Quite a few ears perked up when Matt Barkley boldly proclaimed he could come in as a rookie and compete for the Eagles’ starting quarterback job. Two weeks later, the kid from Southern California is only furthering his case.
Barkley, a fourth-round pick, continues to look like a seasoned veteran in practice despite being buried behind Mike Vick and Nick Foles on the unofficial depth chart.
“There is a reason why he’s started every game in high school and every game in college, because he was prepared for it,” coach Chip Kelly said. “I think when you’re around him, you understand that. It’s not just he’s so much more gifted than anybody else. It’s really how hard he works at the game. Lot of fun to be around and lot of fun to coach.”
Obviously Kelly thought highly of Barkley before drafting him. His Oregon teams played against Barkley’s USC teams often in recent seasons. Early on, before any rookie camps or OTAs, the new Eagles coach declared the starting job would be an open competition.
“I’ll get to know those guys,” Barkley said on the first day of rookie camp, referring to Vick and Foles, “and I’m sure from what I’ve heard they are outstanding men, but you come in knowing that you have a job and they’re trying to take that job as well, so it’s competition, you know. Competing is what it’s all about.”
Kelly called Tuesday’s practice a big insertion day, as he tweaks the offense to his specifications. He had members of his coaching staff wear makeshift fly swatters on their shoulders to simulate a pass rush.
“We made those at Oregon,” Kelly said. “It’s the exact height of a 6-foot-4 defensive lineman with his hands up. You can’t throw over everybody, so you have to throw through throwing lanes. It’s the best way we can simulate that.”