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Barkley, Sanchez Embrace QB Competition

Posted May 29, 2014

Mark Sanchez's successor at USC was Matt Barkley. Five years after taking over the reins for Sanchez at USC, the two quarterbacks are not only teammates for the first time, but competitors as well. Barkley and Sanchez are battling to be the backup to Pro Bowl quarterback Nick Foles.

Barkley enters his second season after spending most of 2013 watching from the sidelines for the first time in his playing career. After starting as a true freshman in both high school and college, Barkley was the No. 3 quarterback behind Foles and Michael Vick. He was called into significant action on two occasions last season against the Cowboys and the Giants. The fourth-round pick completed 61.2 percent of his pass attempts for 300 yards and four interceptions.

After being hindered last offseason by a shoulder injury which prematurely ended his college career, Barkley feels stronger both physically and mentally.

"It feels the way it should be. Pain free," Barkley said. "I feel like I have more torque, more velocity on the ball. I feel confident in being able to put it anywhere I need to.

"It feels like my offense now. Last year, it felt like it was Oregon's offense. It feels like the offense that I've been running for awhile now. All of the calls, all the checks, it just comes to you quickly without having to think about it now."

The Eagles signed Sanchez to a one-year deal this offseason. The former first-round pick led the New York Jets to back-to-back AFC title game appearances in his first two seasons, but missed all of last year with a shoulder injury of his own. Sanchez has been full go in the Organized Team Activities and has been really impressed with his new team.

"I think what they did last year was just the tip of the iceberg for these guys," Sanchez said. "If we continue to work, if we continue to improve, that was the real enticing thing. Playing against this offense in college and seeing them work and seeing how fast they can move the tempo and control the pace of the game, it's impressive and it's very fun to be a part of."

Barkley said that head coach Chip Kelly called to let him know that the Eagles were adding the veteran Sanchez. Kelly's message to Barkley was to be ready to compete.

"He's always going to say compete and that's what he told me, just to compete and he always wants his quarterbacks at all levels whether you're starting or not to be competing against each other and that's what he relayed to me," Barkley said.

Prior to last season, Sanchez started in all 62 regular season and six postseason contests he played for the Jets. Sanchez is prepared to embrace any role that the Eagles have for him this year.

"It's nice to be with somebody like Nick who really works hard, who wants to compete, who wants to throw a couple extra after practice," Sanchez said. "That's the type of guy he is. That kind of attitude is contagious.

"If my role is going to be help Nick get ready for the season, help Nick get ready for Week 1 or preseason games, I'm going to be ready for whatever they need me to do."

Kelly relishes competition and with the young Barkley testing himself against the veteran Sanchez and vice versa, the Eagles have created a situation where the quarterbacks will be pushed at all times.

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