Philadelphia Eagles training camp 2014 is fast approaching. Coaches and players report as soon as Friday, July 25th. The entire Eagles training camp schedule, including information on practices open to the public, can be found by clicking here.
As we count down the days together, Bleeding Green Nation will be previewing every position on the Eagles roster. We start off by taking a look at the quarterback position.
Nick Foles, Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley, G.J. Kinne
There's no quarterback controversy when it comes to the Eagles starting quarterback, but beyond that things are unclear.
Nick Foles is the unquestioned starter heading into training camp for the first time in his young career. Foles, 25, is coming off a highly successful 2013 season where he finished with an impressive 27 touchdown to 2 interception ratio. Despite his early success, Foles still has room to improve. Entering his third season as a NFL player, it's time for Foles to show that the sophomore numbers weren't a fluke and he can maintain his status as one of the best quarterbacks in the league. This season is especially critical for Foles because he's eligible to have his contract extended following the 2014 season. Foles is off to a good start so far. He's growing into a leadership role that could extend into the considerable future should he continue to play well.
Mark Sanchez enters training camp with a slight lead on the backup quarterback competition between himself and fellow USC pass thrower Matt Barkley. The much-maligned Sanchez often struggled during the team's organized team activities and minicamp. It was apparent at times that Sanchez just isn't comfortable in this offense yet. As seen in the past with a quarterback like Trent Edwards, this lack of scheme familiarity is an issue can be worked out over the course of the summer. There's no guarantees it will happen, however. Sanchez, a veteran with starting experience, needs to prove he belongs.
After spending most of the 2013 season as the team's third string quarterback, Matt Barkley returns to find himself competing for the number two spot. While the second year of a player's NFL career is often when they show the most growth in their development, that progress hasn't been apparent with Barkley so far. Barkley, who spent time working out with pitching guru Tom House this offseason, needs to prove his arm is good enough to compete with a veteran like Sanchez.
G.J. Kinne spent a large portion of the 2013 season on the Eagles' practice squad because he's the ultimate practice squad player. Not only is he athletic and capable of throwing, but he's also willing to line up at other positions during non-contact practice drills (such as special teams, safety, etc.). Kinne looked surprisingly impressive during the team's OTAs/minicamp sessions. At this point Kinne still has an uphill battle to make the roster but he could push for the third string QB spot. Or perhaps another year of practice squad duty at least.
How will it play out?
The Eagles will probably keep three quarterbacks. Nick Foles is a lock. Mark Sanchez, who was given $2.25 million guaranteed this offseason, could easily end up as the backup. Matt Barkley's future isn't certain. Best case is he beats out Sanchez for the backup spot. Worst case is he gets beat out by G.J. Kinne for the third string job. The most likely scenario is in the middle: Barkley ends up as the third string QB again. Kinne would then probably end up on the practice squad again.
Who could be a surprise cut?
Barkley could be a surprise cut if he struggles heavily and Kinne beats him out. I don't see that as super likely right now but I wouldn't rule it out entirely. It's worth noting Barkley is still practice squad eligible. There's no telling if another team would scoop Barkley up should the Eagles release him.