Expect Matt Barkley to be a Part of Eagles QB Competition
The Eagles' quarterback competition will be better armed this season.
That was evident from the start of Philadelphia's rookie minicamp, which began on a clear Monday afternoon, the only thing not clear is who will be under center for the team's opener vs. Washington.
"It's May 13th," Eagles head coach Chip Kelly explained time and time again on Monday. "We've got a long ways to go before we ever set a depth chart or do anything like that."
Quarterback Matt Barkley – the team's fourth-round pick – took the field, with the confidence that he would be in the mix for the starting job when training camp rolls around in August. Barkley along with second year man Nick Foles are in competition with 33-year old veteran Mike Vick for the starting job and feel this is an fair and open competition.
"I want our guys to come in here and show us everything that they can do," Kelly said. "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."
He is 6 feet 2, 227 pounds and has the swagger and confidence needed to succeed at the NFL level, he's a hard worker that has been arriving every morning at 6am. He has a great football background and is filled with more experience then almost any other rookie quarterback could have.
Barkley was the fourth of eight players Philadelphia drafted last month, and Monday was the first time for them to take the field. While they weren't wearing pads they did wear helmets as they tried to grab hold of the opportunity now in front of them.
"They've been great," Kelly said about the rookies and players." "I'm giving those guys a ton of credit. They've been fantastic in terms of learning, wanting to figure everything out. Really happy with where they are right now."
Barkley was a surprise pick. No one foresaw the Eagles trading up to choose a quarterback after Geno Smith and E.J. Manuel were off-the-board. Not only because Michael Vick was re-signed and brought back, but Kelly sounded pleased with Foles, a third-round pick a year ago. Not only did Philadelphia draft Barkley, but it brought in former Oregon QB Dennis Dixon and G.J. Kinne to compete in camp. It is expected the first three will compete for a the starting job.
That's all part of the plan for Kelly, he has preached competition. While many feel it it's a two horse race, don't count the rookie out.
"I hope so," Kelly said about Barkley competing for the starting job. "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."
Right now, it's all excitement and anticipation. The Eagles rookie class is finally here through, and in the first day right tackle Lane Johnson, the team's first-round pick, looked as solid as the Eagles could have expected and probably will replace second-year man Dennis Kelly who took most of the first team reps on Monday.
"Yeah, he's been here three days," joked Kelly. "So for three days he's been the best offensive tackle we've ever drafted."
Chris Gocong is back. A linebacker chosen in the third round in 2006 out of Cal Poly, Gocong is coming off a torn right Achilles' tendon, he suffered the injury in August of 2012, but he could be a factor this season.
But Friday was like new employee orientation for players like Barkley, who took his first steps as a Eagle. Foles knows exactly what Barkley is going through and hopes he is a factor in the QB competition.
"Whoever is the best, whoever is the quarterback that can win games will be the ones that plays," Foles said. "It's that simple."
So Eagles fans, who will be the Eagles starting QB on opening night vs. Washington?