I have said it before that I am a little bit of a Matt Barkley fan. I also said I was going to wait until he plays out the string, to judge weather he can be an NFL starter. Well, forget that. He checked all the boxes for me vs the Green Bay Packers in “zero degree” weather.
It was the connection between Barkley and Bellamy that clinched it for me. Matt threw the ball 55 yards in the air in as cold as air as he will ever play in. Bellamy didn’t come up with the catch, but it was there for the taking. I’m hoping it puts all the concerns that Barkley doesn’t have a strong enough arm, to bed. He also showed he can get avoid being sacked a couple times. His pocket awareness is strong considering he hasn’t played many games since USC.
Of course, as I am writing this, Barkley throws his third interception of the day. One was a Hail Mary pass at the end of the first half. The 2nd one, the tight end got held on–no call. But also, as I am writing this, Barkley has thrown his second TD, and lead the Bears to score to make it 27-24 Packers. He doesn’t get rattled. He is proving he can come back form adversity–which is a damn good trait to have.
Barkley would eventually lead the Bears to another score, tying up the game at 27 with 1:19 to go. Of course, give Aaron Rodgers the ball back with any time on the clock, and the outcome will usually not come out in your favor. This was the case. As bad as I feel for the guys who put it all on the line, I feel good about Barkley, Stewart, and even Cameron Meredith. Heck, even Jay “drop” Bellamy is winning me over. More for his special teams play, but still.
I think the Bears have something in Barkley, and at the very least, someone to come in and compete for a starting job. I see a little “Kirk Cousins” in Barkley, and he may be a little advanced. Cousins backed up Robert Griffin III for a couple years before he got a shot to start. Barkley could be in the mix next season. Two more games left to judge Barkley, but after the last 4 games, I think he is more than capable of leading an NFL offense. I hope Ryan Pace feels the same.