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Training Camp Preview: Quarterback

Posted Jul 14, 2014

A Look At The Quarterbacks
Name Age Exp. Note
Matt Barkley 23 2 How will Barkley develop in second season?
Nick Foles 25 3 Without question, this is now Foles' team.
G.J. Kinne 25 1 How much will 2013 experience help?
Mark Sanchez 27 5 Can he revive his career under Chip Kelly?

Draft Preview - QB

1. What will Nick Foles do for an encore?

The numbers were simply out of this world. Whether it was the 119.2 quarterback rating, the seven touchdown passes in one game or the 27-to-2 quarterback/interception ratio, Nick Foles had a breakout season for the ages in 2013 as he took over in the middle of the season to lead the Eagles to the NFC East title and eventually win Offensive MVP honors at the Pro Bowl.

Foles is Chip Kelly's quarterback for the next 999 years, but what will he do as he enters his first full season as the team's starting quarterback. It's amazing to think that Foles has already learned two offenses in his first two seasons. There's no question that he'll benefit from being able to grow and develop in the same offense. Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur praised Foles' performance in the spring training sessions declaring that the signal-caller will be even better in 2014. New quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave was impressed with Foles' accuracy and desire to improve.

Foles has already showcased traits that veteran quarterbacks display including manipulation of defensive backs and anticipation throws. There will be doubters who don't think Foles can match his 2013 numbers. For Foles, it's not about gaudy statistics. It's about winning games and getting the Eagles back in the postseason.

Even though Foles has the benefit of the league's top-ranked rushing attack, there was a lot put on the quarterback's shoulders last season. In his 10 regular season starts, he attempted fewer than 20 pass attempts once (the win in Green Bay) and averaged 28.7 passes in those games.

2. Who will emerge as the backup quarterbacks?

The importance of the backup quarterback position was evident for the Eagles last season when Foles took over for an injured Michael Vick and thrived.

The thinking going into this year's Training Camp is that there are three players competing for two backup jobs - Matt Barkley, G.J. Kinne and Mark Sanchez. Based on the Organized Team Activities and mini-camp, the only thing that is clear is that each of the three players will have a chance to win a job and that there's no clear favorite at this point.

The Eagles thought highly enough of Matt Barkley, the most prolific quarterback in Pac-12 history, to trade up to the top of the fourth round to pick him in the 2013 NFL Draft. Barkley was thrust into significant action in two games as a rookie and showed the ability to make quick decisions and move the ball, but was undone by four interceptions.

Barkley dealt with a shoulder injury that prematurely ended his college career. Fully healthy now, Barkley is ready to compete. To add to the competition, the Eagles signed veteran Mark Sanchez, a former top-five pick of the Jets who took New York to back-to-back AFC title game appearances.

Barkley's predecessor at USC, Sanchez missed all of last season with a shoulder injury. Sanchez only signed a one-year deal with the Eagles, but will once again have the benefit of a top-notch rushing attack which is what he had in those successful years with the Jets. He spent the spring getting acclimated to Kelly's offense and developing chemistry with his receivers.

Kinne, meanwhile, honed his craft behind the scenes last season as he spent the final two-plus months on the practice squad. The Eagles liked Kinne's progress enough that they re-signed him following the season. Kinne has the ability to make plays with his feet as well as his arm and will be given every opportunity to win a roster spot this summer.

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