Eagles Wake-Up Call: Barkley Showing Some Early Command
The quarterbacks were at the far end of the field, going through mobility drills while the special teams units got some work in on the main stretch of grass. The song booming from the giant speakers at this moment was “Electric Feel (Justice Remix)” by MGMT, a techno-ey dance joint. And there was Matt Barkley, bobbing along to the beat in between reps.
“You have to have a groove out there,” Barkley said with a smile.
Given that it’s just the second week, the rookie seems to be pretty loose and comfortable in his surroundings.
The USC product has consistently been the third quarterback in behind Nick Foles and Michael Vick. His supporting cast is always changing and he is still learning the system and its verbiage on the fly, but is nonetheless charged with executing the up-tempo offense and making sure everything is running smoothly. That means ensuring that everyone is on the same page.
On Monday, Barkley demonstrated that he has pretty decent command.
“You have to at this point,” he said. “You can’t make any excuses as to why you don’t command. You can’t use the excuse that you just got here, that you’re just learning a new offense. Everyone is learning a new offense so you just have to suck it up, stick your head in the playbook and kind of think about delayed gratification.”
On several occasions he was paired in the backfield with newcomer Felix Jones, who understandably is a little behind on the learning curve. There were a couple times when he lined up on the wrong side of the quarterback, and each time Barkley recognized it and made the correction. Similarly, if a receiver who was supposed to go in motion failed to do so, he would pick up on it and instruct his teammate to get moving.
“As a quarterback you have the responsibility to have complete knowledge of the offense, so sometimes you have to do things like that,” said Barkley, who was pretty crisp throwing the ball as well. “For the most part, though, these guys are so much better than the college kids. They know where to be, they know their routes, they know their protections.”
Michael Vick estimates that about a third of Kelly’s offense has been installed thus far. Practice seemed a little sluggish Monday compared to the week prior, perhaps because the players are carrying around a little more of the playbook with them in Week 2 of OTAs. Barkley, though, didn’t appear too weighed down.
“Feel good,” he said. “A little more on your plate mentally, but I love it.”
WHAT YOU MISSED
Sheil gives a detailed account of Monday’s practice.
Nick Foles got the majority of the reps with the first team.
LeSean McCoy was unable to finish because of apparent knee discomfort.
The Eagles have added another tight end to the mix.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Lane Johnson is still working with the second team, but doesn’t seem concerned. From Zach Berman:
“I think right now it’s really early,” Johnson said. “Training camp doesn’t start until August. So you’re trying to get as many reps as you can, learn the system, and that’s where I’m at right now.”
Clark Judge says Vick has plenty to prove this season.
Michael Vick last week fired back at his critics, saying they’re “ignorant” and “know nothing about football,” and good for him. The guy’s entitled to his opinion, and he voiced it.
But we’re entitled to opinions, too, and Vick’s comments underscore the obvious: Now, more than ever, he has something to prove — namely, that he’s more, much more, than his detractors say he is.
And finally, if you haven’t seen Jimmy Kempski’s video, titled: “A day in the life of an Eagles blogger, set to Chip Kelly‘s practice soundtrack,” you must. (NSFW.)
More from the current round of OTAs.