Backup QBs

Posted: June 7th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 62 Comments »

One thing doesn’t get talked about very much in regard to Nick Foles. He missed games in 2012 and 2013 due to injury. He has yet to prove that he can stay healthy for 16 games.

With that in mind, do you trust Matt Barkley or Mark Sanchez to start a game or two and win? Let’s for get the nightmare scenario of Foles going down for the whole season. Let’s focus on a game or two. That’s a more reasonable and interesting question. Any team that loses their starting QB for the whole year is in trouble.

Jeff McLane wrote about Sanchez and Barkley’s battle for the #2 spot the other day.

Sanchez, of course, still has to prove he can implement Kelly’s fast-break, spread offense better than Barkley. He should get the up-tempo part down fast. Some of his best moments with the Jets came running the two-minute drill.

“It’s constantly like a two-minute drill,” Sanchez said. “They expect you to blink fast and think fast and move fast, react to things, anticipate. It’s fun. It feels like a fastbreak. It feel likes when Steve Nash was running with the Suns, just dishing the ball. That’s really the way they view their quarterback.”

The scheme requires repetitive accuracy, though, and Sanchez’s career completion percentage (55.1) will have to increase significantly if he’s to thrive. Sanchez did have one of the quicker releases in the league before he tore his labrum last preseason.

The Eagles have touted Barkley’s trigger, suggesting that his quick release will offset what he lacks in arm strength. He said he’s 100 percent recovered from the shoulder injury he suffered in November 2012, but Kelly said there hasn’t been a big difference in his throwing this offseason as opposed to last.

“I feel like I got more torque, more velocity on the ball,” Barkley said. “I feel confident in being able to put it anywhere I need to.”

Sanchez and Barkley don’t lack in the confidence department. The latter followed the former at Southern California, and neither has much experience as a backup. But that’s generally the way it happens in the NFL. The best backups adjust to no longer being the man.

“Regardless of what anybody says, we all want to play,” Sanchez said. “Matt wants to start just like I do, just like G.J. does. And there’s nothing wrong with that. You should want to play.”

Barkley knows the system. Sanchez has starting experience. Neither of them right now looks like a QB that you want to hand the team over to. But that’s the beauty of spring football. This is the time for the players to learn and improve. How they play in July and especially August will be far more important.

One of the two needs to emerge by that point. Hopefully the competition between them will bring out the best in one of the duo.

Chip Kelly isn’t taking the position lightly. He knows having a good backup is imperative.

Kelly doesn’t have the luxury of handing Barkley the backup spot just to see if his 2013 fourth-round draft pick can handle the job.

“I’ve said it all along – you better have two,” Kelly said. “Because there’s not many [quarterbacks] that make it through an entire season. You look at Aaron Rodgers. Peyton Manning missed it [two years] ago. Tom Brady missed a year.”

Let’s go back to the original question…do you think Sanchez or Barkley could get the Eagles through a game or two?

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  • shah8

    The two quarterbacks are not really in the same discussion about whether they can hack it. For what it’s worth, it’s not really safe to say that there is a competition at all, unless Barkley sufficiently improves his arm strength such that he’d look better than Dennis Dixon has in Pittsburgh in the red zone.

    Also, most veteran quarterbacks are far more sloppier in OTAs and training camps. They’re just working out and making errors when they happen, while younger QBs has to impress just to get a shot at all and focus on execution and the form. Vick in ’09 and ’10 are pretty good examples, especially the latter year. Therefore, it’s a bad idea to take talk that Sanchez doesn’t look good too seriously, even during the intense training camp phase.

    • eagleyankfan

      You logic is like swiss cheese. Sanchez is in a fight for back up. He’s learning a brand new system. He has different coaches. He badly wants to rebound after the NY fiasco. His competitive nature and strive to be better are more than enough to discredit your last sentence. He’s not here just going through motions because he’s a veteran. And you think he can come in here and cruise? Sanchez is not thinking that way and Chip Kelly wouldn’t allow that….

  • Greg Richards

    Don’t sleep on Kinne!

    • Cafone

      Yeah, I’m pulling for Kinne

  • SuPaFrO

    Hey Tommy

    I was wondering if you still check up on top high school Juniors and seniors??

    I have a name for you to keep track on for the future!
    Mark Morales DL/OL from Fountain Valley. Going to be a junior next season. Going to be a great NT/DE.

    He got 2nd place in an Orange County lineman Competition at only 15 years old!

    • Anders

      For NFL fans, high school scouting is pretty much a waste of time. There are way too many players. Also unless a guy is 4 or 5 star recruit, he will most likely end up in his area (guessing Mark Morales is sitting on the west coast in the Pac-12 area)

      • SuPaFrO

        Oh, well Yea. I know what you mean. I just recalled Tommy releasing his top 25 (?) H’S recruits a few years back. And I was just name dropping for future references haha.

  • ACViking

    T-Law:

    I think your question — “do you think Sanchez or Barkley could get the Eagles through a game or two?” — may be more layered than it reads at first blush.

    What I mean is this. More than a decade ago, the Eagles had a head coach who in a pinch turned a 2nd-year 3rd-stringer at QB into a functional — and effective — starter. In a 5-game pinch, with no particularly good wide receivers to speak of, this 3rd-stringer ran off a 4-1 record down the stretch (and should have been 5-0 but for a missed Akers chip-shot on the last day of the season), landing the Eagles in 1st place and the top NFC playoff seed.

    A year later, that same 3rd-string QB with the 4-1 record was on another team and . . . poof, his effective functionality disappeared.
    Would Feeley, as a rookie in 2001, have done as well as he did as a 2nd-year player? Granted, he served only as a game manager, not the offensive centerpiece that McNabb was. But the question stands. I think the answer is, “No chance. No chance.”

    As a 2nd-year player in 2002, Feeley knew Reid’s system much better.
    But more important, in 2002 Reid was — T-Law, correct me if I’m wrong — among the very best game-planners in the NFL. (In-game adjustments, of course, not so much.)

    Reid simplified the game plan for Feeley. [Read: RAN THE DAMN BALL.]
    Feeley also benefitted from playing with the 2nd-ranked defense in points allowed and 4th overall in yards allowed in 2002.
    Now, fast-forward 12 years to Barkley and Sanchez.

    Can they win a couple games in a pinch?

    If Barkley’s the QB . . . “I say, ‘yes.'”

    Like Feeley in 2002, Barkley’ll be in second season in Kelly’s offense. That fact cannot be understated.

    And like Feeley in his second season, Barkley’ll be playing for a head coach whom many in this community already believe is among the best offensive minds in the NFL. So adjustments would be made to comport the offense to Barkley’s strengths and limitations.

    Sanchez? He’s in year 1 with Kelly’s system. And he’s never had to carry a team, even a mediocre one (like the late Earl Morrall did before turning into John Unitas-lite in ’68 and again in ’72.)

    Then there’s the question of the Eagles’ 2014 defense. I think we all see the defense as taking a step forward . . . if only by improving on 3rd and long over last season’s performance.

    Will the defense be as productive as the Birds’ 2002 version? Not statistically. But in terms of productivity. If that happens, this team’s going places . . . and I don’t mean home for New Year’s Day.

    So Sanchez or Barkley . . .

    If the defense steps up, I think either one’ll be fine with some game-plan adjustments by Kelly that minimize, as much as his scheme permits, the need for constant reads.

    Maybe I give Barkley an edge because he’s in year 2 of the Kelly system.

    And, unlike Foles last summer, it doesn’t sound like Sanchez will be splitting 1st-team reps with Foles.

    • Anders

      2002 was maybe the best year for the JJ defense, so I really doubt the 2014 comes even near that (if it does that, we need to lock up Davis on the best DC contract ever)

    • anon

      eh. we aren’t holding a team to under 10 points. QB has to score, especially since we can’t kick long FGs.

  • ACViking

    T-Law:

    An over-due thank your for grinding through this off-season with fantastic work.

    • P_P_K

      What would we do without Tommy?

  • SteveH

    I don’t have much faith in Sanchez or Barkley to do great things, but honestly if your running game and defense is playing pretty well in support, you just need mediocre QB play to have a shot.

    If this was the AR era, losing your starting QB would be a death knell because AR would still throw the ball 800 times, but with Chip I trust he’d keep the ratio on the running side and that should help a less skilled QB do his thing.

    • Insomniac

      Garcia, Feeley, and Vick gave us a ton though. Sanchez? We talking about Sanchez?

      • suthrneagle

        gotta give the guy a chance. He never had an offensive coach like Kelly.

        • Insomniac

          If Chip can instill a work ethic into the typical USC fratboy QB then lets pick up Jamarcus Russell and make him a backup QB.

      • eagleyankfan

        What were most saying about Foles last year? No arm/too slow for Chips offense etc etc…. Not saying Sanchez can’t be productive but there’s no way to know until he’s thrown into the fire…

        • Insomniac

          What? How is this even related to Foles? Oh right..a day 1 starter should be compared to someone with a fraction of the starts. Lets not mention that Sanchez is more athletic and has cracked under pressure constantly throughout his career.

          • anon

            yeah seriously sanchize had like 4 yrs.

          • eagleyankfan

            in chips offense he’s had 4 years? Apples n oranges.

          • eagleyankfan

            The point is — the media and most of you fans didn’t want Foles because of his arm strength and his immobility. Now, most of the fans are saying Sanchez has no arm and no mobility. That’s the similarity. Again, I’m not saying Sanchez can do anything — but there’s no way in the world anybody knows what Sanchez can(or can’t) do in this offense.

          • Insomniac

            I’m sure people will point you to the other side of that story. Chip can make any QB work like he did in college. He just had a better line of mobile QBs and got the most out of them. If Foles regresses and we take a mobile QB next draft then we could bury that argument.

            Well we know what Sanchez can’t do already. He’s been regressing for years now. No one questioned his athleticism (at least not on here) but he’s as much of a turnover machine like Vick was. He’s not the best decision-maker and has a history of poor work ethic which is why people are so skeptical about Sanchez.

  • Buge Halls

    Not to open old wounds, but Jeff McLame says that Sanchez’s “career completion percentage (55.1) will have to increase significantly if he’s to thrive…”. Well the former “best player to run Chip’s offense”, Mike Vick had a completion rate of 56.2% Something doesn’t seem to make sense there.

    • shah8

      Difference was that Vick was efficient as a 56.2% passer and reset downs by foot when needed. Sanchez was not an efficient passer during the ignoble regime of Schottenheimer and whoever that loser afterwards.

      • suthrneagle

        Sorry, but conflicting statements
        -efficient as a 56.2% passer and reset downs by foot-
        very confusing…is passing with feet permissable?

      • eagleyankfan

        so — Vick was 56.2% efficient but Sanchez was inefficient at 55.1%? WHAT? Are you trying to say that Vick made up for his poor completion percentage by moving the markers with running instead of throwing? However it’s worded — 56.2 is not efficient.

        • anon

          55% in a run first offense is different that 56% in a west coast offense (the same one that gave shady a 700yd season)

          • eagleyankfan

            a completion percentage is a completion percentage no matter if your run first, skip second and do back flips. No matter how you slice it’s still a formula.

        • A_T_G

          I think he is referring to their average yards per attempt. Higher YPA indicate more downfield throws and can be assumed to achieve more first downs.

          Sanchez has a career 6.5 YPA while Vick has a 7.1. Average seems to be around 7.

          Shah also seems to be saying that Vick’s running ability effectively boosts this stat because he can pick up yards on the ground. Interestingly, if you pretend that each of Vick’s career runs was a completed pass that covered the same distance, not at his career 56% completion rate but rather at 100%, his average YPA would go all the way up to… 7.1.

          • eagleyankfan

            words were ‘completion percentage’ and ‘efficient’ — ypa is horse of a different color. I get that he was trying to say that Vick offset his poor passing by using his feet to move the sticks — buy YPA? Nobody brought that up. (ps, am I allowed to use the phrase horse of a different color or is that offense? :) )

          • A_T_G

            I think you are okay, as long as you are referring to hair color.

            I know he didn’t mention it, I was just guessing at his meaning based on past comments.

            I thought it was particularly interesting that Vick’s running was essentially a wash if you view it as completed passes to himself.

    • Insomniac

      Sanchez was carried by his defense and is just a marginal game manager. Vick might not have been the most accurate but he picked up yards in huge chunks most of the time. I would be more disappointed in Barkley if he can’t beat out Sanchez.

      • GEAGLE

        I actually think we are under rating dirty STANKchez and he should beat Barkley out at the point in his career.. Definitely think Sanchez can keep us afloat for a game or two

  • Jack Waggoner

    Until they’re actually in that situation it’s really hard to tell but I think that either one of them could get us through a game or two if they had to.

  • Chipadelphia22

    Yes, but let’s not test it. Also, I think Matt wins the #2 job in preseason.

  • eagleyankfan

    Nice read T-Law! Part of me hoped that Barkley would eventually translate into an NFL QB. Not looking so good yet…

    • GEAGLE

      I wouldn’t say doesn’t look so good just yet.. I would give him an incomplete grade.. There were some things to like, and some things that need serious improvement, but I think it’s too early to rule the kid out…

      Even if Sanchez proved to be a better backup option this year, think it’s too soon to rule out Barkley..
      ,..
      I hate Sanchez and make fun of him often, but I actually think he will surprise people with how he looks in the preseason…going to be a fun preseason when you have 3 high profile QBs to play in each game

      • Insomniac

        Barkley > Sanchez

        • GEAGLE

          Hopefully

      • eagleyankfan

        I’m only ruling him out this year but not for the future. Plenty of good qb’s have sat the bench a couple of years prior to playing.

  • GEAGLE

    While I think the talk of Chip needing a running QB is uneducated crap. Chip doesn’t need a Kapernick or Cam newton.. But he does need a QB who isn’t afraid to keep it and take the 10yards the defense is daring you to take…I thnk the reason Barkley can’t be trusted as our backup is becuse last year he was scared to death to run with the ball. If Chips QB is afraid to keep it, everything will collapse. QB needs to keep the defense honest and take those 10 yards when a Lane parts like the Red Sea..

    Barkley needs to prove he isn’t afraid to keep the ball and run, before we can ever count on him as our number two..

    With that said, competition isn’t just white noise to Chip. He believes in competition.. No one is competing with our starter this year so why not push the backup and see how he responds?

    • Jerry Pomroy

      I have to say that it will be refreshing to have a QB at the helm that is not labeled as a mobile or running QB. From Cunningham, to McNabb, to Vick. All I’ve seen in my generation is mobile QBs. Yeah there were some other guys sprinkled in there like Peete, Jim McMahon, etc., but it just seems like my generation of Eagles football has been epitomized to the mobile QB & a change is welcomed.

      • GEAGLE

        That’s what I’m saying… We never won a SB in our lifetime, and all we ever saw were running QBs,,, so thrilled to be going down a different path, with the most cutting edge coach in the game, and a big, accurate, sniper who will sit in the pocket and chuck it all day. I don’t think I could have stomached another era of running QB…

        • Jerry Pomroy

          Don’t get me wrong, I think Nick will take his opportunities and have 300+ yards rushing, but he’ll never be labeled a running QB. It’s funny too because with McNabb, early on he ran too much & then he wouldn’t run enough to take advantage of opportunities and also help keep the defenses honest because Andy was throwing it 40 times a game. I think Foles is a good mix. He’s not going to win any foot races, but he’ll do what he needs to do to move the chains if the defense doesn’t respect him running.

  • GEAGLE

    If Andy can make it work with backups consistently, I wouldn’t worry about having to go a game or two with a backup.

    Chip is a fantastic coach… He isn’t just a coach who asks his skill players to win their individual matchups…the measure of Chips brilliance is how often he is able to “scheme guys open” through play design, motion…. Chip will create easier defined throws for the back up, that I think Sanchez can def win us a game or two…..no idea how much the game will have slowed down for Barkley

    • eagleyankfan

      As you say Chip is a fantastic coach. I don’t think Chip goes into the season unprepared. Chips #2 QB will be ready.

  • Iskar36

    To me, it is still way to early to know whether either Sanchez or Barkley could get the Eagles through a game or two. All reports on Sanchez from the limited practices the media has been allowed to attend have been a bit disappointing so far, but he is returning from a significant injury and learning a brand new offense, so to me, him not looking sharp is not really surprising news. As for Barkley, I haven’t read a whole lot about how he has looked so far beyond him taking all the 3rd team reps behind Sanchez.

    As of right now, I have little confidence in either guy. Despite the fact that Kelly said that they had a high draft grade on Barkley when they drafted him, he was clearly not ready to play last season (not a major surprise for a mid-round rookie), and I am not ready to assume his sophomore jump will be significant enough to make him a reliable backup. Having said that, I certainly also wouldn’t rule it out as a possibility. As for Sanchez, I didn’t hate the signing like others, but I also don’t think the fact that he started for a playoff team means he will be a quality backup for the Eagles.

    If the season started today, I would be petrified of our backup QB situation, but I do think both guys will improve throughout the offseason. The question will be can they improve enough to help win a game or two if need be.

  • IAteLunchToday

    Nick Foles went into last season as the backup…

    • Neil

      At the same time, he had played very well in the preseason, but Vick played like an allpro in the preseason. By the end of the preseason, most of us seemed to be pretty comfortable with the idea of Nick starting in week 1 if Vick wasn’t around, and you definitely can’t say that about Sanchez and Barkley at this point.

  • Cafone

    The Eagles had a second round grade on Barkley. Considering most of the commenters here have already proclaimed the majority of this year’s picks to be can’t miss players, I figure Barkley is on his way to Canton. A second round grade from Chip Roseman? that’s like top 10 pick value there boy.

  • Jerry Pomroy

    I have to imagine that they should be able to get us through a game or two. Sanchez has started in this league and has shown that as long as you don’t ask too much from him and rely heavily on your ground game he can be a competent player. As for Barkley, I think the jury is still out on him. If he can settle himself down when he does get on the field and not try to do too much, eliminate mistakes & take the easy throws, I think he’ll be Ok. Now that’s not to say that I think either of these guys are going to dethrone Foles. But I believe they can be competent backups.

    • GEAGLE

      This is year two for Barkley.. Just like the rest of our players, he has an opportunity to put in work..if he does that, he will improve… Will he improve to be good enough? No clue… But At this point, I’m not ready to bet against him

      Think Sanchez can look better than we expect. Dude never had this type of offense around him, this type of offensive system, this type of offensive coaching..think he is smart enough to count how many players are in the box, what kind of coverage we are facing and make the right decision, whether he should hand it off, keep it, throw a screen, or take some defined throw to a WR that chips play calling “schemes open”…. I really don’t like saying nice things about STANKchez… But I think Chip and this offense will do him wonders and he will look like a decent QB..

      How many years is he signed for?

  • Sean Stott

    With the knowledge of how everything ended up panning out, do you think Mike Vick regrets leaving for the Jets?

    His situation re: gametime would probably be better here. As an ‘official’ non-starter he could practice for some trick/gadget plays or even as scat-back role.
    We’d have a nominally better backup than Sanchez. He could’ve retired as an Eagle.

    • D3FB

      His chances of playing are still far better in NY than they are here.

    • eagleyankfan

      With Foles — Chip said last year — once he names a starter — he’s a starter. There’s no flip flopping around with QB’s. Foles is the starter and there would be no “competition” during spring training. The only way would be injury. That’s not Vicks style.
      With the Jets — he has a shot.

  • Scott J

    Lets hope our run game is unstoppable.

  • Scott J

    I’m not too familiar with Sanchez, except for watching his bloopers on ESPN, so it’s hard to know what his strengths and weaknesses are. You just hope he has the mentality to manage the game and not try to be a hero.

    • Maggie

      When watching reruns of those older Football Follies films, I have observed that Sanchez is not the first QB to run into an offensive lineman. Or fumble while doing so.

  • Finlay Jones

    Sanchez can do a job for a couple games, i’m sure

  • GEAGLE

    By now we all know how Chip sold our players, but it’s awesome to see free agents coming from other franchises also blown away by the organization Chip has put in place for this new era of Eagles culture,,.and free agents from much different situations ranging from respected veteran, locker room of former SB champion Saints to the polar opposite which would be the dolphins joke of a locker room…Jenkins,Sproles all sound impressed with how Chip operates..and not just all the spots science, but guys seem impressed with the moral around the Novacare how everyone is upbeat while working extremely hard every day.. Everyone is embracing competition while still operating like a family…… I don’t care how much better other teams are on paper,.. If the Novacare complex is how players are making it sound, I like our chances against anyone..
    ….
    Nolan Carrol: “This is a team that’s enthusiastic, a team that won the division. They been to the playoffs. They are used to that winning attitude right now. You can see that in the locker room. You can see it with these coaches. The whole foundation is pretty strong as far as a winning environment. That’s what Drew me here”….”every day it’s a positive mindset. Nobody’s down, nobody’s moping(he clearly never met Desean lol) everyone’s happy. Everyone’s enthusiastic, Intense, ready to practice and get better. Not just even keeled but every single day trying to get better”-Philly.com
    ……..
    Sproles: Sproles suspects the eagles scientific training regimen, the scope of which he has never experienced on any level of football could enhance his performance. “When we come in(post practice routine) they already know like where you are sore, so you go into the weight room and you aren’t doing the same lifts as everyone else. You are doing certain stuff, it’s totally different” basically our trainers monitor their bodies so well that they each have tailor made work out programs to help them recover, focusing on body parts that are most sore -the Times herald

    Jenkins: “think we’ve worked harder than any team in the NFL. Think we have gotten more reps and exposure than any team. So right now, at this point we’re winning. This doesn’t neccessarily mean we are going to won anything. All we can win is today and each day we go out as a team and try to do that. I feel like if we continue on this and get better and better as we go, I definitely see this team having a chance…via Jim Rome… And this isn’t coming from some Oakland raider who has no idea what it take to be a winner. He comes from a recent Super Bowl champion coached by one of the games best in Sean Peyton…

    It’s really encouraging to see how excited our players are.. They seem like they are really enjoying putting in work and competing everyday… Remember when everyone questioned if NFL players would listen to a wacky college coach different methods? Lol

    • P_P_K

      I can’t wait for the season!

    • GENETiC-FREAK

      Thing is Chips methods arent that different to other contact sports.. Just different to American Football.. I see it n im thinking its about time someone sees the big picture n whats out there n bringing it in to this game n to this team especially