Eagles Wake-Up Call: On Matt Barkley’s Future
Today’s question comes from Mike in the Northeast:
What have you heard about Matt Barkley?
What does he not do well that makes him a complete afterthought and constant cut rumor?
The only time Chip has said anything publicly, he gave him the highest praise after his rookie season, saying he did everything they asked him to do. Have you seen or heard anything concrete?
I would think with his pedigree and former top-10 pick status before his senior year injury that he would at the least be a viable candidate to compete vs. Sanchez for the #2 job.
This is one of those “actions speak louder than words” situations, Mike.
Chip Kelly was last asked about Matt Barkley in December.
“I think he’s improved from when he’s gotten here,” Kelly said. “He’s in his second year. I don’t think he was 100 percent healthy last year. I think he’ll be the first to tell you that. I think he’s really done a good job of grasping things and improved as a player. I think he’s got a future here.”
Going into Year 3, you’d think Kelly and the coaches would have a good idea about what they have in Barkley. If they had faith in him after his rookie season, they wouldn’t have gone out and signed Mark Sanchez. If they thought Barkley really developed last year, same thing: they probably wouldn’t have been so aggressive in bringing Sanchez back.
But the truth is that going into 2015, the best-case scenario for Barkley is that he’ll win the No. 3 quarterback job behind Sam Bradford and Sanchez. It’s possible that Tim Tebow beats Barkley out for that spot and Barkley doesn’t make the roster.
As for what hasn’t clicked, it’s tough to pinpoint one thing specifically. Barkley was obviously put in a tough spot when he saw game action as a rookie, but he threw four interceptions in 49 attempts. The coaches have praised his work ethic and smarts, but Barkley hasn’t really flashed at practice. It could just be that the physical skill set hasn’t translated to the NFL level.
People often refer to the idea that Barkley would have been a top-10 pick had he come out after his junior year, but that’s misleading. Quarterbacks are picked apart from January to April in the lead-up to the draft. Just because a few analysts had Barkley rated highly during his junior season doesn’t mean he would have definitely been taken early had he come out in 2012.
The trade rumors have never made much sense. Why would a team give something up for Barkley when he might not even make the roster here?
When the Eagles drafted Barkley, some wondered whether he might project as Kelly’s eventual starter. But the truth is that finding a backup in the fourth round is considered a win.
At this point, it seems unlikely that Barkley develops into that role in Philadelphia. Instead, he’ll be battling for a roster spot in August.
WHAT YOU MISSED
T-Mac rounds up national media coverage, which includes more love for Nelson Agholor and a look at the Eagles’ safeties.
Is a reduced role coming for Riley Cooper? McManus offers his thoughts.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Projected lineup: Jason Peters, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Allen Barbre, Lane Johnson, Matthew Tobin, Andrew Gardner, Julian Vandervelde, Dennis Kelly
It’s hard to put any of the undrafted linemen in this group until training camp and the preseason, when there’s a better chance for evaluation. But all of them have a chance – it’s not as if the Eagles’ reserves are locked into spots. I went with Vandervelde over Molk because of the position versatility, which is valuable on game day. Tobin and Gardner both have guard/tackle versatility and will be top reserves. Kelly makes the team for the fourth season because he’s insurance at guard if Barbre struggles. I wouldn’t rule out an addition to the offensive line at some point before the season.
Friend of the blog Derek Sarley with a note on Jordan Matthews:
23.9% of Jordan Matthews’ receptions went for 20+ yards last year, 11th highest rate among WRs with 50+ catches (n=55).
— Derek / IgglesBlog (@igglesblog) May 21, 2015
McManus has been working on a long-form piece on the art of Tebowing. I really think you’re all going to enjoy it.