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.
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?