With the final preseason game just three days away, the stakes have never been higher for Matt Barkley and Tim Tebow. Both are competing for the same job and when final cuts are made, it is more than likely that only one will be part of the 53-man roster.
However, even with all eyes on them, neither quarterback is approaching this game against the Jets any different than usual. Barkley and Tebow want to take the field and compete, the same way they do every time their numbers are called. They won't be thinking about the impending moves or the added pressure. These two will be focused on one thing and one thing only – doing whatever they can to help the Eagles win. Until Thursday night's game, they will continue to prepare and work on improving.
"I intend to live one day at a time," Tebow said. "That means I'm going to finish today. I'm going to go try to go have an awesome walkthrough and just an awesome recovery session, and I'm going to worry about today. That's something that I've just always tried to live by. That's something that's extremely biblical, and you're going to have enough things to worry about in the future. Don't worry about it right now, just worry about today."
Both players have had their ups and downs this preseason. In three games, Tebow has completed 10 of his 19 pass attempts for 97 yards and a 67.2 quarterback rating, whereas Barkley has successfully thrown 23 of his 43 passes for 306 yards. While Barkley clearly has an edge in passing, Tebow is more skilled in the run game. On 10 carries, he has rushed for 50 yards and a touchdown. The quarterback also saw action twice during the first quarter of Saturday's game in Green Bay when the Eagles attempted two-point conversions. Neither attempt ended successfully but with some more practice, having Tebow as an option in those scenarios could be a slight advantage for the team.
Regardless of their preseason performances, the two quarterbacks both feel they have made improvements during Training Camp, especially Barkley who is no longer preoccupied with thoughts of the shoulder injury he suffered a few years ago.
"Personally, I do feel improved in a lot of different areas," Barkley said. "I feel like overall my arm strength is ... I'm not even thinking about throwing the ball, whereas in years past because of the pain of that injury, I was adjusting in certain areas. And then the offense, I wasn't comfortable with it or was still trying to understand some of the concepts and everything. I feel comfortable now with where I'm at and what I need to do."
Tebow's improvements have come in his overall mechanics. He has worked on his throwing accuracy, his footwork, his timing and everything in between. He also knows that at times he hasn't made the right decisions with the football, and that's something he is also trying to be better at day in and day out.
This battle for the third quarterback spot is not a situation either player wants to be in, but it's the reality. Competition will come to a head this week.
"It's a little different scenario, but my mindset hasn't changed," Barkley said. "It's the same to compete as always, whether it's against myself or someone else, to be the best player I can be."
With two qualified options for the third-string quarterback, who will the Eagles choose? The decision will come shortly, but these two aren't overly concerned. They are letting the competition bring out the best in each other, allowing the chips to fall where they may.
"You just come out here. You compete. You root for each other," Tebow explained. "You cheer each other on, and I think that's something that comes from trying to care about people, also just from my faith. You're competing for something, but at the same time you want to do it the right way and you want to treat others the way you want to be treated the entire time, no matter what's on the line, no matter what's at stake because opportunities or positions are never more important than character."
After a successful weekend in Green Bay, the #Eagles returned home to prepare for Preseason Game 4 against the Jets. View the full gallery here...