Matt Barkley fell to the 4th round for a few reasons, but being shy wasn’t one of them. He’s not going to lay down for anyone. Jeff McLane wrote about Barkley and how he’s approaching the situation.
“There is an open competition, so whether you feel like it or not, it’s there,” Barkley said today as rookies and all five quarterbacks reported to training camp at the NovaCare Complex. “And I absolutely feel like you got to be a part of it and you got to challenge yourself.”
That is exactly what I want to hear from him.
The other day I was critical of DeSean Jackson for saying he thought Mike Vick would win the QB competition in part due to Vick’s confidence in himself.
So why am I happy about Barkley’s confidence and ambivalent about Vick’s? You expect players to be what they are. You want them to be what they’re not. Sounds odd, but here is what I mean.
You know the old joke that dog bites man isn’t a news story, but man bites dog is. Same concept is at work here. I expect the rookie to be hungry and the veteran to be confident. I’m impressed when the rookie is confident. I would be impressed with the veteran if he was hungry.
Every year I tell the story of Tom Brady sitting down before Training Camp and reminding himself that he’s just a 6th round pick. That is Brady’s way of keeping himself hungry. That drive is what made him into an elite player and Hall of Fame QB.
Having the right attitude is just a start. Once you’re on the field, you must perform. It does help to have the right attitude. The rookie who is confident and genuinely thinks he belongs is more likely to play well than the guy who stares at Vick and thinks of Pro Bowls, playoff wins and ESPN highlights. The opposite is true as well. The veteran who takes the young challengers seriously is going to play better than the guy who is busy patting himself on the back. That veteran is going to realize there are challengers there for a reason and it is up to him to hold the barbarians at the gate, so to speak.
As for Nick Foles, he is just focused on doing what he can to win the job. He’s young enough not to get cocky, but is experienced enough to be confident and know that he can play at the NFL level. Les Bowen talked to Nick and got some good info.
“I have all the confidence in the world in my ability … I still respect the players around me, and I know what they’re capable of doing. But at the end of the day, I’m not here to be a backup. I’m here to be the guy,” said Foles, who started six games last season as a third-round rookie from Arizona. “I don’t think we play this game to sit on the bench. We play it to play, and I’m here to play.”
Love the attitude. Now go out and play well. Put meaning into those words.
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Jimmy Bama is covering Training Camp for Philly.com. Excellent move by them. Jimmy is as good at covering camp as anyone (no offense to Warren Sapp or Jamie Dukes).
Rookie CB Jordan Poyer said he’s a big fan of Cortland Finnegan.
“I like the way he plays,” said Poyer. “He’s just a scrappy defensive back. He’s not the fastest guy out there, but I think with his scrappiness, he’s able to turn the ball over. That’s what I prided myself on, being able to create turnovers.”
Finnegan was a big playmaker in college and has managed to do that in the NFL. He does make a good role model in that sense. Finnegan is hated by some rivals, but there is no question that he’s very talented. He’s also very smart and not enough people realize that because of his antics.
Poyer would be wise to copy him, but maybe dial down or avoid the antics altogether. That stuff can be counter-productive at times.
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There was a report today that Jason Kelce is up to 289 pounds. He lost weight while coming back from the ACL tear. Less weight on it meant less stress. He’s now trying to get up to 295.