Chip: Matt Barkley Will Start Against Jets

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Matt Barkley will get the start Thursday against the Jets, Chip Kelly confirmed. He’ll be first up as he and Tim Tebow square off one last time for the rights to the third quarterback job.

“Our opinions aren’t formed,” said Kelly, when asked how much weight this game carries in the evaluation of the two quarterbacks. “It’s one more time for a game opportunity. Especially with the quarterback position, practice is different just because they’re wearing red jerseys and they’re not hit. I think when you get them out there in a game it’s another opportunity to get a legitimate evaluation of them. There is a lot of weight in it.”

The head coach says it’s not about who starts and who finishes during the preseason, though it’s at least worth noting that Barkley has been the first one in over Tebow in each of the exhibition games. Whether that is telling or not will be determined when the roster is trimmed to 53 on Saturday.

“I think Matt can make all the throws in this offense. It’s about getting acclimated, decision-making, and he’s done a really nice job of it,” said Kelly. “I think he’s better now than when we first got him and he’s shown improvement every year. I think he’s really well-versed in what we do. He’s got a big night again on Thursday night but I know he’s excited about playing in it.”

— Kelly was asked if Kiko Alonso‘s tendonitis is in the same knee that was surgically repaired following an ACL tear.

“You know what, I don’t even know,” he said. “I know he’s got tendonitis. Not very pressing. Didn’t have any issues yesterday. He’ll go out today and tomorrow and we’ll see where he is.”

Riley Cooper did not practice yesterday. Kelly did not disclose the reason but said he would be back today. Asked about Cody Parkey, who is dealing with a groin injury, Kelly only offered, “Cody’s doing well.”

—  Marcus Smith remains sidelined with a hamstring injury. Kelly was asked how difficult it is to evaluate the outside linebacker given the amount of time he has missed this offseason.

“You just gotta evaluate ’em on what’s available. He did play in the first preseason game and then obviously got hurt while we were training with the Ravens. We have that, we have last spring to work off with Marcus and obviously the practices and training sessions we had before he got hurt. So that’s what we have to go off with him.”