Tale of the Tape for Eagles' Biggest Question Mark Heading into Camp
With a new coach comes a boatload of questions, and that's just what the Eagles have on their plate heading into training camp.
Chip Kelly has stepped in and made it known—no one's job is secure, and any player can earn significant playing time if the talent and determination is there.
That applies to all positions, including who gets the nod under center for Philadelphia.
For all the storylines that came out of the Eagles' OTAs (i.e. DeSean Jackson's "demotion", the Cary Williams saga, etc.), the biggest question mark entering workouts is still extremely vague.
While re-signing Michael Vick was perceived as a sign that he'd remain Philly's starter, the draft selection of Matt Barkley clouded things a bit.
During OTAs, there were reports about Barkley impressing, Vick not standing out and Nick Foles doing just the opposite.
Let's look at how perhaps the most important position on the field will shake out in training camp.
Doing what he's been known to do, Vick made news a few weeks ago when he suggested that the quarterback situation should be solidified before training camp.
Welp, that didn't make too much sense to Chip Kelly and Eagles offensive lineman Evan Mathis.
Both Kelly and Mathis said it's way too early to think about naming a starting quarterback, especially considering it's an entirely new offensive system that has to be installed.
In terms of Vick's chances of getting the starting role, he still has a solid crack at it.
He has been regaining his health over this offseason and the only thing holding him back from the starting role is his decisiveness in the pocket (or lack thereof).
Vick has always been known for his blazing bursts of speed via scrambling, but not so much for making concise, accurate and—here's the key—correct decisions.
He turned the ball over far too much the past two years, and if he wants to start he'll have to cut that out.
Right about now, it looks as if Vick and Foles are in a dead heat to earn the No. 1 spot.
Reports throughout OTAs jumped around with who was receiving more reps, but at the end of the day, it doesn't appear as if one has a leg up on the other.
But what did come out of this offseason is that Foles has a legitimate shot at this starting job.
When Kelly got the job, opinions swirled over Twitter that Foles should get out of Philly because Kelly's offense wouldn't fit his abilities.
Heck, rumors were floating around that Foles would be traded to Kansas City.
But Foles is still here and that begs the question: what does the former Arizona Wildcat need to do to take over?
It's really simple. He's got to continue what he did at OTAs.
Foles was an afterthought for a short while, but that's no longer the case.
Again, decision making is huge in Kelly's offense, and Foles showed the propensity to make calculated but swift choices in the pocket during OTAs.
According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, Vick made more poor decisions than Foles did during voluntary workouts.
If Foles keeps it up in training camp, he'll likely be held in high regards by Kelly, which is obviously good for his chances at the starting job.
Despite Kelly's talk of opening up starting roles to anyone who competes, a calculated guess would have Barkley on the outside looking in for the quarterback race heading into training camp.
It's not like the Eagles drafted Barkley in the first round to immediately come in and resurrect a team (a la Cam Newton or Robert Griffin III). That considered, Barkley has some time to take things in, get settled and learn.
But according to Eagles offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, Barkley not only made vast improvements in OTAs but also possesses skills as a quarterback that's hard to teach.
Shurmur told the team's website that the former USC standout has adapted well to how Kelly's offense runs and the communications aspect in particular.
Shurmur also had this to say about the young signal-caller:
"It doesn't really matter what level you're playing quarterback once you have the general skill set necessary. You have to be an outstanding decision maker, you have to have a sense of timing and you also have to be an accurate passer. We felt like he had all those traits, so now it's just a matter of him learning how we call things, how we function and put all those traits to work."
While the "how we function" portion of that statement could understandably be reason for concern, it shouldn't be too much of a worry considering his situation.
He was a fourth-round draft choice that, when drafted, wasn't expected to come in and be the Eagles' savior under center.
He has some proven commodities and abilities to offer, but Barkley is far from a finished project and that's okay.
It wouldn't be surprising if, due to injury or poor play by Vick or Foles, Barkley sees some time towards the end of the 2013 season.
But currently, Barkley is still staring at a No. 3 spot on the depth chart and that's perfectly fine for now.
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