If there ever was a battle for the backup quarterback job between Mark Sanchez and Matt Barkley, it's probably over by now. In the first preseason game against the Chicago Bears, Sanchez was very impressive, as he's been through most of training camp. In his pre-practice press conference at Franklin Field on Sunday, Chip Kelly spoke about what he sees in Sanchez.
"He's a real quick thinker," said Kelly. "He makes decisive decisions, and he's very athletic. When you watch him drop, he's got some pop in his feet when he gets to the top of his drop, he can go through his progressions, and he gets the ball out quickly. He's got a real quick release.
"I think the one thing you're starting to see is that he's healthy, and as I told him right after he did it, if anyone had questions about his arm rehab, (they won't) after that throw he made right at the end of the first half. I think it was 68 yards in the air. So he's back, he's excited about playing football, and we're really glad got we got him."
Here's the throw Kelly is referring to:
Sixty-eight yards indeed.
But that was hardly Sanchez's most impressive throw of the game. On the throw right before that Hail Mary attempt, Sanchez delivered an outstanding pass. It was a seam route to Jordan Matthews that a Bears defensive back was able to disrupt. But watch what Sanchez does here. It's subtle, but very effective. He keeps his eyes to the left to freeze the safety, then comes back to right and quickly fires off a 35-yard rip down the field that is on the money. This is a big league throw:
Sanchez also looked very good on a pair of throws to Zach Ertz on consecutive plays. On the first one, Sanchez exectutes the play fake, sets, and hits Ertz on the money down the seam.
On the very next play, watch the subtle pump fake to flat to draw the safety (No. 45) up, before hitting Ertz for an easy pitch and catch.
That wasn't the only play in which Sanchez utilized a pump fake. Watch as he goes through his progressions here before eventually finding Matthew Tucker. You can also see the aforementioned quick release here:
There were times during OTAs and minicamp where Sanchez was throwing to empty open spaces of the field, where you would wonder what he was looking at. Those were likely miscommunications between a new quarterback learning an offense and his receivers.
In a few short months, it appears as though Sanchez has drastically improved his command of the offense, and it also looks like he still has some physical ability. The Eagles might not be so bad off after all if Nick Foles should have to miss a game or two because of an injury.
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