Philadelphia Eagles’ head coach Chip Kelly announced Saturday that quarterback Matt Barkley will get an extended opportunity to play, and will in fact start the final preseason game against the Jets. As a huge Matt Barkley fan, that game is going to be a real treat.
It will be interesting to see how far he has come since last year, and to see the potential of how far he may go. Will he eventually be a starter one day for the Philadelphia Eagles? Time will tell. Quarterback Nick Foles have a tighter grip on that starting position than a wino clutching a 40 oz. It will take a miracle, and an extremely poor, showing on a consecutive basis from Nick Foles before Barkely is ever remotely considered for a starting role in this offense.
In the meantime, I would hope he is comfortable knowing he is a backup. Thursday’s game will give Barkley the opportunity to show the coaches that he is not a talent bust, and that he has what it takes to be a reliable and serviceable backup and future starter. For fans like me, it is an opportunity to see if Barkley can carve up a defense like Thanksgiving turkey, or if he is justifiably a third-string quarterback.
Chip plays to his players’ strengths, while also utilizing his scheme/game plan. How exactly will he play to Barkley’s talents and abilities while also putting Barkley in the best position to make plays, and score some points? Barkley is not a traditional scrambler. For that matter, neither is Nick Foles, but will there be any option plays dialed up, with Barkley opting to keep the ball and run for some yards? Will Barkley show the intelligence, wherewithal, and precision that made him a once coveted player, and potential franchise quarterback? Will he show that at the very least, Chip Kelly, and Philadelphia can trust him to answer the phone when his number is dialed, and go out and win ball games? It’s preseason, it’s preseason, and it is preseason. I get that. Nevertheless, a lot is riding on how he performs in this last game. The way that quarterback Mark Sanchez have been handling the second-string quarterback position, Barkley needs to put on in a damn big way, or I fear that he may be drowned out by lack of opportunity.