Nick Foles has picked up right where he left off. Mark Sanchez is beginning to seize the backup quarterback job. Matt Barkley is playing with more confidence in year two. Even G.J. Kinne is pushing for a roster spot. Between the four of them, not one has thrown so much as a single interception at training camp thus far.
If three practices serve as any indication, the Philadelphia Eagles shouldn’t have anything to worry about regardless of who is under center in 2014. That is, as long as their opponents aren’t prohibited from rushing the passer.
Of course the quarterbacks look good. They aren’t practicing against a live pass rush, which means there is no pressure, no fear of getting hit, no reason for their eyes to be anywhere but downfield, nothing to worry about except diagnosing and dissecting the coverage. If a signal-caller can’t shine in that situation—particularly three players on their second year in the system and a sixth-year veteran—he probably doesn’t belong on an NFL roster.
Eliot Shorr-Parks for NJ.com has the Eagles’ QBs completing over 80 percent of their passes so far in practice. Not only would such a pace shatter the single-season record, but… wait, we’re actually keeping these stats?
A more relevant measure would be to time how long on average it’s taking the quarterbacks to release the football. There have been plenty of times when I’ve found myself saying “needs to be faster” while any one of these guys was scanning the field. Quite a few of these so-called completions likely would’ve been sacks, at best, against an actual defense.
Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins agrees with me. When confronted with the fact that the defense hasn’t come up with so much as one pick during 7-on-7s or team drills, Jenkins pointed out the obvious disadvantage they’re at to Geoff Mosher for CSNPhilly.com.
“But we do need a sack clock. My grandma could complete balls when they hold it for 10 seconds.
Chip Kelly concurs. He had some comments on the topic of analyzing quarterback play without a live pass rush last year, when reporters were attempting to determine the frontrunner in the battle between Foles and Michael Vick.
“I’m going to steal a quote from [former Cleveland Browns head coach] Sam Rutigliano and he used to say, ‘With a quarterback, it’s like a tea bag,” Kelly told reporters. “You don’t know what you have until you put it in hot water.’
My thoughts on last year’s competition were if you wouldn’t have been able to see who was throwing the football, you wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference between Foles and Vick during practice most of the time. I’m not sure there’s significantly or any less truth to that statement through the first three days of this camp.
It’s only natural for eyes to gravitate to the quarterback, not to mention for fans to be curious about their progression. This is a big year for Foles. Sanchez and Barkley are (supposedly) embroiled in a competition over the No. 2 job. There’s interest there.
The truth is, though, nobody has really done anything to alter the quarterback landscape for the Eagles thus far at camp. We’re talking about practice, not a game. And until a few preseason games are in the books, I’m not sure how much movement there can really be on the depth chart.