Matt Barkley had an announcement for anyone that has counted the rookie out of the Eagles quarterback competition.
“There is an open competition, so whether you feel like it or not, it’s there,” Barkley said today as rookies and all five quarterbacks reported to training camp at the NovaCare Complex. “And I absolutely feel like you got to be a part of it and you got to challenge yourself.”
Barkley, drafted in the fourth round of April’s draft, mostly ran with the third team during spring practices. He’ll likely enter camp in the same position behind Michael Vick and Nick Foles, who split first- and second-team repetitions.
He certainly has an uphill climb if he wants to pull even or ahead of the veterans. Barkley said that while quarterbacking the third team will be different than what he is accustomed to, he said it should not restrict him from making gains.
“It’s a little different just being in that position with the different teams,” Barkley said. “Nonetheless, you still are capable of showing what you can do and how you can manage the offense. Maybe the guys around you are a little different, but at the same time how can you elevate the guys around you? I think that’s what they want to see.”
Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said that Barkley should not be counted out. Asked how Barkley looked on tape after the spring, Roseman equated Barkley to a point guard in basketball.
“I’ve never viewed myself like that, but if it’s a good comparison, I’m all for it,” said Barkley, who added that he did play some point guard when he was younger. “I think every team needs to have that so-called point guard or a so-called quarterback, someone at the helm who handles and can captain the ship.”
Barkley has never been a backup. He started all four years in high school and at Southern Cal. Had he left college after his junior season he probably would have been a first round pick. Instead, he stayed for his senior season, didn’t look quite as sharp and then suffered a separated shoulder in November.
Some have question whether he has the arm strength to start in the NFL. Barkley said his shoulder feels fine.
“Naturally, it takes time to completely heal an injury,” Barkley said. “And so, regardless of what the calendar years says, your body responds certain ways. So it’s been feeling better and better and better.”