Mark Sanchez Shines in Backup Role
Mark Sanchez has no delusions about where he stands in the pecking order of Eagles quarterbacks. He's competing with Matt Barkley to be Nick Foles' backup, and there's no guarantee that he makes the team if he doesn't win that job.
However, another solid outing from Sanchez has widen the gap in the role of back-up quarterback. Sanchez completed 11-of-12 passes for 117 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception in the Eagles' second preseason game.
(Listen to Mark Sanchez talk to our Eagles Insider Scott Grayson after the Patriots game)
But his preseason play has been so solid, through two exhibition affairs, Sanchez is 18-of-22 passing for 196 yards, the two scores, and one pick. With those numbers and his experience, there is a chance that other teams could come calling and the Eagles would have a tough decisions to make - trade Sanchez and stick with Barkley or keep Sanchez and have Barkley stick around as the third stringer.
"I mean, we'll listen to anything for anybody," Eagles head coach Chip Kelly explained. "We're not going to bury our head in the sand and say no. But it better be a pretty good deal in terms of what it is. But that's not any of our thought process. We need him. In terms of how he's playing right now, how he can function in what we're doing, and I've always said you need to have two quarterbacks."
Philadelphia acquired Sanchez in the offseason as free agent after starting 68 games with the Jets, who had drafted him in the 2009 draft. The Eagles' belief is that you always need two good quarterbacks and that's why they brought Sanchez in.
The move was a surprise considering that the team traded up to draft Barkley in the 2013 fourth round. Once considered a possible first round pick, Barkley has not impressed in limited time. However, the Eagles remain confident in Barkley, which means if something of value was offered for Sanchez, they would have to think about it.
"Yeah, I think Matt can play," Kelly stated. "He threw one interception on an unbelievable ball that bounced straight up in the air, but I feel real confident. We have one of the better quarterback situations in the league with the three of those guys."
"We're really happy about him (Sanchez)," Kelly admitted. "I feel very, very confident in our quarterback situation, probably better than a lot of teams in this league going into it because I think we have two guys right now that have actually played in games. That's, I think, Mark has 68 games under his resume and is playing at a really high level right now. Obviously, Nick coming off an outstanding season last year, so we feel really confident. But I'm also a big guy that you better have two quarterbacks in this league. So unless something blows you out of the water, we're really confident with Mark coming and starting the game for the Eagles."
Even though Kelly says they are confident in Sanchez, the team could elect to keep just two quarterbacks, which means Barkley could be playing not just for the backup job but a job of any kind in Philadelphia, something that will be determined during the preseason.
He was 9 of 12 for 132 yards in Friday's preseason game against New England, entering the game behind Foles and Sanchez. His up-and-down night included one touchdown and one interception. He did lead a 8-play, 77 yard drive that resulted in a touchdown pass to rookie running back Henry Josey.
It was a mixed bag for Barkley, one that didn't make it any easier to project where he'll end up in Philadelphia's backup quarterback competition.