Matt Barkley hasn’t met Michael Vick but he’s competed against and has gotten to know Nick Foles.
Barkley plans to compete to be the first starting quarterback of the Chip Kelly era in Philadelphia, not defer or cower to anyone else with the same objective, Geoff Mosher of CSN Philadelphia reports.
“Well, they’ve both done great things, and Michael has had an unbelievable career,” Barkley said Friday, after the team’s first rookie camp practice. “You come in as a teammate to them, not as a fan. You come in as someone who is ready to compete against them at the same time.
“I’ll get to know them those guys, and I’m sure from what I’ve heard they are outstanding men, but you come in knowing that you have a job and they’re trying to take that job as well, so it’s competition, you know. Competing is what it’s all about.”
Barkley, who set all sorts of college and conference passing records at USC, is acclimating to Kelly’s fast-paced offense that has some similarities to offenses that Barkley engineered in the past but also has plenty of differences.
Many wonder how he fits into the picture, given his lack of mobility and arm strength that recently came under criticism of scouts and talent evaluators and assisted in his descent from a potential top-15 draft pick if he had come after his junior year to the first pick of the fourth round, 98th overall.
Barkley hardly seemed overwhelmed or skeptical.
“You know, I’ll make it fit,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what plays we run, I’m going to find a way to help this team out, and I know Coach Kelly has a way of working things out as well in terms of how he schemes and how he calls plays, so I’m not worried. I’m just worried about the here and now and what I can do right now.”
Like Foles did, Barkley caught first-hand glimpses of Kelly’s Oregon offenses during their Pac-12 clashes, many of which were high-scoring shootouts that put up crooked numbers on the scoreboard.
Two years ago, he threw for 323 yards and four touchdowns against the Ducks. Last year, he passed for 484 yards and five touchdowns against Kelly’s defense.
“As an opponent it’s difficult because you always are going back on the field after a score, it feels like, not a punt or a turnover or anything,” Barkley recalled, “so as an opponent you are always on your heels in terms of, ‘Oh I have to get back up get back on and score.’
“So there is a lot of pressure, and now that I’m on this end, it’s a better situation and hopefully we can put that pressure on other teams.”
For the first time, he actually gets to run Kelly’s offense instead of rooting against it. And although there are plenty of offensive concepts that he’s learning for the first time, Barkley welcomed the opportunity to showcase his potential here.
“I love it. It’s a new challenge,” he said. “It’s new terminology. It’s like learning a new language in a short time period and so it’s the next step. I’m embracing it, and I loved being out there [Friday].”