Matt Barkley

Posted: January 14th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 109 Comments »

One of the hot topics is whether the Eagles will bring back Michael Vick to be the backup QB. Part of that decision is influenced by what the team thinks of Matt Barkley.

In a fantasy world, you would love to have Barkley as the backup and then add another rookie to the mix. That way you would have a good group of young QBs. Depending on how they developed, you could have  assets worth trading.  The Packers did this for much of the 1990s and it worked very well.

Would Chip Kelly and Howie Roseman trust Barkley to be the backup? That player is a “chin strap away” as Kelly likes to say (by the way, I have no idea what that means other than to say the backup must be ready. Chin strap?). If the Eagles expect to be a Super Bowl contender next year, do you really want a 2nd year player as your primary backup? The Packers didn’t have the right backup QBs and they went 2-5-1 without Aaron Rodgers. You can go young or old, but you must have a good backup.

Let’s talk about what we saw from Barkley this year. I’m sure some will want to compare his rookie season to Nick Foles. That’s not fair to Barkley. Think back to the summer of 2012. Vick and Mike Kafka got hurt. Foles got the majority of snaps at practice.  He started 2 preseason games. Foles got to play with the starters and he responded well to that. Barkley was the #3 QB all spring and summer. He got fewer reps than the other QBs. He didn’t start any games this summer. Both players threw 63 passes, but they played with very different guys and in different situations.

You also can’t ignore the fact that Barkley’s arm wasn’t 100 percent last summer. You could see that his passes didn’t have good zip on them. He looked completely different during the season when he got on the field. Barkley threw the ball well. Barkley was confident and didn’t look overwhelmed on the field. His decision-making was bad, especially on a pair of Red Zone turnovers. He threw a terrible INT vs Dallas and had a strip-sack fumble in the Giants game. Barkley had marched the team down the field in both cases, but could not finish the drives.

Reuben Frank wrote a story on Barkley a few days ago.  Barkley has the right attitude about things. He knows some people aren’t going to be comfortable with him due to the sloppy performances in the 2 games.

“If you want to take that and jab me with that, that’s fine,” Barkley said of his 2013 stats. “I’m not going to make excuses. I know what I did wrong, and I’m going to learn from it, but at the same time, I’m capable of a lot more.

“I’m a better quarterback than that, and I know that and the people who have watched me and know me and watched me play the last four years — and even the last eight years, going back to high school — know that I’m a better quarterback than that.”

That’s what you want to hear. Barkley is acknowledging the problems, but remains self-confident.

Roob has some interesting numbers on Barkley.

His final numbers are somewhat ungainly: 30-for-49 for 300 yards with a 44.6 passer rating.

But if you look deeper, you see that Barkley actually completed 61 percent of his passes, which led all NFL rookies this year and is 13th-highest ever by an NFL rookie throwing at least 40 passes.

And he moved the ball smartly at times, with a nine-play, 76-yard drive against the Cowboys and an eight-play, 68-yard drive and 12-play, 48-yard drive against the Giants.

And remember that he was not playing in a balanced offense since the team was losing each game by at least 12 points.

In the Dallas game, Barkley played 24 snaps and 20 were passes. In the Giants game, Barkley got 44 snaps and 29 were passes.

That’s a 72-28 throw-pass ratio and certainly not the best way for a young quarterback to make his NFL debut.

No one can make an accurate evaluation of Barkley based on those 2 games. The coaches saw good and bad hints in them, but they’ll make the decision based more on what they saw in the classroom and on the practice field. That’s where they watched Barkley grow and mature over the course of the season.

Did he show them the traits of someone who could step in and play if needed?

I’m sure many of you hate the idea of Barkley as the primary backup, but remember that the Eagles really wanted him. Kelly said Barkley had one of the two best interviews at the Combine (along with Bennie Logan). Kelly and Roseman loved him. Kelly faced Barkley for 4 years in college. Roseman studied him on multiple trips to USC over the years. This isn’t a player they have casual feelings about.

That said, both men will make a tough evaluation of him. Kelly knows you can’t just hand the backup QB job to anyone. If they choose Barkley, it will be because both men have the confidence that he is right for the job and will do well if called upon. Backup QB is a critical position. You don’t give that spot out lightly.

Would I do it? That’s really tough to answer without being around Barkley to see how he’s learned from the mistakes. Based on what we saw, Barkley has the physical skills to be a good QB. We know he’s got the work ethic. Last spring he was the first QB in the building. Heck, he might have been the first player. That showed me a good work ethic and also that he wasn’t an entitled college star who thought he’d come in and just take over the NFL. I’m sure that lasting until the 4th round has put a huge chip on Barkley’s shoulder.

The problems Barkley had on the field were due to inexperience. He forced the ball into coverage. He made poor reads. He made poor decisions. has a video segment on Barkley where they show a good play and a bad play from him.

I still like Matt Barkley as a QB prospect. The question of whether he’s ready for a critical position in 2014 is one I’m glad I don’t have to answer. That’s up to Kelly and Roseman. They’ve seen Barkley almost every day for months and months. If they go with him, it won’t be a casual decision. It will be a sign that this is a guy they believe in.

Of course, Nick Foles could make this largely irrelevant if he would just promise to start 16 games next year.


109 Comments on “Matt Barkley”

  1. 1 Mike Roman said at 8:42 AM on January 14th, 2014:

    I can see an argument either way for whether or not Barkley is ready to be the #2 QB here. In the two games he played he was thrust into some less than favorable positions. He made rookie mistakes but he was in a position where he had to take chances due to the circumstances. He also showed that he could make plays within the offense.

    But, as a playoff team, do you really want to a 4th round prospect to be your first guy off the bench at your most important position? I don’t know the answer to that. What I do know is that there are a lot of teams who don’t have a quality #1 QB, let alone a decent backup. And a lot of those guys are experienced veterans. So who’s to say Barkley can’t be that guy for us.

    I think it’s easy to dismiss Barkley because of his lack of pedigree. Foles is dealing with the same thing too. If Nick was a top 5 pick and had the season he had then people wouldn’t be so apprehensive about buying in.

  2. 2 Winged Nazgul said at 8:44 AM on January 14th, 2014:

    “If the Eagles expect to be a Super Bowl contender next year, do you really want a 2nd year player as your primary backup?”

    That kind of thinking isn’t healthy IMO. It leads to overpaying for high-priced and over-rated free agents instead of developing the young talent that you have. I say bring in a veteran QB and have a competition for QB spots (yes even the starting job).

    If it shakes out that Barkley is good enough to be the backup QB then so be it. Being a 2nd year player didn’t hurt the guy who started last year as the backup QB.

  3. 3 anon said at 2:30 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    Gotta pay money for that competition. Agree that logic is flawed, but as we saw in GB and TX it makes a difference.

  4. 4 A_T_G said at 8:58 AM on January 14th, 2014:

    “That player is a ‘chin strap away’ as Kelly likes to say (by the way, I
    have no idea what that means other than to say the backup must be ready.
    Chin strap?).”

    I am pretty sure he is referring to the most common reason for a QB missing time. Historically, chin strap malfunctions have lead to countless QBs missing time as trainers work to get that stupid little snap to click into place.

    Just last year, Vick was lost when he pulled a hammy, coach-slang for that little slide thingy that adjusts the size of the chin strap. A new one had to be ordered online and took weeks to arrive from Hong Kong.

    Each time our QB takes a hit, I cringe, only breathing again when I see him groggily stagger to his feet and limp to the sidelines with his chin strap functioning.

  5. 5 TommyLawlor said at 11:58 AM on January 14th, 2014:

    Were you this funny before my Lasik surgery?

  6. 6 BrettConnolly said at 1:34 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    The term “chin strap away” refers to the potential for a starting quarterback to have to come out for a play because his chin strap were to break. He uses chin strap because I think that problem occurs with at least fair frequency in say high school football, where the equipment is cheaper and chin strap buttons can be plastic and crack. I am not sure how often that problem happens in the NFL. But I think he is using it as a catch-all as a way of saying the back up quarterback is “an equipment issue” away from coming in for a play. I think one reason he says this is perhaps he doesnt like to directly say injury which is why he also occasionally knocks on wood when talking about his team and his players. Although it’s true that the back up quarterback is only an injury away from the play, it’s also true that he is an equipment issue away, and I think that’s somewhat broader, implies a little more while also being more palatable. Just my perception on it, but I wanted to offer it because I have heard several bloggers question it, like for instance jmclane

  7. 7 Will Palladino said at 11:15 AM on January 15th, 2014:

    Guys, ‘chin strap away’ simply means the player buckles his chin strap to come into the game. You’ll notice most players have it unbuckled on the sideline. You buckle it and then enter the game. Come on now.

  8. 8 BrettConnolly said at 2:55 PM on January 15th, 2014:


  9. 9 A_T_G said at 3:47 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    Well, I do see things…differently now.

  10. 10 bouldereagle said at 1:24 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    I believe this refers to a college rule. If a players helmet comes off, that player must sit out one play.

  11. 11 Mike Roman said at 9:00 AM on January 14th, 2014:

    “I don’t feel good about the backup quarterbacks. Barkley hasn’t proven anything and neither has Kinne. I would like to see them acquire a couple of quality veteran backups and I would want one of them to be able to run. The key to the quarterbacks is their ability to make good decisions.

    To me, Barkley is a west coast offense quarterback, who doesn’t seem to fit here. I wouldn’t even want to imagine seeing Foles go down and having only Barkley and Kinne to hand the ball to. That’s what you call a nightmare.”


  12. 12 Media Mike said at 5:55 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    G Cobb is a raging imbicile. He was humbled by John Cheney a few years ago for his foolish outlook on life.

  13. 13 RobNE said at 9:13 AM on January 14th, 2014:

    I can’t imagine Vick is back. I want to see Barkley get # 2 reps and not be behind a “veteran” with no upside. I am also not sold on us competing for a SB next year – progress is rarely as linear as that. So I am discounting the probability that we are a backup QB away from a SB (and that the backup > Barkley enough to make the difference) in exchange for wanting to give Barkley a better opportunity to grow. I just like him as a player – his attitude, his background etc.

    We keep him at # 3 and we have the same discussion next year – he got into a game but had # 3 reps so you can’t tell anything.

  14. 14 bill said at 9:22 AM on January 14th, 2014:

    I have no problem with the team saying “the SB is always our goal at the beginning of the season.” But I don’t honestly see this as a SB team next year. The talent gulf between this team and the 49ers and Seahawks is just too large to overcome with anything but pure luck. And I think the defense is unlikely to be good enough to beat the Saints or the Packers in the playoffs with any certainty. Hopefully, by 2015 this team can be as loaded with talent as the Hawks and Niners – the trajectory is certainly correct right now.
    If Vick wants to come back, that’s great, but I can’t imagine that some QB starved team won’t roll the dice with him. Outside of Vick (and I’m not convinced he could do it either), I don’t see any FA QBs that could reliably give you more than Barkley likely will. Of course, as Tommy notes, this is all as an outsider. Kelly is the one who knows whether he can trust Barkley. If he decides the answer is no, I think that would be pretty difficult to argue against after the year he’s just had.

  15. 15 RobNE said at 9:27 AM on January 14th, 2014:

    Agree, if Kelly thinks the gulf between Barkley and new (or Vick) QB2 is wide, so be it. I just think anything close, go with the young guy. I want Barkley to be QB2, I don’t want it handed to him if Kelly thinks he stinks.

  16. 16 D3FB said at 11:05 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    I disagree with the thought that we have no realistic shot at SB next year. We’re the big dog of the NFCE. Once you’re in the playoffs who knows. Yes the Niners and Hawks are the kings of the NFC but who knows what can happen in the playoffs. Hell look at what happened to the Falcons this year. A rash of injuries took them from NFC championship game to the cellar. Plus assuming they are the 1 and 5 seeds again, if we are the 2 or 3 seed we only have to play one of them. In the conference championship game. Panthers don’t really scare me. Beating Brees or Rodgers is certainly a tough task but both those teams are flawed. It’s all about getting in the dance. Crazy stuff happens in the playoffs.

  17. 17 bill said at 8:30 AM on January 15th, 2014:

    Well, I did mention that it could happen with pure luck; the thing is, that’s a thin reed upon which to structure your outlook on the season. Any given Sunday, yada yada, I agree. But realistically, I don’t expect to have an impact OLB, a playmaker in the secondary, and a repeat performance by Foles next year, to say nothing of not suffering any important injuries where they have little depth. If somehow all those things happen, then sure, we can talk about a realistic opportunity to get to the big dance (if Howie can pull off another amazing trade for a LB, that could change things quickly). But right now, in the paper-based early off-season, I don’t see it happening next year. And I don’t think the Eagles should start sacrificing the future to load up for a shot this year, not even at the margins (which isn’t to say that youth should be given a free pass – Kelly’s system seemed to work quite well this year by keeping some vets on the fringes of the roster).

  18. 18 theycallmerob said at 9:32 AM on January 14th, 2014:

    of all the vets available, the one I’d take a long look at (especially for a 1 year deal) is McCown. He obviously had a good year in CHI, but I think he would provide the same level of competition and support that Reid saw in Edwards just last year. Foles credited Trent during a few interviews, and I think the support he received from Vick and Trent played a big hand in his development.

    As RobNE posted above, there’s a big difference in atmosphere at a team’s facility when the veterans take the rookies under their wing (Bennie Logan also alluded to this scenario in this year’s camp), contrasted against the things Sanchez was pulling in NY.

    In my ideal world, Vick has to go. He’ll probably get paid somewhere, and he did great things while here, but it’s time for him to move on. Bring in McCown on a cheap deal, have him compete with Barkley, and draft a younger kid with a later round pick for developmental purposes. Or just keep Kinne on the roster, as QB3/SS/ST/FB.

  19. 19 Tom W said at 1:49 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    Wow .. he is probably second best qb on the market if not first … dont you think he is gonna wanna go some where to start like raiders, titans, jets, jags, bucs .. or atleast chance to start ..vikes, etc … shit he is gonna cost ya too … do you really wanna spend 5-7 mil on a back up qb just for him to compete q barkley … i like the premise but I think he is looking for more opportunity and more money than we should spend … dont wanna be the boyz and spending 5 mil a yr on orton … too much money to not spend on a player who will play every week. Maybe a cheaper vet.

  20. 20 theycallmerob said at 1:58 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    dude’s 35 at start of the year.

    If one of those sucky teams pay him 5-7mil to start, let ’em. That’s why they’re sucky. I can’t imagine he gets that, but if you think so, then of course we pass.

    here’s the top10 from rotoworld:

    1. Michael Vick
    2. Josh McCown
    3. Josh Freeman
    4. Shaun Hill
    5. Chad Henne
    6. Tarvaris Jackson
    7. Colt McCoy
    8. Matt Flynn
    9. Kellen Clemens
    10. Luke McCown

    personally, I like Barkley, and think he’ll improve enough to be the #2. But I’m not impressed by any names on that list after 1 and 2, even as a backup.

  21. 21 anon said at 2:26 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    He might retire. He said he doesn’t want to play anymore if he has to be away from his fam (do’t know where they live). That could have just been positioning to get more money but that’s what he said.

  22. 22 Media Mike said at 5:57 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    I heard some of those same retirement rumblings as well. We’ll see what type of money gets waived at that dude.

  23. 23 A_T_G said at 9:13 AM on January 14th, 2014:

    Chip always says that he doesn’t set the depth chart. I think that will play out here.

    Vick will be decided primarily by other teams. I think he will have an invitation to return as a backup, but may or may not take it based on what is offered to him by other teams.

    Regardless of Vick’s future, I think we will have a veteran in camp, Foles, Barkley, and two young guys – draft picks or Kinne or FAs. Of those five, three will remain into the season.

    If Vick returns, I think it will take a big surprise for Barkley to take the #2 spot from him, so status quo seems likely. If Vick heads to another team, the best outcome is Foles, Barkley, young guy, because that means the coaches are comfortable enough with each of these players that a veteran was deemed unnecessary.

  24. 24 Tom33 said at 9:26 AM on January 14th, 2014:

    I agree with this. The only thing I’d add is that I think having a veteran backup is important in the continued development of Foles. He specifically talked about how much help it was to him all year having Vick around. We can’t lose sight of the fact that Foles is a young guy who has approximately the same # of starts as Geno Smith.

    The issue I think they’ll have is finding another veteran QB who can be effective in Kelly’s system. That’s why I’d really love to have Vick back next year, but as you say, that will be dictated by whether or not another team thinks he can still be a starter.

  25. 25 A_T_G said at 3:50 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    The mentor role has certainly played a part in Foles’ progress. If Chip finds three young guys that he likes, I wonder if a coaching position could be created for a QB that is ready to hang up his cleats and serve that mentor role. Would the effect be the same, or is there something different to having the guy on the other side of the management line?

  26. 26 D3FB said at 10:51 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    I think the intern camp coach position is essential what you are speaking of. Duce held this for a while before he became the coach. Think of Tra Thomas being around last camp. It’s a way for guys to ease into coaching and start to get a feel for their “voice” as a coach. It benefits the team because you can have someone who has recently played the game and can give the player small little tips and tricks to help, while the position coach focuses on bigger picture things.

  27. 27 theycallmerob said at 2:29 AM on January 15th, 2014:

    I, for one, hope Jason Avant becomes the next eagle to take up this role after retirement

  28. 28 A_T_G said at 6:49 AM on January 15th, 2014:

    Yep, Duce is who I was thinking of.

  29. 29 RobNE said at 9:23 AM on January 14th, 2014:

    I am reading Collision Low Crossovers, an inside view of the Jets (2011) and although slow at times, it’s kind of interesting. I am surprised at some of the portrayals. Sanchez is always sending QB3 on food runs like it’s a frat or something, and this in the year where he basically drags down the whole team. Ryan seems to have trouble figuring out how to influence the team without interfering with his coordinators etc. I hope/imagine that Chip’s organization is run a lot more strategically/professionally.

    I see Foles and Barkley as two gym rats pushing each other in a professional way. I want to see that happen.

  30. 30 Anthony Hart said at 9:49 AM on January 14th, 2014:

    Foles and Barkley are two coaches’ sons, lunch pail kind of blue collar guys with some sneaky athleticism.

  31. 31 RobNE said at 11:08 AM on January 14th, 2014:

    if my job was to get better at QB, and every time I went into a morning meeting I had to then leave to fill a food order and miss part of the meeting, I would be really pissed. The coaches letting that happen is also stupid.

  32. 32 D3FB said at 10:46 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    I see what you did here. Bravo. Well played sir.

  33. 33 Anthony Hart said at 2:22 PM on January 15th, 2014:

    I never noticed it until The League episode about it, now it sticks out like a sore thumb.

  34. 34 D3FB said at 3:07 PM on January 15th, 2014:

    It really does. It’s painful to listen to once you become aware of it. They did a great job exposing alot of sports fans to that kind of linguistic bias.

  35. 35 SteveH said at 7:13 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    The fact that the Jets remained committed to Sanchez for as long as they did speaks volumes to their ineptitude at the personnel evaluation level.

  36. 36 suthrneagle said at 9:25 AM on January 14th, 2014:

    Matt Barkley is going to be the #2 QB for the Eagles come September.
    Coach Kelly now has 2 qb`s that played well against him for years .
    I believe that being able to coach Foles helped him in accepting the job here.
    As far as the placement in the draft is concerned, both QB`s had higher evaluations than where they were actually drafted. As everyone can see, many high level drafts are busts and many lower level players end up having stellar careers.

  37. 37 Mark Sitko said at 9:58 AM on January 14th, 2014:

    Chin strap line – I think Chip’s point is that the only difference between being on the sidelines in pads or on the field in pads is the chin strap – you snap it when you go on the field…so when you are the backup all it takes is one injury and boom, snap on that chin strap and go play.

  38. 38 Mark Sitko said at 9:59 AM on January 14th, 2014:

    And to be clear, the chin strap is what holds the helmet on…but I assume you are aware of that…hehe

  39. 39 P_P_K said at 4:25 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    What holds the chin on?

  40. 40 Crus57 said at 7:13 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    The chin strap does, hence the name.

  41. 41 P_P_K said at 9:56 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    OK. What does the jock strap hold on?

  42. 42 TommyLawlor said at 12:01 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    Yeah, the more normal phrase is that you’re an injury away from playing. “A chin strap away” just sounds odd

  43. 43 Mark Sitko said at 12:59 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    Surely Odd – but hey, why would Chip say it like everyone else? Can we be sure that is the best way to say that phrase? Chip leaves no stone unturned…even those of the linguistic variety

  44. 44 Frencheaglesfan said at 10:35 AM on January 14th, 2014:

    I’m pretty sure tommy wanted to say that foles will start 19 games next year!

  45. 45 RobNE said at 11:06 AM on January 14th, 2014:

    you are assuming the bye, I like the way you think.

  46. 46 jshort said at 11:09 AM on January 14th, 2014:

    23 to 24 would be better…thinking preseason too.

  47. 47 TommyLawlor said at 12:01 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    I am happy to be wrong. Well done.

  48. 48 Rage114 said at 10:44 AM on January 14th, 2014:

    I think Barkley will be the back up and I think he will get better with time. That being said, it does make sense to bring in a veteran back up to TC to make sure he doesn’t regress.

    If he regresses, 3rd string. If not, the vet is the 3rd string insurance policy.

    I would not draft a QB unless someone that is highly rated falls for some reason. I just don’t think they have enough depth at other positions to start worrying about making sure the emergency QB over the back up ILB, for instance.

  49. 49 Ark87 said at 11:22 AM on January 14th, 2014:

    I’d bring in a Vet to battle for #2 with Barkley along with Kinne and a UDFa type. Basically if barkley wins , cut the Vet and let kinne or the other person battle for #3. If Barkley loses, he slides to #3 and vet is #2. Officially it will likely be an open competition, though.

  50. 50 Buge Halls said at 11:13 AM on January 14th, 2014:

    I like Barkley as #3 for one more year. I’d like us to bring in a veteran QB (I have no clue who’s available) for a year to help with the mentoring.

  51. 51 Andy124 said at 11:21 AM on January 14th, 2014:

    I’m 100% on board with bringing in a vet to compete with Barkely for the #2 and mentor Foles. Hopefully a vet who’s studied the game for a long time and knows a thing or two to impart to the 2 young guys. Hopefully, Barkely wins the #2 spot over the vet.

    As for bringing in a young guy, I know we always joke about Kinney, but I honestly want to see what he can do in the preseason. What is he, like 2/2 for 60 yards so far? Pretty good start. 🙂

  52. 52 theycallmerob said at 11:45 AM on January 14th, 2014:

    dang- can’t believe we forgot him in yesterday’s article by Sheil about multiple-position players. Kinne can start anywhere on defense or special teams (except kicker, but I bet after a summer’s worth of smoothies he’ll have a stronger leg than Henery)

  53. 53 Andy124 said at 12:03 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    He could be his own gunner after he kicks the ball. He’s that good.

  54. 54 BlindChow said at 3:16 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    Is Trent Edwards still around?

  55. 55 ACViking said at 11:30 AM on January 14th, 2014:

    Re: Decisions, Decisions for “The Kelly System”

    T-Law asked:

    “If the Eagles expect to be a Super Bowl contender next year, do you really want a 2nd year player as your primary backup”

    So it raises two questions: (i) go young or old, and (ii) how much of Foles success was because of “The Kelly System”?

    Regarding the first question, on the one hand, Kelly could follow the Jim Harbaugh model v. 2012. Keep a 2nd-year QB as your back up. That was Colin Kaepernick, who took the job and led SF to the SB.

    Or Kelly could go with the Don Shula model v. 1968 and 1972: Have a proven veteran QB as your backup behind HOF QBs — John Unitas on the Colts and Bob Griese on Miami. Both years Shula relied on Earl Morrall.

    Because of injuries Morrall became the starter on each of those teams. He lost a total of just 2 game in 25 starts in those two seasons. And he took home the MVP award both years.

    All three of those teams had one common denominator: the 49ers in 2012, the Colts in 1968, and the Dolphins in 1972 had defenses that were ranked either 1st or 2nd in points allowed and in the top 3 in yards allowed.

    I think T-Law’s entire post — and not just the SB-bound question — forces the question of “System QBs” back to the surface.

    Foles’ performance this season has been diminished by some as the product of “The Kelly System.” The premise seems to be that anyone who can throw a football more than 10 yards will post lots of TD passes and just a few INTs.

    Ok. Fair enough.

    But what happened when Barkley went out there? Sure, the Eagles trailed and he had the pass, pass, pass. Bad things happened for MB, despite being in “The Kelly System.”

    Foles found himself in that situation in Minnesota. Trailing early, Kelly went essentially to a pass-only offense. And Foles posted 30 points. Not his best game. But productive enough.

    It seems to me that Barkley is evidence — not conclusive proof by any stretch, but just evidence — that Foles’s success this year is not because of “The Kelly System.” Much more to it than that.

    And as for Barkley, the turnovers he committed starkly highlight just how remarkably smart Foles was in 2013 in making decisions.

    So can Barkley run Kelly’s offense the way Foles did if forced into the starters’ role? I don’t know.

    But that’s the question that Kelly and Roseman have to ask about a veteran QB, too. Who out there can run Kelly’s system with 75% of the efficiency of Foles.

    Earl Morrall’s long retired. And the Eagles’ defense doesn’t quite look ready to lead the NFL in points allowed and be among the top 2 or 3 in yards.

    T-LAW . . . who backs up Foles may be the biggest decision of the off-season. Maybe of every off-season. It always was a big deal for Shula. And he was a pretty decent coach.

  56. 56 TommyLawlor said at 12:04 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    David Shula or the older guy? 🙂

  57. 57 ACViking said at 12:40 PM on January 14th, 2014:


    Shula the Younger, as coach of the Bengals, went with David Klingler as his backup QB. And Donald Hollas, too.

    Clearly, he learned nothing from his father all those years he stood on the Colts and Dolphins sideline holding a clipboard for him.

  58. 58 shah8 said at 12:47 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    Barkley, remember, *did* move the ball, as Tommy said. He was just undone by untimely turnovers trying too hard to get a set play to work and be a hero greater than his talents allow for.

    I think if/when Vick leaves, then Kelly will start a search for a veteran. I think there is very little stomach for two young players atop the rotation. Virtually the only youngish QBs that will be considered are the sort of QBs that can challenge Foles. Otherwise, it will be some long toothed vet. Ponder/Webb in 2011/2012 did not work out in the end, mostly because management locked in Ponder, and Webb didn’t get the development he should have gotten. I think, long term, the same thing will happen wrt Foles and Barkley. And this gives me pause, given how I like Barkley better than Foles long term. BPA in the fourth round, even for the likes of Barkley, was probably not the way to go. This really only winds up giving Barkley one or two years to make any sort of impression at all, before he has to win or be dumped, like he’s a junior lawyer at a Big Law law firm. At the end of the day, a vet has to be behind Foles, or someone who can seriously challenge him for the job.

    I think the greater issue will be WRs. I think there is *just* as strong a vacuum force for Maclin as there is for Vick, and I also think that Kelly will have to really sell any WR free agent on the benefits of playing in his run-based system. It won’t be nearly as bad as Paul Johnson having to recruit high school players to play in a system that won’t prepare them much for the NFL, but it will require some real schmoozing.

  59. 59 ACViking said at 1:17 PM on January 14th, 2014:


    I love the Paul Johnson reference. He inherited Calvin Johnson, Demarius Thomas and Steven Hill. Been a dry creek bed ever since.

    WR is a definitely an issue here, for reasons others (including you) have already expressed. For me, I’d like to see an impact slot receiver who’s explosive out of cuts and has some RAC speed.

    As for the back-up QB issue, it’s big. And should be big for every team.

    Interesting point about Barkley’s development or potential lack of, given he’s just a year behind Foles. At USC, Barkley looked lights out. Of course, he had some great talent around him (relative to Foles at AZ).

    What do you think of Jason Campbell (assuming he’s a FA) coming here?

    I’m not sure who else is out there who’s a veteran and not Matt Moore.

    Any thoughts?

  60. 60 shah8 said at 1:48 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    Jason Campbell is essentially Tarvaris Jackson or Alex Smith. Can run a high flying offense, but goes into a hyperconservative shell at times. I’d rather have Tarvaris Jackson. Slow field reader, but generally common sense, and his real issue is that he is fragile, if not quite Jake Locker. Both TJax and Campbell are obviously better QBs than Foles (you know the drill by now). My guess is that Lovie Smith will be the one that manages to get Vick. What happens to the other two as well as Freeman depends on their own teams and the draft. I know Cleveland fans think that Brian Hoyer has some promise, over Campbell, but Hoyer’s work on the field, (I’ve seen him against Minn) is pretty much your stereotypical backup QB, and Hoyer doesn’t actually have better stats than Campbell. Now, Lombardi was playing favorites when he skipped Campbell over for Hoyer, but I do not think any new Cleveland coaching administration is going to have a high opinion of Hoyer. They may well draft someone, and keep Campbell.

    Tarvaris Jackson is a bit more easy. He’s pretty much where people like him while basically being a starting caliber QB, and I suspect that TJax would have to have a serious contract to leave Sea. I think Freeman’s choices are pretty much limited to places with obviously toxic environments, like staying with Minn or going to Oakland. Given the environment in Philly, I strongly suspect that there is close to zero chance for any kind of strong backup QB (outside of an implicit vote of unconfidence in Foles). Those guys will behave like Matt Cassel, who probably went to Minn precisely because he knew Ponder was shit, and he could get a chance to restart a starting career. Little did he know Speilman… Any strong backup will probably have Vick’s actual feelings about backing up Foles, and none of them will come unless they have a real chance at starting. You’d have to talk really old guys like Hasselbeck, guys like Ryan Fitzpatrick, or injury risks like TJax, but Kolb. There is also Dan Orlovsky, TJ Yates (I think), Chad Henne (If Jaguars draft a high QB prospect). There would also be quality backups like Josh Johnson, who I think would not come, even though he’s not starting caliber. He, Joe Webb, and others like them would be instant, young competition for Foles, and you will only see such a signing if Foles is viewed internally as definitely temporary. Guys like John Skelton isn’t coming for the opposite reason in that he’s an even worse fit for the system than Foles.

    Going further, Josh McCown has no strong interest in continuing to play football (time with family issues), and it’s very unlikely that he’d continue with anyone other than Chicago.

    Hmph, I think that’s everything. If I had to put a thumb on anything, I think the most preferred backup, for political, skill, and experience reasons, will be Hasselbeck, if he can be gotten at a decent price. Then perhaps Chad Henne, then Orlovsky. I don’t think Shaun Hill can be pried loose.

  61. 61 mksp said at 6:48 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    Hold on, have to update the “mediocre QBs shah8 think are better than Nick Foles” list:

    Joe Webb
    Matt Ryan
    Mark Sanchez
    Eli Manning
    Andy Dalton
    Geno Smith

    Tavaris Jackson
    Jason Campbell

  62. 62 shah8 said at 8:04 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    Well, let’s put it this way. I think that comparatively speaking, Foles is a welterweight fighter trying to consistently contend in a heavyweight division. From mass/reach to talent conversion, he gives up 23 lbs and 15 in of reach. So of course, Tarvaris Jackson, Alex Smith, and their sort would also be automatically better, so long as they have the basic measure of talent.

  63. 63 shah8 said at 1:57 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    Inherited BeBe. Megatron left before Johnson, and Steven Hill was his one signature recruit on offense that turned out to be anyone, and he has stone hands. Not inconsistent hands like BeBe, but *stone* hands.

  64. 64 A Roy said at 1:17 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    George Blanda subbing for Daryle Lamonica is another example of having an experienced backup at the right time. Blanda was the hero of all middle aged guys in 1968.

  65. 65 ACViking said at 1:19 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    George Blanda . . . . Uncanny relief QB.

    Al Davis (before 2002) was genius. Picking up Blanda from the Oilers is a perfect example.

    AR . . . Great, great choice of “Super-Sub QB”

  66. 66 A Roy said at 1:22 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    I just try to fill in around the edges. You usually provide the main premise and the bulk of the information.

  67. 67 Iskar36 said at 12:39 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    “I’m sure many of you hate the idea of Barkley as the primary backup, but remember that the Eagles really wanted him.”

    This is all true, and I have no issue with the Eagles having confidence in Barkley, but keep in mind, they also “really liked” Chung. I think it is important that they question and challenge their evaluations of Barkley (or any of their players from last year for that matter). To me, I have no problem with Barkley earning the backup role, but as we saw with Vick vs. Foles, competition is extremely valuable. Handing Barkley the backup spot without strong competition added to the mix is a mistake.

    Also, to add importance to the backup role, while we are working with an extremely small sample size that is way to early to determine if it is a trend, keep in in mind that Foles has been injured a couple times already. If that proves to be something that happens to Foles in the future, the backup may be expected to come in to a few games and even win a few games.

  68. 68 A Roy said at 1:12 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    Personally, I would be happy with the same 3 QBs. I think someone, though, will sign 7 to be their starter. At that point, the Eagles need to bring someone in who can press/replace Barkley as the #2 and start a couple games in a pinch.

    Who that is, I dunno, but I would not be real confident in another rookie, even though my expectation is they are still 2 good drafts and another year of defensive improvement away from becoming an elite team.

  69. 69 mksp said at 1:14 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    Barkley is an asset. Let him backup Foles, let him wow people during the preseason, play well in a spot start or two, and move him for picks next year.

    Focus should be on developing Barkley and making him a viable trade chip.

  70. 70 bridgecoach said at 1:24 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    How great is it to head into an offseason with confidence in the Eagles coaching staff?!! If Chip Kelly and Bill Lazor like what they have with Matt Barkley – terrific! I’m on board. If they want to look around or move in another direction – fine. Either way, I don’t see how anyone can come out of this innaugeral season with Chip Kelly at the helm and say anything other than the Eagles have taken flight!

  71. 71 Tom W said at 1:46 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    On being fine w Barkley as the backup, my reasoning is more related to
    to being able to draft a qb in rd 5 or 7 to develop behind foles and
    barkley. Two guys I really like .. Taj Boyd and Stephen Morris are two
    very athletic and talented qbs who could have some potential down the
    road if Chip and Lazor get them in and work on their mechanics and

    By bringing in a vet we are discounting Barkley and
    preventing the team from drafting another potential stud at qb we can
    have grow or trade for better draft picks in the future … that is the
    way the skins and packers successfully acquired picks in the last 15
    years … draft picks are the lifeblood … lets do anything to get

    Also having 2 young potential qbs in Barkley and a guy we
    draft this year, gives us two options for the future in case foles craps
    out (doubtful I know).

    a good vet is helpful for a game, but I
    don’t think we can afford the money that McKown is gonna get as arguably
    the second best qb on the market … shit some shit team like the
    Titans or Raiders may give him an opportunity to start .. also lets not
    be the cowboyz and pay a backup qb 5 mil a year … just silly …
    presumably if barkley has a week to get all the reps (and another
    offseason) he will be more than capable to be good #2. 2 games he got
    thrown into down big points is not an indication of much if anything.
    Gotta see what we got in barkley. Want another prospect Chip can
    groom. get younger not older.

  72. 72 mksp said at 1:55 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    Brett Smith (Wyoming) is my guy in late rounds. Taj will go too high (2nd – 3rd round) and I hate Stephen Morris.

  73. 73 theycallmerob said at 1:59 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    I like Smith as well, WAY more than Logan Thomas (another name that’s come up in past discussions). I guess my #2 late round guy would be Lynch from northern illinois

  74. 74 Andy124 said at 2:04 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    What about the kid from Missouri?

  75. 75 theycallmerob said at 2:07 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    can’t say I’m familiar. Spent waaaay more time scouting DBs and OLBs, even some WRs, but not much with the QBs.

  76. 76 Andy124 said at 2:10 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    Decent size, pretty good atheleticism, good passing numbers, but in a spread scheme that will inflate your passing numbers (Blaine Gabbert). No idea about arm strength, football iq or anything.

  77. 77 D3FB said at 10:25 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    Thought I saw some intriguing things live. Haven’t done any tape study outside of what I’ve seen out the the corner of my eye while watching Justin Britt the LT. Wouldn’t hate him as a UDFA. One thing I can say is alot of college football guys thought that by the end of the year Mauk was a better QB option for the Tigers than Franklin was.

  78. 78 Andy124 said at 7:39 AM on January 15th, 2014:

    Thanks for the input. Most of my memories of him are from a year or two ago and are colored by the announcers raving about him.

  79. 79 D3FB said at 10:23 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    I’m not a lynch fan. He’s a hell of a kid and good football player but not a good QB. He doesn’t have a very good arm in terms of velocity or accuracy. He measured in at 6003. That’s really short.

  80. 80 Tom W said at 2:04 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    I’m seeing 5th round grades on taj but you are probably right.

    Smith is a guy I need to watch more in the next couple months but I’ve heard good things from my friends in the pacific northwest.

  81. 81 Rambler said at 3:17 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    As a Buckeye fan, I really am curious about Kenny Guiton. He will probably end up in a camp as an undrafted free agent, but I really think he can make a roster as a developmental QB. His skill set is intriguing to me as a fit for Chip Kelly’s offense with the Eagles.

  82. 82 D3FB said at 10:19 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    Guiton could be a possibility if we bring in a vet. He would be a PS squad guy and would be competing more with GJ Kinnie for a job rather than being a number 3.

  83. 83 Rambler said at 11:36 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    I really do not see him with the Eagles, just more of a wishful scenario since I am a fan of both teams. I am intrigued by his skill set and do think he can develop into an eventual back end QB with the right coaching. But who knows, really depends on the situation and which camp he ends up in.

  84. 84 Cafone said at 2:07 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    By the start of the 2015 season, the Foles/Barkley QB controversy will dominate sports discussions in Philadelphia.

  85. 85 anon said at 2:20 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    I think it’s disingenuous to bring up those rookie stats and not mention the Ds against which those stats came. Cowgirls were historically bad this year. I think the giants secondary was pretty awful as well.

    But your article does make me not want to write him off as much as i did 6 weeks ago.

  86. 86 Media Mike said at 6:00 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    The important point from what Tommy wrote was the arm strength element. Barkley totally put that concern to bed.

  87. 87 anon said at 12:25 AM on January 15th, 2014:

    Yes but we’ve argued that arm strength i sucks especially if coupled with bad decision making. But whatever he’s a rook, i hope he gets better. Best of luck in the offseason MB.

  88. 88 Baloophi said at 2:39 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    “The first person in the building.”

    How big is the NovaCare complex? It seems like we have at least 20 players/coaches/front office people who claim to be the first person in the building. Maybe a system of closed-circuit cameras with synchronized time-code can finally settle this once and for all, but my money is on the janitor.

    Don’t get me wrong – I’d love for everyone to have that mentality, but it’s become a funny cliche to me, like the steady inflation of people giving 100% – we’re up to like 115% now, right? I’d also like to see people leaving not just everything they have on the field, but also everything their neighbors’ have on the field, too – now that’s dedication.

    Back on the “first person in the building” issue, when Mrs. Baloophi attended law school there were four spots right in front of the building and the rest were in a parking lot across the street. Apparently there was an informal yet intense competition among the students to claim those spots (by getting there early / staying late). Those who parked there were called “gunners”… though I doubt it had any relation to their ability to race down the sideline and tackle returners while simultaneously keeping contain. From my understanding, they could also be called “a-holes”… and that’s coming from fellow law students (apologies to AC and other attorneys… but you know what I mean).

    In my own experience, the first people in the building aren’t necessarily the hardest workers… they may just have unhappy home lives, want to leave early, or don’t want to buy a coffee maker.

    What other real-life experiences do folks have with first people in the building?

  89. 89 bill said at 3:10 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    Yeah, there’s definitely a pathology in big business (which many law firms are) based upon the fact that it’s more important to be seen “working harder than the competition” than it is to actually be productive. If other assets were wasted the way “employee-hours” are, the accountants would be going nuts – it’s the only asset where efficiency is actively disdained. The extra problem with law firms is that the billable hour leads many to blur those two concepts to the point where they believe that they are actually the same thing.

  90. 90 RobNE said at 3:21 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    the problem with law firms is defining success as “it was 4 pm on Friday. Client called with BF deal. We worked ALL weekend everyone canceled all their plans we went home for 2 hours each night. On Monday client decided not to go forward, but told me they really appreciated all of our work.”

    Yeah team!! At some point, it’s years later, you hear another of these stories and you say I do not think that word means what you think it means. And you get out.

  91. 91 Baloophi said at 5:03 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    Another group-think time phenomena is “work expands to fill the time allotted.” Which is – I think – also a law of gas in physics, but I’ll yield to people who are much smarter than me on that one (a.k.a. everyone else).

    For example, I find that a deadline can lead to an inefficient dispersal of work across the entire timeline as opposed to applying the exact effort that particular project requires. A cousin of procrastination – perhaps – though it doesn’t seem to stem from a lack of work ethic. A bizarre real-world example would be knowing you need to mow the lawn on Saturday before the sun sets, and then doing it one-lap-at-a-time throughout the day as opposed to a targeted half hour strike.

    So even in a business where you’re not billing hours or the culture demands that you be seen working harder than others, it’s possible for work to take much longer than necessary. Also, and this might be slightly different, but I know we often fight a nagging “can this be better?” factor that lingers until the deadline. Applied to the bizarre example above, you might finish mowing the lawn at 7:30 AM and then spend the rest of the day measuring the length of individual blades of grass.

    I should also say that with a deadline the converse of this law is sadly not true: time does NOT expand to fill the work required. I’m sure we’ve all been there a few times…

  92. 92 Mac said at 3:11 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    I’ve never been able to wake up early enough to realize that there were people who got to a building first.

  93. 93 ACViking said at 3:19 PM on January 14th, 2014:


    Love the story.

    Two lessons I’ve learned as a lawyer.

    First, you’ve never really tried a case until you’ve spent a couple of months in federal court trying a multi-defendant criminal fraud case.

    Second, the two highest compliments you can receive from other lawyers are to be called: (i) “a good attorney”; and (ii) an “a**-hole”.

    So no apologies necessary.

  94. 94 Baloophi said at 4:32 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    Love this.

  95. 95 A_T_G said at 3:56 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    The inside scoop is that this guy not only is the first to work each day, but that he never leaves. That is dedication for you. Also, as you noted, his home life is pretty much garbage.

  96. 96 Westpaceagle said at 11:50 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    If you are not giving 150% you are a complete POS.
    On a related topic, let’s talk about gorilla inflation. Just how big is that freakin gorilla in the room? It started with 600 pounds, then 800 pounds, then 1000lbs… That’s a big damn gorilla in the room, and apparently no one ever talks about him, which is kind of sad. Just because he is big doesn’t mean he doesn’t have feelings.
    Now I deliberately try to make the gorilla as heavy as possible to see if anyone notices and calls me on it. Go ahead and give it a try. Next time you have the opportunity try “Ok, let’s talk about the 10,000 pound gorilla in the room…” ect. ect. I call you a winner if you make it to 1 million pounds without someone saying “…wait, what?” Then again I wonder how much King Kong weighed…hmmm

  97. 97 Andy124 said at 11:13 AM on January 15th, 2014:

    The gorilla has become the elephant.

  98. 98 Joe Minx said at 5:10 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    Poop! Looks like Lazor’s off to be the Lions OC.

  99. 99 Media Mike said at 6:01 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    I’m happy for him. Good coach getting a better position and a pay raise. We’re a premier destination for coaching talent and I think we’ll be able to replace a good coach with a good coach.

  100. 100 Tumtum said at 7:21 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    That is a bummer. I will now not remeber the great Dr. Evil quote in my head every time I he is mentioned: “Its a freaking Lazor!”.

    If Foles regresses I will be muy sad face…even though some statistical regression is to be expected.

  101. 101 ojdiddoit said at 5:17 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    they didn’t re-sign gj or jg kinne or whatever his name is for just kicks did they

  102. 102 A_T_G said at 6:31 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    He might be able to offer competition on kicks, though.

  103. 103 BC1968 said at 7:19 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    D.B. Cooper Award. Brilliant.

  104. 104 BC1968 said at 7:20 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    He didn’t make it, but he wrankled Hoover’s panties that’s for sure.

  105. 105 Cafone said at 8:06 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    Don’t miss this one: Why The Eagles Must Upgrade From Riley Cooper

    Short summary: he’s not only not very good, but he’s a liability that enables defenses to pack the box since nobody considers him to be a threat.

  106. 106 ezgreene said at 8:30 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    Recently tried that Fanspeak mock.

    1st round

    2nd round

    3rd Round


    4th Round

    5th Round A


    5th Round B

    7th Round


  107. 107 D3FB said at 11:20 PM on January 14th, 2014:

    Backup QBs who aren’t necessarily proven or good for teams with playoff aspirations this past year:
    49ers: COLT MCCOY
    Broncos: Brock Osweiler
    KC: Chase Daniels (more experienced, hasn’t really played)
    Pats: Ryan Mallet
    Giants: Curtis Painer
    Falcons: Dominque Davis

  108. 108 SteveH said at 12:00 AM on January 15th, 2014:

    Oof, Curtis Painter. That’s rough.

  109. 109 Tumtum said at 10:14 AM on January 15th, 2014:

    I’ve got to disagree on a few.

    McCoy started as a 3rd round rookie, did okay for a terrible franchise
    Talk of Oswiler being their heir apparent
    Daniel has looked decent when he has played
    Hear Patriots are very high on Mallet (also heir apparent?)