Barkley-Mania

Posted: May 11th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 39 Comments »

You have rookie camp where the media can’t watch the practices and the 1st round pick is a RT, the 2nd rounder a TE, and the 3rd rounder a DE/DT tweener. So guess who gets all the attention? That’s right…the 4th round QB, Mr. Matt Barkley.

The good news is that Barkley is ready for this. He was the starting QB at Mater Dei for 4 years. That’s a huge deal in the high school football world. He then went to USC and became the first true Freshman to start his first game. Barkley started all 4 years in one of the most high profile jobs in the college football world. He might look like a young man, but he’s not. That is a veteran QB who knows how to handle the media. Seemingly, even the Philly media.

He was asked a variety of questions. Barkley handled them all well. One writer was trying to get Barkley to talk about the QB’s responsibilities in the Chip Kelly offense, hoping Barkley might share some secrets. Barkley told the guy he couldn’t get into specifics and gave a generic answer. Another writer asked if the offense looked the same as the one he saw Kelly run at Oregon, again looking for some inside info. Barkley deflected that and said the offense was a bit of this and a bit of that.

The average person might not see this as a big deal, but I think there is something to it. One of the big transitions most players go through when they come to the NFL is dealing with a bigger and more aggressive media. You are no longer a college kid who the media should give a break to. You are now a spoiled pro athlete that is fair game for intense scrutiny. Ryan Leaf was very popular at Washington State. He carried that team on his back to the Rose Bowl. He was a great college player and had some personality. He was a hero in college. Leaf got to the NFL and suddenly couldn’t win. The questions went from positive to negative and he couldn’t handle it. And that was just San Diego, not Philly, New York, or Boston.

What I saw and heard from Barkley on Friday was a player who is ready for the big time from a mental and emotional standpoint. Check out a few more quotes.

In regard to Michael Vick and Nick Foles:

“You come in as a teammate to them, not as a fan,” Barkley said. “You come in as someone who is ready to compete against them, at the same time . . . It’s going to be good competition for all of us, competing against each other, just making each other better.”

Asked about sliding in the draft:

“The fact is that I’m here, and I have a shot to play on the field this year.”

Here is the whole video.

You can tell that Barkley has a chip on his shoulder, but it seems to be in a good way. He’s not bitter and angry. He’s driven. Only time will really tell, but he came across as a player who is genuinely happy to be playing for the Eagles and Chip Kelly. He seems to get that going a couple of rounds later than expected is only a big deal if he lets it be a big deal. Barkley’s career won’t be defined by when he was picked, but rather by how he plays.

Let’s talk about his slide for a minute. I’ve been thinking about this more and more. The perception feels like “Barkley was there…he was too good to pass up…take him”. That’s not the deal at all.

Howie Roseman explained after the draft that the Eagles did try to trade up into the late 3rd round to get Barkley. The Eagles had him rated as a Top 50 player. He was probably in the 41-50 range or else they would have said “we had him rated as a Top 40 player”. The Eagles felt like he would probably go in the early to mid-2nd round. They had a chance to take him at pick 67, but instead went with DL Bennie Logan. That means the Eagles clearly had a higher grade on Logan. If the grades were close, you always take the QB. I would guess Logan was rated maybe 10 spots higher. That’s kinda interesting in and of itself.

I’m sure passing on Barkley at 67 wasn’t easy, but the Eagles stayed true to the board. They saw Barkley continue to sit there for the taking. I’m sure Roseman would have loved to deal into the middle 3rd to get him, but that would have eaten up serious resources. There were too many holes to fill to make a deal like that. Once it got to be late in the 3rd round, the Eagles saw that they could afford to move up and Howie started really working the phones. The problem is that those teams all had players they wanted and weren’t moving back.

Friday’s action came to a close. Howie started talking to teams about moving up on Saturday morning. He made plans with Jacksonville and had a backup plan with KC. Howie knew he had to get in front of the Raiders if he really wanted Barkley, which he did. The Eagles traded with the Jags and Barkley became an Eagle.

Another key part of this is that the Eagles had checked Barkley out extensively. Kelly saw him up close for 4 years. Roseman scouted him in person on annual trips to USC. He was high on Barkley last year, had Matt come out. The Eagles met with Barkley at the Combine and said he had a great interview. Then they sent QB coach Bill Lazor to USC to work him out.

This doesn’t mean Barkley is a Top 10 player the Eagles got and he’s a sure-fire star. I do think it is important to note the Eagles level of interest in Matt prior to the draft. Too often when we talk about a value pick it feels like the equivalent of going to the grocery store to buy a 12-pack of PBR and seeing a pack of pork chops that are on sale cheap. You had no intention of getting them, but it was just too good a deal not to take. This is more like going to the store and wanting the chops, but thinking you simply couldn’t afford them. You then go see that a pack of chops is still there and the price fits your budget. Now you’ve got PBR and pork chops (we call that Christmas in my family).

None of this erases the fact that Barkley did fall in the draft and that not all NFL teams are sold on him. Barkley could prove to be the Eagles starting QB or he could just be a career backup. This is all up to him.

* * * * *

Tim McManus wrote a piece on Barkley after speaking with Trent Dilfer.  This goes back a few days, but is absolutely worth checking out.

Dilfer is very high on Barkley. Dilfer was also very high on Foles last year. He actually thought Nick should have been a 1st round pick. I didn’t see that out of Foles, but he did play better than I expected last year.

Dilfer said some interesting things about Barkley. One stood out.

“There is not a lot of difference between Matt Barkley and Eli Manning in their senior film,” said Dilfer. “In fact, I would argue that Matt’s college film is slightly better than Eli’s film.”

Uh….no way. Not even close. I had Eli Manning rated as the #1 player in 2004. I had Barkley rated as a 3rd round player this year. Eli looked like a franchise QB. There were no major holes in his game. Trent is certainly a smart guy and welcome to his opinion, but that’s a really crazy statement to me.

I hope Dilfer is right with the comparison, in terms of how the NFL careers worked out.

* * * * *

Cecil Lammey of FootballGuys.com has up a piece on Barkley and the Kelly offense. I think you’ll like his conclusion.

“All of these traits – deep accuracy, mobility, intelligence, and quick decisions-  are PERFECT for this system.”

* * * * *

PE.com has a piece on Gocong with a couple of quotes.  I’d love to see him on the move so we could get a feel for what kind of shape he’s in. The good news is that his Achilles injury was last summer. He’s had plenty of time to rehab it and get ready for 2013.

* * * * *

Jimmy Bama and I did a new show. We talked about Matt Barkley, Chris Gocong, SAM, Felix Jones, and some other things. Part of the show was about Jimmy’s bizarre feet. My apologies for that.

_


  • Baloophi

    I just wanted to address something you wrote in the last post (which I foolishly replied to minutes before this post):

    “You can’t really see much, beyond Bennie Logan dominating a trash can.”

    Tommy, you’ve cautioned that rookie camp shouldn’t be about
    evaluation, which is why I don’t think we should make a big deal about Bennie Logan dominating a trash can: it’s Trash Can’s first day in the NFL!

    I, for one, am excited about Trash Can. At 33″ tall and 55 gallons
    in volume, he’s got prototypical size and rare lack of movement. As you can see in the video, you’re not going to move him off his spot. Also, I think we can already see how he earned the nickname “Brute” – he plays a little dirty.

    Does he come without question marks? Of course not. He had a few issues in college: getting caught holding up a pong table after curfew, and getting suspended for filling himself with ice to house a keg. But, to his credit, after his Sophomore year he really screwed his lid on tight.

    At the combine his diameter measured 26 1/2″… and you simply can’t coach that kind of size! Sure, the rest of his combine numbers aren’t spectacular (vertical and broad jumps of 0′ 0″, and a glacial 19 seconds in the 3 cone). He also chose not to lift, but now that he has access to an NFL weight room and cafeteria, you have to think he’ll be able to at least improve his strength.

    (Combine performance available here)

    http://www.rubbermaidcommercialproducts.com/c34/c42/c241/2655-BRUTE-Container-without-Lid-3-Pack-p489.html

    Yes, Trash Can is raw, but the Eagles were fortunate to get him as an UDFA. Gil Brandt says he heard the Cowboys were trying to trade to the top of round 2 to take him.

    While there’s no guarantee that he’ll earn a roster spot, at least he has the right attitude. When Les Bowen asked how he’s adjusted to Chip Kelly’s fast-paced practice he said, “I’m expecting to get vomited in quite a bit.” Sounds like an Eagle to me.

    I await ACViking’s historical take on when the Eagles once traded a first rounder for a 31 gallon steel trash can…

    • ShadyCrockett

      I can only imagine the joyful scream that left your mouth when you found that picture. Really brings it the post together, bravo on the write-up.

    • A_T_G

      I like your enthusiasm and effort in evaluating the potential, but I’m not sure Brute has the reliability that I value; he gets taken out every week.

    • Arby1

      I really appreciate Can’s willingness to do the dirty work. Also, playing in space, you can see a clear ability to work through the trash. My major question is whether he can get his handle on Kelly’s scheme.

    • A_T_G

      Brute’s the camp highlight.
      Baloo’s bare necessities.
      And the ‘Boys are trash.

    • Rob Cabacungan

      Bravo! This is an instant classic. Really nicely done!

    • TommyLawlor

      Baloophi…take a bow. This is your version of PHI 44, DAL 6. A true masterpiece. Kudos, my friend.

  • ACViking

    Re: The Baloophi 1st Rd Trash Can Challenge

    Baloophi — in masterful, 1940′s Hollywood imagery — asked my “historical take on when the Eagles once traded a first rounder for a 31 gallon steel trash can.” [I'm reposting my response, as Baloophi has recommented in this post.]

    My first reaction was that Baloophi posed a scenario that only Von Helsing could answer. That would be the Van Helsing from the original Dracula (1931), staring Bella Lugosi as the vampire and Edward Van Sloan as Van Helsing.

    (He’s Van Helsing’s equal because, as Dracula observed to VH in a remark equally applicable here, “you are very wise [Baloophi].”

    So I think Baloophi’s asked a good question.
    ___________________

    First, the trash — if fully hydrated — weighs about 460 lbs. So we’d be dealing with a Sherman Plunkett-type offensive lineman.

    Fortunately, we know that Chipper Kelly runs a high-octane offense. So the trash can’ll need to be in much better shape than Plunkett.

    Let’s say we cut 30% of the can’s weight — reduce the excess water. That get’s us down to 320 lbs. Now we have an anchor on the O-line.

    The problem, as I see it, is the trash can’s lack of mobility and lack of heart. (The Tin Man only needed a heart to be great in Oz.)
    _________________

    QUESTION: When have the Eagles traded a 1st Rd’r for what might as well have been a over-weight trash can lacking mobility as well as heart.

    Sadly, the Eagles didn’t trade just one 1st-Rd’r. They traded two 1st-Rd’rs for a heartless, immobile 320 lb lineman.

    1991 NFL Draft . . . Eagles trade two 1sts to the Packers for ANTONE DAVIS.

    Big. Immobile. No heart.

    There it is.

    • Flyin

      For some reason, I thought you would have brought up the 1943 Steagles and how the Eagles aquired steel making secrets.

      • Flyin

        And how the Eagles focused on cans and the
        Steelers focused on curtains.

    • Telmert

      T.C. also has a significant advantage over the other players in camp. He not only get’s his own personal smoothie, he gets Jamar Cheney’s because it turns out Jamar is not very fond of banana+mango. Not to mention all of the relish that Coach Azzinaro tosses his way.

    • Anders

      This is way this is the best blog ever.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jamie.parker.1044 Jamie Parker

      I was thinking the exact same thing!

    • Baloophi

      This. Is. Fantastic.

      Kudos, AC.

  • T_S_O_P

    Another writer asked if the offense looked the same as the one he saw Kelly run at Oregon, again looking for some inside info. Barkley deflected that and said the offense was a bit of this and a bit of that.
    It wasn’t that he deflected it, it was that he dissected the content from the process and answered the latter and not before telling the reporter what he meant by his question.

  • Flyin

    When I watched the Barkley vid yesterday, he did remind me of Eli for some reason.

    • T_S_O_P

      Well it wasn’t because he was wearing a dumb grin.

  • RC5000

    I agree that Eli was a little better in college so it’s probably an overstatement on the comparison but it’s not that crazy of a comparison. I also think Eli gets credit so you can’t ever “win” an argument of a SB winning QB vs a rookie.
    Eli maybe doesn’t have a “major hole” in his game but he can be really inconsistent from year to year (even in college). He can throw the ball far but many of his deep passes are prayers.
    I don’t think you can take it away from him totally or anything but it’s always interesting to hear how some QBs like Foles and Brees and Brady even and Barkley put a lot of air under their deep balls but a QB like Eli does it and he gets credit because his receivers come down with balls that aren’t easy to get.
    It is a whole other discussion and really I shouldn’t bring it up because I have had my fill of Eli Manning discussions but how does Eli specifically compare to his bro, Brady assuming Eli has more years left than them? You even tend to put Terry Bradshaw in a different category than the Montanas, Bradys, P Mannings.
    You have QBs like Eli and Big Ben, than maybe Flacco (if he can win another one at least).
    I also think you can’t really compare more modern era QBs to previous era QBs, everything from the game to the rules to the number of teams was so different.
    Anyway how do you decide how to rank QBs?

    • shah8

      Successful weak to average armed QBs throw their deep balls on time, so that the WR isn’t waiting to catch it, despite the low velocity. That’s cataloged under–moxy

      Weak to average armed QBs cannot make those deep sideline throws like the one Eli sent Manningham a couple of times in high value situations. They have a tendency to either be underthrown or thrown out-of-bounds.

      There basically isn’t a way to rank QBs in any meaningful way. Every QB is operating under different circumstances, and guys like Warner or Brees illustrate how much a scene can benefit or slow them down. QB stats are inextricable from overall offensive efficiency. Pretty much all that matters is if a QB is a threat to make all of the standard throws, and can make a play from time to time. Football is so noisy that good QBs can have one bad day and be out of the running, and bad QBs benefit from great WR play and lucky bounces of the ball.

      In the genuine sense, a QB is functionally better than other QBs in terms of how lucky he can be. A strong armed QB can have lucky throws against a good defense. A QB with small hands is going to have a bigger chance to be unlucky about how someone hits his hand or arm. Trent Dilfer can moan all he likes, but the measurables are important. Being a student of the game and “reading” defenses are not advantages for QBs lacking in measurables. They don’t balance, guys. You have to have the arm, first. The moxy, second. Remember, Vince Young has a winning record, and okay production even though he’s basically an idiot. When you’ve got the arm, and you can make plays on the field, THEN being a good student of the game and consistently making good reads will get you ahead–particularly in the playoffs. Nobody’s asking for Jamarcus Russell, coaches are asking for the guy that can threaten the whole field, i.e., make all the throws. That’s why EJ Manuel, a dude that’s somewhat lacking in moxy, was picked over the weaker armed (and longer release) Geno Smith.

      That’s why Chip Kelly will be looking at with Matt Barkley. Maybe Barkley had more arm than we all thought he did? Maybe Barkley can consistently get the ball downfield on time?

    • GEAgle

      I have been saying this for years…ELi is NOT a great QB, he is like a football, idiot Savant, think the Rain Man on the NFL…..
      ..The lovechild of “Corky” and “Mr. Ed”

      • Mac

        I like to think of him as inspector gadget. Doing stupid or accidential things that end up working out. I will say this though he has proven himself to be tough.

        • GEagle

          Hahahahaha I like that

        • A_T_G

          Go go gadget Velcro Helmet.

      • holeplug

        His first 4 years he was not very good but since then he has been. Winning the SB in 2007 seems like it flipped a switch for him somehow. Be interesting to see if the same thing happens to Flacco.

    • Warhound

      Yards per pass attempted?
      Compare them to the other players in their time period?
      It’s not easy.
      I don’t like counting championships; but, if you go that route, Otto Graham, who won seven of 10 championship games, is by far the #1 QB in history (which existed before the NFL named their chmpnshp game the Super Bowl). Oh, every season that Otto played his team went to the final.

  • HazletonEagle

    I wasnt on the Barkley bandwagon if there even was one. In fact, I wasnt on the QB bandwagon at all. I wanted to use the pick on something else and look for our QB in next years draft. If they did pick a QB, I wanted it to be no earlier than the 4th round. Turns out, they got their guy, and they took him in a round that was acceptable to me.
    I have to say, hes quickly building up my expectations and making be a believer. I cant wait to actually see him get some reps.
    But he just has some aura about him. The media is attracted to him, and he handles it not just well, but confidently. And confidently, without coming off as cocky or with a sense of entitlement.
    I really like the guys attitude. He seems like a natural leader. Mentally, he seems capable of being a franchise QB. Hes got talent, and hes a franchise QB from the neck up. Hopefully it all translates onto the field in the NFL.

    • GEAgle

      Yeah, Im with you..I would have been pissed to draft a QB earlier than the 4th….to get Barkley in the 4th…very impressive draft…If Barkley is a solid career backup, it makes him a good pick, having gone in the 4th…and he certainly has a chance to be more

  • Baloophi

    I’ll say this about Matt Barkley: he’s handled the media pressure much better than G.J. Kinne.

    • GEAgle

      I disagree lol

  • SteveH

    PBR basted pork chops? Sign me up for dinner at the Lawlor house.

    • GEAgle

      RIGHT!!!!!

  • xlGmanlx

    Jints signed Curry. I was wondering if there was any interest of if he was an upgrade to anyone on the roster here. Any thoughts? Did the igg’s pass on this guy?

    • GEAgle

      Was he just a bust on the field? or is he a negative presence in a locker room also?

  • BrettConnolly

    Matt Barkley throws a really great “jump ball,” those lofty but precise back of the end zone tosses that some quarterbacks seem to have a special knack for. And that bodes well for Ifeanyi Momah. Really well. I could see Momah (not to mention our other newly acquired big targets) really benefiting from Barkley’s touch fades. I can’t believe he was there at 98.

    • GEAgle

      gotta check out the Philymag article on Momah…tough not to get excited after reading it…apparently Carmicheal has taken him under his wing

  • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.n.richwine Daniel Norman Richwine

    As a fan, I can’t be objective about MB. I am amused by the Tom Brady comparisons. I think most teams who draft QB projects in the later rounds crank that one out :)

  • ACViking

    Re: In case you missed it . . .

    In the first comment to T-Law’s (typically) great post on “Barkley-mania,” Baloophi discussed what called the “1st Round Trash Can Challenge.”

    His comment’s must-read material.

    It’s among the best internet satire I’ve read anywhere . . . political blogs, news blogs, sports blog.

    BALOOPHI . . . I don’t know what you do, but you should be writing satire for a living.

  • http://twitter.com/alex_karklins Alex Karklins

    OT: The finest Mother’s Day video of all time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_rBidCkJxo

  • http://www.facebook.com/jakwaggoner Jack Waggoner

    Trash Can’s replacement looks formidable:

    http://www.trashcansource.com/products/154-1571big.jpg