PHILADELPHIA -- Preseason games don’t count in the standings, but they sure count in many other ways.
Just ask Matt Barkley.
The Philadelphia Eagles’ second-year quarterback, who is competing with Mark Sanchez for the backup spot to Nick Foles, will surely get a long look in Friday’s preseason opener against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.
“Every chance you get to be on the field in front of an audience, it's a tryout of sorts,” Barkley said. “Whether it is for your own team, for your own self, or for another team, you have to prove that you are capable of playing in the NFL.”
Barkley was a fourth-round pick a season ago and didn’t get many snaps. He threw four interceptions and zero touchdowns in limited playing time.
But this is a new season for the former USC standout.
“I've said the day I got here, and I'm not changing my story -- I don't really look at the numbers,” Barkley said. “I'm just worried about when I get reps and do get a chance, making the most of those reps and proving that I can play quarterback in the NFL.”
Barkley’s confidence has never wavered.
For him, it’s simply about executing the game plan and being as consistent as possible.
“Getting the plays called and getting the ball snapped quicker is important,” Barkley said. “Once the ball is snapped in the progressions, knowing where the ball should be in a timely fashion. [Coach] Chip [Kelly] wants the ball to get into a playmaker's hands as quickly as possible and into the right guys' hands. There are five guys available on nearly every play. I have to make use of all those guys, and I think I have done a better job of that.”
Barkley has lofty aspirations of becoming a starting quarterback in the NFL.
For now, it’s all about learning. The progression will continue in the preseason opener.
“I don't know what [my path] is yet,” Barkley said. “We'll see in a couple years what it is. But, obviously, I do want to be a starting quarterback and play in the NFL. I definitely think I have learned a whole lot here and hope to learn a lot more. I don't know what the future will hold but I'm excited for whatever it brings.”