More on the Backup QB Situation

Posted: January 15th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 107 Comments »

When we talk about whether Matt Barkley will be the backup, this isn’t meant to insinuate that he’d be given the job. Barkley will have to earn it. As Chip Kelly likes to say, the players set the depth chart.

The question is about the level of competition you bring in. If you keep Mike Vick around, he’s drawing a big salary. If he goes elsewhere to look for a starting job, you’ll need another veteran to bring in. The problem is that there aren’t good options. Let me throw out a few names of possible interest.

Josh McCown
Matt Cassel
Tarvaris Jackson
Kellen Clemens
Josh Freeman
Colt McCoy
Curtis Painter
Seneca Wallace

McCown just had a great year. I’m betting he tries to go somewhere that he can get on the field. Beyond him, any of those names excite you?

McCoy interests me. He played for Pat Shurmur in Cleveland. He has WCO experience. McCoy can be an effective runner. He would be interesting competition for Barkley. Wallace also was in Cleveland with Shurmur, for whatever that’s worth.

Freeman is far and away the most talented player on the list. He has the tools to be a good starting QB. He would be an interesting reclamation project for the coaching staff. There are some character questions about him. He also didn’t play well this year and you wonder where his head is at. Going from franchise QB to inactive #3 QB on the Vikings in the span of 6 weeks can permanently shake a man’s confidence.

There are some interesting QBs in the draft. You may actually be better off going for a talented rookie and having him compete with Barkley for the backup job. You would still bring in a veteran, but it wouldn’t necessarily be someone with great credentials.

Just because a guy doesn’t have a great reputation doesn’t mean he can’t be the right player. Look how well Thad Lewis played for the Bills this year. He had only thrown 32 career passes prior to 2013. And Lewis spent time under Pat Shurmur in Cleveland. Just how many QBs did they have?

In terms of what the Eagles will be looking for, my guess is they’ll want someone with WCO experience since the current offense is somewhat similar. I don’t think they’ll look for running ability. If the guy has that, it is a bonus.

There will be a competition. Kelly will have the players all fighting for playing time. Nick Foles is the starter, but Kelly will hope that Barkley and whoever else is on the roster push Foles. Competition should bring out the best in the players.

* * * * *

Speaking of the QB position. Word today is that Bill Lazor will be named the OC by the Lions. Jim Caldwell is the new coach in Detroit. There is no clear tie between the two men, but I found a possible connection. Lazor was a high school QB in Scranton, PA when Caldwell was the QB coach at Penn State. Lazor went to football camps at PSU. It is possible that Caldwell recruited him for a while. Lazor ended up going to Cornell so either he wasn’t given a PSU offer or there was some other reason for him to go elsewhere.

I hate to see Lazor go. He did terrific work with Vick, Foles and Barkley.

The Eagles could promote Press Taylor, the offensive quality control coach. The problem is that he was a college QB in 2010, which tells you how young he is. Lazor had worked for the Falcons, Seahawks and Skins before joining the Eagles. He had also been the OC for the University of Virginia. He was a veteran coach. Taylor would be a huge leap backward in terms of experience. I’d be nervous about that with such young QBs.

Scott Frost is the OC at Oregon now and worked under Kelly. He could be a target. Frost spent some time in the NFL so he knows the environment.

Karl Dorrell could be of interest. He was the QB coach for the Houston Texans. He’s been a head coach at UCLA.

There could be plenty of other guys for Kelly to check out. He’s a smart guy with lots of connections so I have confidence that he’ll find a good QB coach. Plus, I think this is a position that people will want.

_


  • greenblood0118

    I really hate letting go of good coaches.

    • A_T_G

      I really hate letting go of the monkey bars. I got talked into it once, but I won’t fall for that again.

      • ICDogg

        A girl talked me into that once too. She was a whiskey manufacturer but I loved her still. And she had the prettiest face I’d ever come across.

  • Sean

    Why would any decent QB coach want to come here when the opportunity to work with Joe Webb is so tantalizingly available?

  • Joe Minx

    If Karl Dorrell had anything to do with the dumpster fire that is the Texans QB situation, I’ll pass.

    • TommyLawlor

      Schaub fell apart. That’s on him, not the coaches.

  • D3FB

    Good god Press Taylor was teammates with Vinny Curry. That’s really young.

  • ICDogg

    Well, the QB “guru” everyone wants is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Whitfield_Jr.

    • TommyLawlor

      I don’t know if he wants to work for one team or prefers doing his own thing.

      • ICDogg

        Yeah, he’s probably making more money running his own business. Although he could be an offseason option for one of our QBs.

  • JM13

    Karl Dorrell?! Wow. Haven’t heard his name since he got replaced for Rick Neuheisel at UCLA.

  • livingonapear

    Do you think we could get Joe Webb for only a first rounder, or would we have to pony up a second rounder as well?

    • laeagle

      I could write a 10 paragraph, detailed reason why we should give up 2 first rounders, but I’ll leave that for others.

      • bentheimmigrant

        Others? You mean Shah1-7?

        • Mac

          Don’t be a ha8er.

    • bubqr

      I missed the Joe Webb running joke, can someone enlighten me?

      • deg0ey

        There’s a dude that (in all seriousness) thinks Joe Webb is the best QB ever. We laugh at him. That’s the joke.

  • ICDogg

    He’s probably too young and still thinks he can play, but eventually Mike Kafka will be a QB coach. I think he always knew exactly what he wanted to do, he just couldn’t do it.

    • Dominik

      So, a poor guy Ryan Fitzpatrick version? ;)

      • ICDogg

        They always said Kafka was a great student, memorized the playbook in a short time, etc. He has a good football mind, from everything we hear, but not the physical abilities required to succeed on this level. Probably would be a very good teacher.

  • Cafone

    Mike Vick could be a player/coach!

    • Buge Halls

      Why, do we need instruction in the art of giving the ball to the other team?

      • Mac

        Higher draft picks.

      • Maggie

        No. Because like Kafka, he has worked to become a team player, someone who is admired in the locker room, and a serious student of the game.

        • Buge Halls

          A “serious student of the game”???? Really? I have never heard of him spending time in the tape room or hear him talk about studying the other team (a great QBs do). That is what it takes, Vick is lazy and it shows in his game prep and as he’s not talking to the other offensive players when the defense is on the field. Vick is all about Vick – he’d make a TERRIBLE coach/teacher!

  • bentheimmigrant

    “He’s a smart guy with lots of connections so I have confidence that he’ll find a good QB coach.”

    I think this is the most important part. We had success/improvement from pretty much all positions throughout the season (I mean, whether or not we bring back Allen is now a legitimate discussion). It’s clear that Kelly is able to find the right people for his supporting cast.

  • Cafone

    I saw a tweet from Brandon Lee Gowton pointing out that Jeremy Maclin has caught a TD pass more recently than Hakeem Nicks.

    To take it a step further, there were 6 wide receivers taken in the 1st round in 2009, the year that Maclin and Nicks were drafted. They combined for 2 TDs this year, 1 each for Michael Crabtree and Darrius Heyward-Bey.

    • ICDogg

      Yeah… Crabtree was out most of the year too, so like Maclin, he has a good excuse for that. Nicks was terrible this year and I’m not sure he will ever turn it back around, but if he did he would be ideal for us.

      • Dominik

        I’d definitely would love to have Crabtree here in Philly. :)

        • Tumtum

          I’ll take Maclin and his character over Crabtree and his attitude any day.

  • A_T_G

    You know the saying, if you love Lazor let him go. If it takes a funny bounce shoots you in the face and burns out your retina, Tommy will sell you a nice pair of sunglasses to hide the scars.

    • Dominik

      bubqr asked about the Joe Webb jokes, those I get. Let me ask you about the sunglasses jokes. That was before my time here.

      • CrackSammich

        Lazor… laser…. you’ll get it.

      • Mac

        I’m not sure I can tell the story with enough detail to make it as humorous as it was at the time, but Tommy’s site was briefly taken over by ads for Lasik surgery. Not long after that a purveyor of sunglasses took over the site.

        He was classy and apologetic.

        The rest of us started taking some good natured jabs on those events.

        I think it’s one of those things that’s funnier if you were there.

        • A Roy

          Site was also taken over by the Ruskies last November.

          • Dominik

            I remember that. Thanks to Mac, I now understand the sunglasses jokes, too.

          • Mac

            Glad to help, I’m sure there are plenty of folks who didn’t understand but were afraid to ask!

        • P_P_K

          Wait? What? Is that why my sunglasses haven’t arrived?

    • P_P_K

      You’ve been on a roll!

  • ICDogg
    • Tumtum

      Actually LoLed pretty good. Even though I think Ive seen it, its been long enough.

    • A Roy

      Interesting to note he’s wearing the “C”. Says a lot about his teammates, too.

    • SteveH

      The puzzled expression at the end had me dying.

  • Scott J

    Hopefully, whoever backs-up Foles will never see the field.

    • Andy124

      Someone has to play when we’re up by 30 in the 4th.

  • Weapon Y

    I would like to see Vick come back as the backup because he did play reasonably well in this offense, but I know that’s not likely to happen. After seeing Matt Cassel gash the Eagles, I’d be tempted to sign him. He’s probably my first choice after Vick. It wouldn’t totally close the door on Barkley being the backup, but Cassel does seem like a competent second-stringer (just not a starter). Freeman is very tempting considering his high potential, but he reminds me way too much of Vince Young with mental issues and fizzling out in just a few years after a hot start. I’d need a lot of info from guys who worked with Freeman up close before I’d take a chance on him.

  • Mitchell

    I’m actually interested in McCoy. Maybe it’s just me but I never felt like he got a chance anywhere he went.

  • Steag209

    I couldn’t get on the Internet yesterday but I wanted to comment on the chinstrap discussion. When I played middle school/high school football there was (or still is) a rule where if you didn’t have your chinstrap buckled anytime you were on the playing field and the ref saw you, he would force you out of the game for one play (and possibly more if coach decided you needed to learn your lesson). Thus, “being one chinstrap away from playing”. (and it would also draw the hate of teammates because it impending sprints on Mondays but i digress) I just remember this being a huge point of emphasis in middle school and freshman football because at the time Favre was infamous for taking off his chinstrap after literally every play and kids thought it was cool. I’m pretty sure that’s what Chip is referring to though.

  • Mac

    Tommy asked a question, here is an incomplete but still viable answer.

  • Tumtum

    Just a quick side bar. I just saw a note that I wanted to mention; Tom Gamble is choosing to stay another year. It sounds like he will pretty much have the pick of any available GM job until he selects one. Great news for him, great news for us he is staying.

    While it sucks to see Bill Lazor go, it is great to see other teams wanting after our guys. There were times in the past that this happened (and we were damn good then), but who is the last assistant to leave of note? I guess not including guys that were fired, its been since 09′ when we lost Shumur and Heckert.

    Now of course Tom Gamble was already a great personnel guy and Lazor a very good coach, but I have to imagine without the Eagles success these guys would not be so highly sought after. WTG Eagles! Still bitter sweet.
    ——
    People are down on the Caldwell hire, but I think if he lets Lazor really run that offense he will be good to go. Just imagine Matt Stafford being coached by former Peyton Manning mentor (or student :P) and the guy who just made a 2nd year 3rd round QB into a franchise QB. Not to mention they both are very familiar now with the no huddle.

    • Ben Hert

      Its been stated before, but I think the inability to replace key assistants is what led to AR’s downfall. I hope Chippah doesn’t fall into that hole.

    • anon

      Lazor not going with caldwell. I don’t think he was a great hire. Ravens offense was TERRIBLE this year, i think he gets credit for Flacco’s improvement during the SB run, which may be fair, but seemed like a regression this year. I honestly think it was a bad hire, think teams are getting desperate, i’m unsure he’d have the discipline to control that team but we’ll see who he brings in as DC (though i think the current DC should stay).

  • Daniel Norman Richwine

    Colt seems like the kind of QB who would do much better with a coach like Chip, who is willing to design an offense around his player’s strengths, than most coaches, who try to fit their QB into the offense regardless of fit.

    • Tumtum

      I thought he did pretty darn well considering the tumultuous situation he was put in. He was forced to start as a 3rd round rookie, even though the team never really committed to him. I think he lead the Browns to a 9-7 record even? Every time he got dinged they were looking for the next guy. I think he ended up pretty much losing his job to injury, right?

      I like him.

      • Neil

        He started one or two years and then came that fateful draft with Weeden. I remember a whole hullabulloo by Colt about how he didn’t think he got a fair look in that competition. Never played another game for them again, or if he did it was no more than a couple because Weeden was hurt.

        I liked what I saw from him, but he definitely had limitations.

        • Tumtum

          ohhhhhhh yeah. Wasn’t he was hurt to end the previous season? I am probably just crazy.

    • anon

      Every QB is like that.

  • austinfan

    Joe Webb is a FA, he’d be perfect for Chip.

    Not only is he an experienced, albeit limited, NFL QB, who could be a dangerous zone read QB (if he could hit the side of a barn) but he’s had four years to learn the basics of playing WR.
    The kind of swiss army knife player that Chip loves, and he has great measurables to boot (fast and long).

    • Sokhar20

      Do we really want Foles looking over his shoulder in abject terror? :-P

      • Andy124

        Irrelevant. If Webb was here he’d be starting. Foles wouldn’t have to look over his shoulder to see his superior running a real NFL offense.

        • bentheimmigrant

          Of course Foles would be looking over his shoulder. He doesn’t even know how to face the right way…

          What do you mean I’m the only one seeing him walking backwards everywhere?

          • Andy124

            Also, I guess he’d be looking over his shoulder at Barkley, who would undoubtedly supplant him as the primary backup.

        • Mac

          Joe Webb is clearly the Joe Webb of QBs/Offensive weapons.

    • anon

      Brad Smith or better than Brad Smith?

      • shah8

        I am enthusiastic about Webb essentially because he’s better than the likes of Josh Johnson, Tyrod Taylor, Brad Smith. He’s faster than all them, I believe, (only slightly slower than Kaepernick or Griffin) he has better hands than any of them, and he’s a better passer than any of them. Plus, he is close to a TE caliber blocker.

  • Breezy

    I kind of hope we sign joe webb. Not because I want him, but I would love to see the posts from shah8 on gameday when he doesnt see the field

    • shah8

      Heh…you do realize that Joe Webb routinely saw the field, this season, right? In the Jason Avant role.

      • Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

        Yeah, because the Vikings have no talent at WR.

        • shah8

          They have a better WR corps than the Eagles. Jennings is only marginally less valuable than DJax. Jerome Simpson has done yeoman work in the DJax field stretcher role, and Jerome Wright is okay as a very fast slot guy. When you add to Kyle Rudolph to it all, even given how slow he is, and marginal blocking ability, the Vikings has far better depth across the board, even with a totally raw route runner in Patterson, and with a QB as a WR in Webb. With more development from Patterson, the Vikings will probably have a very sizable advantage in the WR department next season. It’s not for no reason that the Viking cut Stephen Burton, who was a viable run-blocker and a good size-speed WR prospect, and that isn’t because they think Webb is a better WR (at least not without more experience). The Vikings are legit deep in WRs.

  • Anders

    wow, how bad is the situation in Detroit and with Stafford? Lazor just got hi-jacked by the Dolphins despite long been in the talk for Lions OC job.

    • Mike Roman

      Just saw that. Both organizations are a mess .. I wouldn’t want to go to either.

      • Anders

        but if Tannenhill is more coachable Lazor might bring out the best. I bet he implement some zone reading for him as he is the perfect QB for that system.

        • Mac

          Tannehilll does look like a good QB. They definitely need help with the O-line though… but that might be in better shape than the old farts up in Detroit.

          • Anders

            draft Tannenhill a TE like Ebon, have Wallace is the deep guy he really is, run some zone read to mess with defenses and to give him time and I think that offense can become pretty good.

    • Tumtum

      Wow….

    • Dominik

      One thing I don’t like for Lazor: he was hired by Philbin (and the owner). Philbin could very well be gone after next season. They will hire a GM and since Lazor isn’t a coach hired by him, I could see him firing both, if he fires Philbin (and he’ll be on the hot seat if he doesn’t have a good season).

  • Mike Roman

    Ya know, I can take over as QB coach if Chip wants to give me a call. I mean, how hard can it be?

    “Throw it that direction”
    “Throw it to the guys in (midnight) green”
    “Don’t pass to Damarius, he sucks”

    • Insomniac

      “Throw the damn ball away before you get sacked”. Something Lazor never said to Foles.

      • Maggie

        Kelly never said it either.

        • Andy124

          No worries. He’s got another 999 years to figure it out.

    • Tumtum

      Why do I feel like Damaris is going to go play slot and do really well in KC?

      • anon

        McCluster is same size and more talented and he didn’t do anything. No slot reciever in offense, just checkdown Charles which seems to work pretty well. Donnie Avery plays “slot” with crossing routes, i just don’t see where he’d fit.

    • RobNE

      go make PLAYS!!!

      • Mac

        It feels like you’re referencing a different Eagles regime with that one…

  • OregonDucker

    If Chip does bring in a veteran, he will look hard at Kellen Clemens. As a sophmore Duck, Clemens surpassed Dan Fouts in TDs and yards. While Chip was not the coach when Clemens played at Oregon, he will hear from Bellotti about Clemens; and it will all be good stuff.

  • shah8

    Colt McCoy is really not a backup QB you ever want to see come into the game, and I seriously doubt he has all that much in the way of smarts such that he’s of aid to Foles. He’s basically like Tebow in that he’s eating off of college heroics. Just not as profoundly incompetent. Still a relatively incompetent passer and decision-maker.

    Curtis Painter? No, if you thinking about someone who gives you a chance to win. Know nothing about whether he might be useful in the study room.

    Kellen Clemons is okay, but he doesn’t really give you a chance to win. The games he won were games where the defense killed an aggressive offense. Very pedestrian as a passer, but better than Keith Null.

    Seneca Wallace is probably too old to be able to run Chip Kelly’s offense. I suspect though, that he’d be useful as vet assistance.

  • Anders

    Regarding back up QB. I prefer to keep Vick, he is much better than any of the guys above and already knows the system and is well respected in the locker room.

    If not, then I would take a flyer on Josh Freeman and see if we can get the potential out of him.

    Foles
    Barkley
    Freeman
    draft pick (prefer a guy like Jimmy Garoppolo or Brett Smith)
    GJ Kinne.

    That is not the worst combination of QBs to have in training camp

    • D3FB

      The problem with Garoppolo or Smith is they will both likely come off the board between rounds 2 and early 5. So to use them you sacrifice selecting a position player who could be a strong rotational piece and future starter. If you sign Freeman on top of drafting one of those two guys you’re wasting money or a pick. Barkley already knows the system and short of absolutely being a total hot mess in camp will make the roster. That means you have Freeman and the rookie battling for the number 3 job. Smith and Garoppolo will be coveted enough that you won’t be able to P-squad them. So you either waste the cap space on Freeman’s guaranteed money or you cut the rookie who you used a fairly valuable pick on.

    • Dominik

      I doubt Chip likes Freemans attitude towards the game. Maybe, just maybe, if he’s really cheap, he thinks: the guy is talented, maybe he can play in the right environment. But Chip likes smart and hard working players, he showed that already. Freeman isn’t exactly the hard working kind of guy, which is a very bad thing for a QB. Just look at Stafford or RGIII. They have all the talent in the world (and they are good QBs because of that), but their attitude isn’t made for the NFL. You need to be your hardest critic as a QB and those two just don’t seem to get that.

      • Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

        I think it’s unfair to say that RGIII only being a league average passer after destroying his knee and missing the preseason means that his “attitude isn’t made for the NFL,” especially considering the toxic situation that is the Washington Redskins organization.

  • UncleCarm

    When I breezed through the list the first, and probably only name that jumped out was McCoy. I always felt like in the right environment he could have done better. There is alot to be said for having one of those multi-year vets as your backup. Some of these moldy guys have given the Eagles fits over the years.

  • ICDogg

    Mel Kiper’s first 2014 mock draft has the Eagles taking Florida State’s 6-foot-4 Kelvin Benjamin.

    • shah8

      Makes sense. I’d still rather have solid defensive talent, but at 22…upside more than good enough. You should expect your coaches to coach him up as fast as possible.

      • shah8

        Do expect, like Corderelle Patterson, that he will be slow to come along, due to sheer inexperience, in the first year.

    • mksp

      So, so talented. Issues are inconsistent hands (which I know supposedly can be coached up, but I’ve always viewed as a natural talent) and I think he’s already on the older side.

      My current draft crush is Kony Ealy. I’ve seen mocks with him going in the mid-20s, but he seems like the type of guy a la Dion Jordan that will kill it at the combine and get talked up to being a low-teens / borderline top-10 guy.

      6’7 260 w/ above average athleticism? OKAY.

      • DaO_Z

        He’s more like 6-5 275….not as athletic as Jordan. He should be gone around 15 regardless..

  • anon

    Why don’t we just take Freeman? Wonder how much he’d cost, probably not much unless Vikings want to keep him around. He’s mobile, smart, with a huge arm — he probably wants to start someplace but i’d bring him in.

    • shah8

      No starting caliber QB will ever come here without at least a discreet acknowledgement that he will have a chance to win the starting job.

      • anon

        thats what im thinking but i don’t see him with a starting job, especially after what he did in Minny.

        • shah8

          Rick.Speilman.

          He was only brought in to fail, first to allow Speilman to bring back Ponder for yet another chance after having a start with a couple of weeks of reps and not knowing the playbook, and secondly, to prevent serious contemplation of Webb starting by filling the depth chart to three spaces. Nobody was ever going to let Macleod Bethel-Thompson into a real NFL game, if Cassel turned out playing ugly or got himself injured.

          I know people think I’m mean or that I’m crazy, but allow me to strongly reiterate–Foles is seriously undertalented as an NFL starting QB. I pretty much knew what was going to happen in the playoff game. We reverted back to doing jump balls and needing unforced errors/injury for most of our chances to score. And we generally only scored when Lady Luck favored us with successful jump balls, DPI, and an injury to the best CB. The one TD we did score when the game was still meaningful was off of an interception and a decent return.

          There is no way, and I’d bet any money I have (bupkus), that the vast majority of the team doesn’t think we win if Vick had started. The offense has to be able to score on good defenses without needing luck or unforced errors, and I strongly believe that there is a very firm leash on the time Foles is allowed to start without real progress. As such, there is no way you can seriously expect a signing of someone like Freeman to be anything other than the lack of full confidence in Foles. Freeman is vastly more talented than Foles. He may have issues, but he has been in successive toxic environments. Those issues may well clear up in a good one.

          The same really applies for Joe Webb as well, no matter how much people think they can repeat “can’t hit the broad side of the barn”. Joe Webb’s natural passing ability is on tape, and he has better tape than Foles, in terms of pure throws and accuracy. As with Freeman, there is no way a Chip signing of Webb, and moving him back to QB means anything other than Webb is serious competition for the job, and I strongly suspect that there is serious market interest in Webb as a backup QB in the free agent scene, and Kelly will have treat him as a desired commodity. There is no way Chip is not thinking about game breaking ability by arm or leg, if he thinks a reliable passer is in Webb.

    • gherbox

      He doesnt seem to have that desire to strive to be great.

      • anon

        Right coaching / staff

        • gherbox

          Possibly

  • ChaosOnion

    I would add Tyler Wilson to that list of perspective QBs. He had a 60%+ completion percentage while at ARK. He had some great games in 2011 (the A&M game was a great comeback) and won a bowl game. ARK falling apart in 2012 had so much more to do with the Petrino shenanigans than Wilson. Much like Barkley, his draft stock dropped after a disappointing Senior season.

    He has been with OAK and TEN, not exactly great programs. Even if he comes in as a camp body, I think it is worth kicking the tires. Wilson would directly compete with Barkley.

    • D3FB

      I think he’s under contract with the titans.

  • Mac

    Because… this had to be done. h/t Bounty Bowl

    http://kissingsuzykolber.uproxx.com/2014/01/nfl-logos-hipsters.html

  • Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

    Gotta say, there’s a pretty good explanation for Lazor picking Cornell over PSU.

    He knew he wasn’t going pro, and he had a choice between going to Cornell and going to Penn State.