If there were any doubts about Matt Barkley making the Philadelphia Eagles 53-man roster, he silenced his critics on Thursday night. Barkley, the product out of USC, played very well against the New York Jets.
It was his best performance of the preseason as he put to rest any conversation about a competition between him and G.J. Kinne. Last night, Barkley threw for 253 yards, one touchdown and an interception. His only touchdown pass of the night was a beautifully thrown ball to wide receiver Arrelious Benn, who is also fighting for a roster spot.
Many were shocked to see Barkley get the ball down the field as he has been criticized about his arm strength. He silenced his critics with that touchdown pass and other throws through the game. He also threw a nice back shoulder pass to Jeff Maehl in which he was able to read through his progressions and step up in the pocket. Finally, Barkley added a rushing touchdown to his preseason resume to end his night.
The only negative from last night’s game regarding Barkley was the interception he threw in the red zone in the first quarter. It was not a greatly thrown ball from the quarterback as wide receiver Quron Pratt was running a post route and New York Jets cornerback LeQuan Lewis jumped the route.
Other than that, Barkley showed with a week of practice that he can play. In terms of last season, he has definitely shown progression. We all remember when he was thrown into the fire at home against the Dallas Cowboys, it wasn’t pretty. In fact, he threw three interceptions in that game and looked completely lost, which is fine. After the Dallas game, he then played against the New York Giants. Against the Giants, he threw for 158 yards, one interception and got sacked three times. Barkley ended the 2013 season with four interceptions, 300 yards, and a 44.6 quarterback rating.
Fast forward to now, if he has to play this season, three interceptions will not be acceptable at all but the only way we get to that point is if Mark Sanchez gets hurt. Barkley finished the preseason with 495 yards, three touchdowns, three interceptions and a 63.1 completion percentage.
Finally, with Barkley solidifying himself as the third quarterback, fourth string quarterback G.J. Kinne seems to be heading back to the practice squad once he makes it through waivers unclaimed. Kinne had a solid game himself last night, throwing his first touchdown pass to tight end Trey Burton.
With Barkley showing progression this preseason it gives the Eagles coaching staff something to look for in the future.
[Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images]