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Eagles Position Battle Update: Mark Sanchez is a winner

An update on the Eagles backup quarterback situation. Sanchez is still ahead but Barkley is fighting hard to close the gap.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

It's been one week since you looked at me the Philadelphia Eagles 2014 Training Camp began and unlike last year, there's no controversy when it comes to the starting quarterback. Heading into camp there did seem to be a (less exciting) battle for the backup job, however. Here's an update on all of the Eagles quarterbacks so far. QB stats via Eliot Shorr-Parks of

Nick Foles

164 reps (all with first team), 89/119, 1 TD, 2 INT

Now heading into this third NFL season, Foles is clearly the starter. He takes all the repetitions with the first team and for the most part he's looked pretty good. You don't see too many major mistakes when it comes to Foles. The biggest issue I've seen so far is him throwing behind receivers over the middle of the field. The biggest progression in Foles' game is all of the back shoulder throws he's been attempting. He hasn't quite mastered them yet but he's getting there.

Mark Sanchez

130 reps (all with second team), 79/104, 3 TD, 1 INT

Mark Sanchez has been playing a lot better than he was in the spring practices (OTAs/minicamp). He looks more comfortable in the offense. There are still plays where it's apparent he's not 100% adjusted to the new scheme but overall his play has been encouraging. Back in the spring I wrote that Sanchez could be the next Trent Edwards in that he could be a veteran QB who comes in and struggles to adjust before finally mastering the offense by late summer. I still think Sanchez is on pace to impress (as far as backup QB standards go) by the end of preseason.

Head coach Chip Kelly, who has known Sanchez since his high school days, has been encouraged by what he's seen so far.

I think Mark's been outstanding since he's been here. Obviously, he was coming off shoulder surgery coming out of the Jets. In the spring early, we were kind of monitoring him to see how his shoulder was coming along. I think he's picked things up very quickly. I said it the other day when I talked about it -- this is his fourth system since he's been in the league. He hasn't been in the league that long. He had three systems when he was with the Jets and now this is his fourth system.

But a lot of things that all of us do, no matter where you're coaching, it's still four verticals. We call it differently than the way [Jets offensive coordinator] Marty [Mornhinweg] called it, but they ran four verticals here at the Eagles. Marty runs four verticals when you watch the Jets tape. We run four verticals.

So a lot of times it's just crossing over, this is how we're calling it in our protection. You call it two Jet, three Jet, we call it this. A lot of times it's just trying to bridge a gap with the words where he's not thinking. I think right now he's become really comfortable. You can tell he's spent a lot of time from a mental aspect at it and he's making a lot quicker decisions than he did in the spring. Not that he was slow in the spring, but I think he's starting to feel more comfortable in terms of what we’re trying to do.

Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur went as far to call Mark Sanchez a "winner." He wouldn't confirm that Sanchez is clearly ahead of second year quarterback Matt Barkley, however.

We don't. I mean, we really don't look at the numbers and the length of the lines right now. What I would say about Mark is Mark has picked up our stuff. I'm really, really glad he's here. The guy is a winner. He was playing in two AFC Championship games, and he's really taken advantage of this opportunity to be here. He gets better every day. He understands the game situation of football, and he's kind of one of those guys that just gets better every single day. Then I think the same could be said for Matt. Matt came back in great shape. The two guys that looked the most different when they got here were LeSean [McCoy] and then Matt. They got themselves ready to go, and he's had an outstanding camp as well.

Matt Barkley

84 reps (all with third team), 47/61, 3 TDs

Barkley, who also struggled in the season, has had an encouraging camp as well. There are still some plays where the ball feels like it's floating in the air for too long but the positives have outweighed the negatives. Barkley displays a quick release and his decision making has been good. One of the things working against Barkley's performance is that his wideouts aren't as good as the ones on the first and second string. That's not meant to be a slight towards undrafted rookie free agent Quron Pratt, 2013 practice squad player Will Murphy, and Damaris Johnson, but it's something to consider. Barkley, unlike Sanchez, doesn't have the opportunity to throw to Future Hall of Famer Jordan Matthews.

G.J. Kinne

41 reps (mixture of third and fourth team), 19/24, INT

It looked like Kinne was in the mix for the third quarterback spot with Barkley based on how well he was playing in the spring (combined with the struggles of Barkley). But that just hasn't been the case in training camp. Kinne is probably best suited for another year on the practice squad. We'll always love G.J. Kinne here at BGN.

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