Matt Barkley was the hot-shot quarterback. He’s been in the spotlight most of his adolescent and adult life. He was the No. 1 quarterback prospect in the country out of high school starting since his freshman season.
Then he went on to be the first true freshman ever to start for Pete Carroll and the USC Trojans. After his junior year he was widely expected to be one of the top picks in the draft but instead he decided to stay in school for his senior season. The rest as they say is history. Barkley had a bit of a down senior season, blew out his shoulder, and slipped all the way to the fourth round where the Philadelphia Eagles decided to scoop him up.
I thought it was a curious fit for Chip Kelly‘s system to begin with. Obviously he and general manager Howie Roseman saw something in the kid. The question is exactly what? Conventional wisdom leading up to the draft suggested Kelly wanted an athletic threat at quarterback in a mobile signal caller who could fully run his offense that includes a package of read option plays.
Barkley was and never will be that. There were numerous occasions in his start last Sunday where he could have pulled the ball back and had plenty of open space to run. That’s something an athlete at quarterback would not have thought twice about doing, but instead he chose to hand it off and the plays ended badly.
Barkley just seems like the wrong fit in this offense. He is indecisive and has turned it over; these are things to be expected for a rookie, but it seems pretty clear he’s a poor option for this offense. Even more mind-boggling was coach Kelly’s failure to adjust the game plan. Why are you running read option plays with the immobile Barkley?
That’s something I gather we will never get the answer to. One thing we do have the answer to is that the future quarterback of this team has not emerged and is not on this current roster. Kelly, Roseman, and company will have to do everything in their power to fix that in the offseason for Kelly’s program to truly get off the ground.