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Chip Kelly: Matt Barkley is a "student of the game"

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The x-factor in the Eagles QB competition this summer is clearly Matt Barkley. While Michael Vick & Nick Foles are splitting time with the ones right now, it's still a long summer ahead and Barkley has a lot going for him.

For one, he's the only guy in the mix for the starting job that Chip Kelly didn't inherit. Chip sought out Barkley, traded up for him in fact (albeit in the 4th round). And has Chip has said time and time again, he likes how Barkley has essentially been a starting QB his whole life. It's a role he knows well.

"Matt's done a great job," Kelly said this week. "He's a real student of the game. Had a great background to begin with. Started every game in high school and in college, so his experience that he came in here with. I don't know if anybody's done that, having that much experience coming in as a rookie."

Certainly no one on the Eagles roster can claim that. Neither or Vick or Foles started 4 years in college.

"[Barkley] does a great job of grasping concepts and understanding what we're trying to do and not just what the receivers are running for routes. Matt does a great job understanding the overall concept that's being run and then being able to kind of change. He may have done this before in the past, but now put it into our terminology and process things."

Barkley has largely been running with the second team in OTAs which has been interesting to watch because he's been in there with a lot of other young guys. His quick grasp of the offense and experience as a leader has been evident in how he's been interacting with those guys.

Several reporters have noted how Barkley is active in getting guys lined up where they are supposed to be. Kelly says that getting the personnel lined up correctly is something he puts on the QB and it's something Barkley has done well.

"Yeah, I think he's got most of the young guys in when he gets in sometimes. And they're judged on if the back runs the wrong route, that's tough for you as a quarterback when you expect them to be somewhere."

Kelly says it all stems from being prepared.

"I think he's done a great job in his work ethic in terms of being here early, studying tape and doing those things. I think it's helped him. There is a reason why he's started every game in high school and every game in college, because he was prepared for it, and I think when you're around him, you understand that. It's not just he's so much more gifted than anybody else. It's really how hard he works at the game. Lot of fun to be around and lot of fun to coach."

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