The Eagles have commenced their first ever training camp under new head coach Chip Kelly amidst plenty of buzz and excitement from fans all over the Delaware Valley. For the first time in a very long time Eagles training camp is taking place right in Philly as opposed to shipping everyone up to Lehigh. Most of us are excited for the Chip Kelly era and what it will offer. So many questions surround the team going into training camp 2013 but none bigger than the question of who will be the starting QB come opening night in Washington.
The 3 candidates battling for the starting spot include veteran Mike Vick, 2nd year QB Nick Foles, and rookie QB Matt Barkley. Coach Kelly has been asked repeatedly throughout the off-season who he’ll pick as his starter and each time the question is shot down. Kelly will evaluate all his talent and base his decision on what he sees over the next few weeks. Rookie or veteran, everyone has a shot to be a starter on Chip Kelly’s team. The QB competition is sure to heat up over the next few weeks and the way I see it any of these guys could win the position. There’s a difference though between who I think will win the competition and who I think should actually be the starter going into 2013 so let’s examine.
I may shock a few of you out there but if I were coach Kelly right now I’d strongly consider starting Matt Barkley as your QB in 2013. Some of you are probably thinking are you crazy John, you’d start an inexperienced rookie. Most of the time I wouldn’t lean that way but for those of you out there who have followed Barkley’s career at USC you can see he’s a special talent. He reminds me of a combination of Aaron Rodgers and Drew Breeze. Great size, great arm, and great pocket presence. First off, if you examine the league trends right now the NFL is a young man’s league, especially at the QB position. Look at last season alone, Colin Kapernick, Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, and Ryan Tannehill all were starting QB’s by the end of the season and all of them were effective at some point. Tannehill didn’t have quite the season as the other guys but still the Dolphins QB showed promise as a rookie with a far less talented team than the other QB’s were surrounded with. The other 4 names I mentioned were all out of this world last year, especially as a rookie QB. The NFL is a young man’s game these days and with the recent success of so many rookie QB’s Barkley seems ripe for solid rookie campaign under a great offensive mind like Chip Kelly.
Barkley has started all 4 years at USC, which is nothing short of a college football powerhouse and almost could be considered like playing for an NFL team. Prior to USC Barkley started all 4 seasons as a high school QB so clearly he’s got the pedigree you need for a great QB. Some of you are probably thinking, well look at prior USC QB’s that have recently played in the NFL. Three that immediately come to mind are Carson Palmer, Matt Leinert, and Mark Sanchez. All 3 of them were standout QB’s at USC and played out of their mind during their college football days. It was a different story once these guys ended up in the NFL. Leinert is nothing more than a backup at this point and never really even stuck as a starting QB other than a season or two in Arizona. Palmer had some success as a starter with the Bengals but eventually injuries caught up to him and now as a Raider he just appears to be old and broken down. The jury is still out on Mark Sanchez who looked great early on in his career but over the past few seasons he’s clearly been a disappointment. So why would Barkley be any different? Barkley started all 4 years at USC that’s why. He had the opportunity to join the NFL after his Jr season and didn’t. Barkley would have easily been a top 10 or possibly even top 5 pick if he came out after his Jr year at USC. His senior year was tarnished by injuries but the bottom line is Barkley proved himself as a legitimate QB for a great school while in college. The other USC qb’s didn’t get the experience in college that Barkley was able to get nor did they start all 4 years while at USC. Barkley is already a step ahead of all of those guys when you factor in his experience in college.
Chip Kelly is entering his first year as a head coach. Why not start fresh with a new QB. Mike Vick/Nick Foles represent the Andy Reid era which is a thing of the past. Nick Foles is a solid backup but I don’t think he’ll ever be a top flight QB in the NFL. Barkley has a football pedigree and was hand picked by Chip Kelly in this years draft. It makes total sense to start the new era with a new QB. Barkley will play with a chip on his shoulder knowing he was passed up by so many teams and dropped to the 4th round after he was projected to be a top 10 pick if he would have left USC after his Jr season. At 23 years of age Barkley is a great choice to lead this new offense and new look Eagles into the future.
So I think Matt Barkley should be the Eagles starting QB entering 2013 but will he. I think it’ll end up being Mike Vick. Sure Chip Kelly traditionally loves to have a mobile QB at the helm but that’s not why I think Vick will win the job. Vick resembles a video game or a toy for coaches. Regardless of how awful his decision making is he still gives any coach the most options for different types of plays. Over the year’s coaches have been fooled by Vicks athleticism and they’ve all thought they would be the one who’s able to take him to the next level and make him a top 3 QB in the NFL. So far no one has been successful but Chip Kelly prides himself on being an offensive guru. With that said the only reason I think Vick will be named started is because Chip Kelly won’t let his ego name anyone else the starter. He wants to prove everyone in the NFL wrong and show them that he can take a 33 year old Mike Vick and turn him into a sensational QB that’s capable of taking his team on a championship run.
The future of this team is Matt Barkley, but Chip Kelly will be like every other coach before him and pick the most exciting car in the shop. Vick still provides coaches around the world with a sense of intrigue and accomplishment when he’s actually on his game and for that reason I think Chip Kelly will ultimately choose Mike Vick as his starter in 2013 even though it should be Matt Barkley.