It has been said that lightning never strikes twice in the same place. The New York Jets are apparently trying to be that exception.
ESPN and other sources state that Jets quarterbacks coach David Lee was in attendance at USC’s Pro Day particularly to observe quarterback Matt Barkley. New York interviewed Barkley at the NFL Scouting Combine, but he did not throw. An injured shoulder sidelined him at the end of last season, so this was the first time scouts could watch him throw in months.
Health could be a concern, but it is not the only red flag.
There continues to be questions about Barkley’s arm strength being adequate for a NFL offense. He has a career completion percentage rate of 63.8. This demonstrates an ability to get the ball in the hands of his playmakers.
Such a skill set would seemingly make him a perfect fit for the West Coast offense. Barkley’s impressive differential between touchdowns and interceptions (116 touchdowns to 46 interceptions) also suggests that he could eventually be an elite NFL quarterback. Other factors, some of which are beyond his control, may hold him back.
Jets’ fans immediately would lump Barkley in with the struggles of his predecessor Mark Sanchez, but simply coming from the same school should not doom Barkley to automatic failures.
Unfortunately, success in college could create skepticism as far as the NFL. Every year, USC stocks their roster with five- star recruits — perception rises that the quarterback’s production is a byproduct of his surrounding talent. Doubters of Sanchez felt that playing in such a program allowed him to hide his flaws, and Barkley is now dealing with similar criticism.
New York would conjure up images of failure over the past two years and would most likely resent the selection of another USC quarterback. It is important for head coach Rex Ryan and general manager John Idzik to avoid any similarities to the past few years.