in on Clay Harbor and life on the bubble.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Mike Jones of the Washington Post has the latest on Robert Griffin III, who will be checked out by Dr. James Andrews on Thursday:

Griffin has taken all of the first-team reps in the past two weeks of practice, and teammates believe that he will open the season as their starter. Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said Griffin “looks 100 percent to me,” and Mike Shanahan said Griffin has made great strides since training camp began.

“I can see a big improvement from the start when he came out here the first day to where he is now,” Mike Shanahan said. “You can see he is in football shape and there hasn’t been a setback so everything has been very positive.”

Richard Rys of The Philly Post likes LeSean McCoy’s fantasy prospects:

Did you see that 21-yard run against the Panthers? The one where he shook a guy so hard that he fell down twice? Then juked a gang of three more defenders? Preseason, playoffs, a dirt field across from your momma’s house — doesn’t matter where it happened. The man has highlight potential every time he touches the ball. McCoy’s days as the most underrated back in the league appear to be over; one Yahoo fantasy expert ranks him number three overall, behind only Adrian Peterson and Arian Foster. He’s the real fantasy prize of this Eagles team. Go all in.

COMING UP

We’ll take a closer look at the roster and examine Kelly’s role in dealing with the defense.

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  • damrvrhunter

    He really miscalculated the timing on when to declare for the draft. He likely felt that he would compare unfavorably against RG3 and Luck so he took his chance on this past draft. But I maintain that he would have been at worst a late first rounder in 2012 putting him in a position to vie for a starting job versus being number 3 in a 2-man race.

    • anon

      Yeah and he would have played like the rest of the USC quarterbacks and perpetuated that stereotype. I think realistically this is best thing for him (maybe being #2 instead of #3 will be better), but tossing qbs in too early does more harm than good.

      • knighn

        I think you may have it here. Even after another year of college experience Matt Barkley is still not good enough to compete with Mike Vick or Nick Foles. Maybe Barkley’s arm was not completely healed or maybe Barkley is just another USC QB that will not excel in the NFL.

        Some people believe that he is the Eagles QB of the future. Maybe he’s the backup QB of the future. I believe, like many others, that the Eagles don’t yet have their QB of the future on their roster. I just hope that Matt Barkley ends up better than “Mike Kafka + Hype”. Otherwise that’s just another wasted draft pick that the Eagles could have used elsewhere.

        • aub32

          Even if Barkley washes out, I like the pick. He was a great value in the 4th round when listening to everything that was being said of him.

          • nicksaenz1

            Exactly. Can’t argue the pick at all.

          • FluxCapacitor

            Agree – if it was a 2nd, then it would have been a wasted pick. In the 4th it is a great flyer.

        • Andy124

          Think of that pick like a poker hand. You have to put in 5 dollars to call. You figure you have a 25% chance to win the hand, and you bring in $100 if you win.

          Your expected value is 100*.25 – 5*.75 = $21.75. Therefore, you should put in the $5. Even if you lose the hand, it doesn’t mean it was a wasted bet. It was a good gamble that just didn’t pay off.

          Same goes for the Barkley pick. Just because it doesn’t pay off doesn’t mean it wasn’t a smart gamble. Not to mention, whoever we picked instead would have been no guaruntee to be a contributor.

          • knighn

            Sorry, don’t have all of the odds on this for you and don’t have the time to look right now. I believe that you would find that there is a higher success rate (starter / pro-bowler / all-pro) for basically any other position in round 4 other than a QB. Additionally, you are likely to get some immediate value out of another position, either in special teams or in some kind of rotation (or both). Once again: no guarantees at another position, but that is also playing the odds.

            I also still question the choice of the QB pick. Chip Kelly may not want to admit it, including to himself, but I strongly believe that he prefers excellent QBs that show some mobility… over excellent QBs that are a minimal threat to run. I suppose we’ll see going forward (2013/2014/2015).

            I agree that there is a strong perception that Matt Barkley was a great value in the 4th round. After all Barkley “would have been a first round pick in the 2012 draft”. For me: that great value will NOT be a reality unless Barkely, at least, is a viable backup going forward.

            Of course, if Barkley ends up as a viable starting QB for the Eagles, it would be more like winning the lotto, and who doesn’t like winning the lotto?

      • Nick

        Or he wanted a college degree? Lets give him the benefit of the doubt here.

        • Nick

          Meant as a reply to damrv* oops

  • Jay

    Richard Rhys should ask himself the first question he posed? Cos the answer will be NO. McCoy didn’t have a 21 yd TD run against anyone this preseason. The 21 yd run against the Panthers was terrific and I watched it on repeat but he didn’t find the end zone on that run. What’s up with this half-a$sed journalism? Get your facts straight man.
    With that said, I agree with most everything else he wrote.

    • ohitsdom

      Crap, didn’t see this comment before I commented. My thoughts exactly, I think Philly watched that replay enough to remember he didn’t score.

    • aub32

      I hate this lazy behind eriting, because you can’t call it journalism, that many of these people get away with. How hard is it to proof read and fact check before hitting post. Then on top of being as wrong as wrong can be, he is discussing a stupid point anyway. No one sees LeSean McCoy as a sleeper. The guy lead the league with 20 TDs (non QB) in 2011. Many people were drafting him as one of the top 3 RBs last year, top 2 with all the questions about Peterson.

    • Richard Rys

      Mistakes happen–I made one there. Happy to admit it, and better yet, correct it. Shady didn’t score on that obscene run. Let’s also talk about the topic so many commenters enjoy debating, which is the journalistic value of a blog. Some blogs are, indeed, journalism. Most if not all of what Sheil and Tim do here is exactly that. Speaking for myself, I’m a writer, first and foremost. Most of what I write is journalism. The excerpt Sheil kindly quoted was a blog for The Philly Post about fantasy football. It’s all opinion, intended to be fun, and not journalism by any means.

      Perhaps you think I’m a crap writer. Fair enough; it’s a matter of opinion. I made an error, which I take the blame for, and I appreciate when blunders are pointed out so we can set the record straight. Thoughtful critiques are also welcome. But when anonymous commenters sling mud about “half-assed journalism,”—especially regarding something that’s not, in fact, journalism at all—maybe it’s time to ease off the gas a bit. I care about accuracy very much, as 99.9 percent of the journalists I know do. Mistakes sting. Just wondering how many message board watchdogs care as much about journalism as they do gloating over other people’s errors, or using them as evidence that the Fourth Estate is now run by shiftless bloggers writing in their underwear from their mother’s basement. Some of this I blame on sad, miserable folks who use these comments to feel better about themselves. But mostly because there is a lot of garbage on the internet. Birds 24/7 and The Philly Post are not in that company.

      In the pursuit of factual accuracy, my last name is spelled Rys. No “h.” I never called McCoy a sleeper. And I’m not familiar with the words “eriting” or “agian.”

  • Johnny Domino

    Matt should use those scout team reps (unless Dixon gets a PS spot to play RG3) to build up the shoulder and bide his time. All it takes anymore is one “Matt Flynn” game you can parlay into a trade and a starting gig elsewhere, regardless of actual talent.

  • ohitsdom

    Nitpick for Mr. Rys: McCoy’s 21 yard run was incredible, but he didn’t score on the play. It was Foles’ amazing juking ability on a 7 yard run that scored.

  • aub32

    I wonder if I could get a job at the Philly post. I could use some extra income where all I have to do is roll out of bed and type whatever nonsense I can make up without having to worry about being accurate.

  • bushisamoron

    Barkley is in a great spot. Learn an NFL offense, get stronger and get paid. Vick almost certainly will not be back next year and then compete for the starting job.

  • theycallmerob

    Sheil, loving the headline. Great excuse to listen to Clarence.
    m.youtube.com/watch?v=gYJWE3HGPss&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DgYJWE3HGPss

  • Jason

    On the what they are saying- Did anyone see Bill Barnwell’s piece on Grantland about the 2011 draft? He was talking about the possibility of it being the best Defensive class since 1981. Who’d we take again? Oh yeah, a 45 year old O-Lineman

    • Gary

      A right guard who isn’t even good, to be specific.

  • aub32

    Fine by me. I’ll keep my day job. The standards are higher and the pay is pretty good. Agian, I mean no disrespect to the better journalists that actually provide factual content that I can’t get from an infinite (not hyperbole) amount of sources on the internet.

  • BlindChow

    He might be rusty, with the coaches reluctant to have him hit, so it may not be a complete disadvantage.