Eagles’ QB Competition Takes Shape
At the start of this week, the on-the-field portion of the Philadelphia Eagles competition for the 2013 starting quarterback position officially got underway with the beginning of Organized Team Activities at The Nova Care Center.
Monday marked the first time that all of fourth-round pick Matt Barkley, free agent acquisition Dennis Dixon, the re-signed Mike Vick and second-year man and fan favorite Nick Foles were on the field taking reps with the team. In the only practice made available this week on Monday, all eyes were predictably on Barkley to see just how much or little he'd do now that the majority of the team was in attendance.
To start things off, it was Vick and Foles getting more reps than the former USC signal caller. Head Coach Chip said Barkley should have the attitude like he is the starting quarterback.
"I hope so," stated Kelly, refurring to Barkley's attitude about being the starting quarterback. "I would hope anybody that came into this place isn't sitting here and saying I think I'm going to be a really good, solid backup. I want our guys to come in here and show us everything that they can do, and our job as a coaching staff is to put the best guys on the field the first game against Washington that will help us win, and if that's Matt, that's Matt, so we'll see how that goes. But if anybody came in here and said they were really vying for a backup job, then they would probably be on the bus down 95 pretty quick."
In the meantime, while he's not behind center Barkley must make good use of his practice time to stay on the same plane as both Vick and Foles. To do that, it's all about keeping the mind sharp and on the ready.
"Matt has been really good," Kelly said. "We've had him for three days. Really thought he picked things up quickly. He's an extremely hard worker. He's here every morning at six a.m. working at whatever it is to work on."
The whole notion of a quarterback competition is something new to Barkley's opponents. Since entering the league, Vick has pretty much been handed the starting role, the only two seasons he wasn't the opening day starter was in 2009, his first season with the Eagles when Donovan McNabb was still an Eagle and in 2010 when Kevin Kolb was given the starting role only to lose it to Vick early in the season.
For Foles, he took over as the starter when Vick was injured, and went 1-5 during his six starts. Now he is witnessing the team make additions to his position both through free agency and the draft.
In that respect, Foles may have the most motivation to show Kelly that he belongs.
Vick opened up with the first team on Monday and the starting gig is clearly his to lose. But coach Kelly isn't going to just hand the job over on a silver platter.
"We're just trying to get reps off and trying to get film and look at it," Kelly said. "It's May 13 and we've got a long ways to go before we ever set a depth chart or do anything like that."
Not having to battle for his starting spot in a very long time, Barkley is just attempting to soak it all in while working both with and against Vick and Foles.
According to NFL.com's Albert Breer, Barkley has displayed "fantastic accuracy" in Eagles rookie minicamp. However, Breer admits there's a "sizable" gap in arm strength between Barkley and Vick.
The quarterbacking trio and the rest of the Eagles will reconvene on Monday, May 20 for the second set of the voluntary workouts.