Matt Barkley just completed his first game as a pro in the NFL. It wasn’t all kittens and rainbows, but at the end of the contest, he did pretty damn well. He went up against one of the best defensive coordinators in Hall of Famer Dick LeBeau to boot.
So, how did he do? Despite throwing a bad Red Zone interception, Barkley chucked the ball 54 times, completing 28, including 3 touchdowns. He had 2 interceptions–which were bad. Guess what? Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and even Sir Tom Brady throws picks. It’s part of the game. Matt Barkley had the Bears within one score of tying it up with 34 seconds to go. Barkley battled not only the Titans on Sunday, but his receivers who dropped about a dozen passes, including 2 clear touchdowns, and possibly a third.
Full disclosure: I have been a Matt Barkley fan since his days at USC, I even said the Bears should draft him. Of course, I said to take him in the first round, but that’s beside the point. It could be a blessing that the Bears did not draft him when they had a chance. That would mean he would be on his 3rd or 4th offense in his young career.
The good: Barkley showed he can make all the throws. Despite the drops, he hit receivers in the hands time and time again. He is very accurate and has nice touch when he needs to throw over defenders. He had poise under pressure. Many times he stood in the pocket and delivered the ball knowing he was going to get hit. Matt didn’t get rattled. Despite the two picks, he came back, and actually played better. He didn’t let the 3 TD deficit affect him. Barkley stayed positive throughout, which probably helped him lead the comeback.
The bad: Threw some balls in questionable spots at time. Mainly when he was under pressure. The ball he put up for grabs in the endzone can’t happen–especially when you just float it out there. For his first NFL start, I give him a full pardon.
The ugly: All the drops by the Bears receivers. Some of the balls were tough to bring in, I will grant you that. Others were flat out easy catches. Barkley’s first interception was right to the Titans linebacker. A ball Matt will learn to throw away.
However Barkley plays the next few games, I would still draft another QB in the 2017 NFL draft. Despite all the hand-wringing, I think there are a few good ones out there. North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky, and Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly to name a couple. The Bears cannot afford to go into 2017 like they did in 2016 at the most important position.