I’m not sure what it is, maybe it’s because it’s the Bears, and their past history with quarterbacks. Maybe it’s because Barkley doesn’t have a rocket arm. It could even be the way Barkley came to the team, being signed after he was cut from the Cardinals. Whatever it is, I think people are jumping to conclusions after one game, and that’s not fair.
People forget, before Barkley decided to stay for his senior year at USC, he was considered a top draft prospect. He had all the leadership skills, played on a big stage at USC, and had decent stats. He even struggled through a shoulder injury his senior year, that no doubt hurt his draft stock. To me, the way he handled diversity was a plus, not a negative.
He had a rough time in Philadelphia, in backup roles, then got traded to the Cardinals where he was behind Drew Stanton as the #3. After he got cut right before the season started, he was signed to the Bears practice squad. I’m here to say I think the Cardinals might have made a mistake. It happens all the time. It’s happened to the Bears. Kurt Warner and Keenan McCardell were once in Bears camps. Could Barkley be the next player to slip through not one, but two teams? It’s way too early to tell.
What I can say is that allegedly, the Bears had their eyes on Barkley since 2013, as did I. According to Chris Emma, former Titans QB coach, and current Bears offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, was scouting Barkley. Bears GM Ryan Pace admitted to having his eye on Barkley too. This gives me a little more hope that they will take a serious look at Barkley. At the very least the Bears have developed another QB to the point he can be a capable backup. As I said earlier, it’s way too early to anoint or dismiss the young man. After just one game, many fans, and so-called experts seem to be doing that exact thing.
I’ll be honest, Barkley’s stats weren’t the greatest prior to Sunday’s contest vs the Titans. The most glaring stat: 6 interceptions in limited action as the backup in Philly, and here in Chicago. He wouldn’t have played this year at all if 3 other quarterbacks didn’t go down with injuries. He showed me a lot in the game though. I talked about his poise and accuracy, but the best trait to me was how he put all the adversity behind him, and kept plugging away. 54 passes in total; he had the Titans with their backs against the wall. One touchdown away from tying, and an extra point away from a stunning comeback victory.
Matt Barkley may not be the savior for the Chicago Bears, but he has shown, with only one week’s practice as the starter, he can run an NFL offense. He will likely get another test this Sunday vs the 49ers*. A soft defense, but they have had a week to prepare for him too. The road will get harder if Matt keeps the starting gig, when they do to Detroit, the come back home to play the Packers. If he plays out the string, he will get to face the Redskins at home, then the Vikings in Minnesota.
As fans, we should take things one game at a time, just like the Bears will. No point in looking too far ahead. For Barkley, and many of the Bears players, this is a series of one-game job interviews. I am eager to see what Barkley does from here on out.
*Jay Cutler has been put on IR and is out for the remainder of the season