PHILADELPHIA, PA (CBS) — Matt Barkley created a problem on Sunday—and it was very much his intention to do so. The third-year quarterback out of USC looked very sharp in the Eagles’ 36-10 preseason win over the visiting Indianapolis Colts, possibly complicating further a murky backup quarterback picture.
Barkley, who has the most experience in Chip Kelly’s offense of the four quarterbacks the Eagles have in camp, connected on 12 of 20 passes for 192 yards, and an interception, which came off a deflection in the second quarter. He led the Eagles to three scoring drives. Receivers caught his passes in stride, not waiting on them, his comfort zone was far greater than it ever was, and he may have forced Kelly and the Eagles’ coaching staff to reconsider their quarterback order after Sam Bradford.
Mark Sanchez, who started for Bradford, was 2-for-7, for 52 yards and a touchdown. But his arm strength seemed lacking. He underthrew a wide open Trey Burton on the Eagles’ first play, and his two completions were not accurate, either. Jordan Matthews had to wait on the ball on Sanchez’ first completion and Nelson Agholor benefitted from faulty Colts’ defense than anything Sanchez did.
In contrast, Barkley may have made an argument for himself as the backup to Bradford. Or helped himself in another direction for teams looking for a quarterback.
“I felt good, I felt comfortable, I’ve felt natural in this offense for quite some time now, so I wanted to put everything together in a full game and go up against a defense that doesn’t know all of our plays, and a defense that wasn’t used to our tempo” Barkley said. “I feel we got into a fast rhythm. That’s the way this offense runs. I think it starts with my confidence is back and I’m able to put the ball where I wanted. It just comes down the basics, focusing on my foot work and my read. Everything else comes naturally. The game is slower. It’s definitely easier to see everything. I understand now how coach Kelly calls his plays and how he is forming different setups for different plays. I understand where he is coming from now.
“Being the most experienced quarterback in this offense gives me the advantage of knowing what coach Kelly wants, and how he wants his quarterback to play. I think the injury that I had my first year, which kind of trickled into my second year, set me back. Definitely that first year of not having that arm strength and not being able to throw like I normally could definitely hit my confidence. That’s all squared away. I’m good to go.”
Kelly actually said he thought Tebow threw the ball well, in reference to his mechanics. Tebow was 6-for-12 for 69 yards, but there was a marked difference in how accurate he was as opposed to Barkley.
“I think there were some things that were decent and come things that we have to work on,” Tebow said. “I’m just trying to be more consistent and improve communication with the offensive line and receivers. That’s a big key, especially when you’re running a fast tempo in this offense.”