Matt Barkley sat through two days of grueling agony. Anticipation burned inside the USC graduate, as he waited to learn the whereabouts of a bright future. Fast forward a month, and the California native has arrived in Philly with emphatic fashion.
Daily reporters claim that Barkley is “turning heads” at practice. Barkley’s ability to place accuracy, touch, and zip on the ball have vaulted him into the starting QB conversation: “I think I’ve progressed the way I’m supposed to be progressing,” Barkley claims. “There’s been something new every day, so you always want to stay on top f that.”
In a pool of five quarterbacks, only one will emerge as the opening day starter; however, intangibles give Barkley a credible resumé for the job.
Firstly, Barkley started every game from high school through college. This feat is unprecedented, even historic to the NFL QB. More importantly, it removes a great chunk of the “learning curve” a rookie QB must venture through. Compared to E.J. Manuel and Geno Smith, Barkley is a much more polished QB. “I don’t know if anybody’s done that, having that much experience coming in as a rookie,” Head Coach Chip Kelly acknowledged during his pres conference last week.
This has already translated to Eagles Organized Team Activities. Chip Kelly has praised Barkley on numerous occasions for his ability to line players up correctly and identify offensive concepts. Having studied at a prestigious college such as USC, Barkley is mentally capable of starting at QB. His intelligence will equate to strong decision-making with the football, as well as being able to read defenses and adjust. Chip Kelly’s fast-paced offense requires one prerequisite: that the QB takes utmost care of the football to maximize productivity.
Chip Kelly’s previous quarterback, Marcus Mariota, threw a scarce six interceptions in the 2011-2012 season. In comparison to Mariota, Barkley exhibits similar statistics. According to ESPN, the pair posted similar interception totals, though Barkley attempted more passes this past season. Both threw over 30 touchdown passes for their respective offenses. In completion percentage, Barkley and Mariota hover around 65%. What Barkley lacks in speed, he makes up for in mobility, as he only surrendered fourteen sacks this past season. Barkley also averages .7 yards more per attempt, a number that will drop in Chip Kelly’s short-passing offense.
The statistics tell the tale: Mat Barkley can play quarterback in Chip Kelly’s offense. While Michael Vick and Nick Foles possess obvious flaws, Barkley looks the most polished QB. Should the underdog win the starting quarterback job, Barkley will be ready, Kelly assured: “There is a reason why he’s started every game in high school and every game in college, because he was prepared for it.”