Eagles Quarterback Breakdown: Complete Position Full Evaluation and Depth Chart

John McGonigal@@jmcgonigal9Correspondent IIMay 17, 2013

Feb 22, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Southern California quarterback Matt Barkley speaks at a press conference during the 2013 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Four NFC Championship games, one Super Bowl appearance and a decade of stability as the starting quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles

That's what Donovan McNabb brought to the table despite his ups-and-downs and the scrutiny that he endured under center for the Eagles.

With the six-time Pro Bowler announcing his retirement as an Eagle this week, it's been speculated that the franchise would also commemorate his No. 5.

While that talk continues, stability has not been restored at the quarterback position in Eagles camp thus far with a handful of passers getting looks.

And, considering the unpredictable nature of new coach Chip Kelly, the Eagles' starting field general in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 9 is an unknown.

What is known is that the team has five quarterbacks on the roster and 80 percent of them (sorry G.J. Kinnie) have a realistic shot of receiving legitimate playing time—if not the starting role—in 2013.

Michael Vick

Let's start with Michael Vick, the front-runner at this point based on comments by Eagles wideout Jeremy Maclin. 

Maclin said that Vick is taking the majority of first-team reps, while fellow competitor Nick Foles is "sprinkled in," according to Jeff McLane of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

So far, so good for Vick.

The former scramble-first Pro Bowler was roughed up last year—coughing up the ball regularly and missing time due to injury.

And yet, he's still at the top—presumably because of intangibles that guys like Foles and Matt Barkley fail to possess.

When looking at Vick, Foles, Barkley and Dennis Dixon, the 32-year-old southpaw has arguably the strongest arm and possesses unrivaled escapability. 

A major issue last year for Vick was turnovers—seven fumbles and 10 interceptions. That's inexcusable, really.

However, some pity should be felt for Vick considering it seemed as though every other play he and his Kevlar-armored vest were on the ground.

The Eagles' maligned offensive line surrendered the fifth-most sacks in the league last year with 48 and Vick succumbed to 28 of them. 

Sure, Vick's decision-making is relatively slow, and it has been for the majority of his career—an aspect of his game that could cost him the starting job in Kelly's quick-hit offense.

With an improved and projected healthy offensive line, Vick should have more time in the pocket to scan the field and make the correct decision.

But if he's unable to do so, don't be shocked if someone other than Vick is starting for Philadelphia Week 1.

Nick Foles

As mentioned above, it seems as though Foles has made some inroads and is still highly regarded by Kelly.

Remember, Kelly faced Foles when the former was head coach of the Oregon Ducks and the latter was quarterbacking the Arizona Wildcats.

Foles, who threw 10 touchdowns in three games against Oregon in his career, was spoken highly of by Kelly, calling the former Wildcat a "hell of a football player" in 2011.

But, the developments over the last month can't be in Foles' favor looking in the short-term. 

If what Maclin said is true, Foles is just "sprinkled in" now as opposed to evenly splitting first-team reps during the Eagles' first practice of the Kelly regime in mid-April

Foles filled in as starter last year when Vick went down with a concussion in Week 10 and did okay. He completed 60 percent of his passes and his quarterback rating of 79.1 was just under a point better than Vick's was. 

But, in Foles' case, the elephant in the room is his poor athleticism. 

Mechanics can be taught and so can decision-making to a certain extent. But, athleticism cannot be taught and it's certainly nice to have when running an up-tempo offense like Kelly's.

Honestly, it wouldn't be surprising if Foles was traded. With Barkley in the fold as a young, malleable passer, Foles may be unneeded baggage.

For now, it's presumed that Foles will continue his moderate first-team snaps in camp.

He'll continue to compete for the starting job and Kelly obviously likes him, but don't be surprised if Foles is traded for draft picks if considered an extra part.

Matt Barkley

Another former West Coast quarterback coming to Philadelphia, Barkley is clearly well liked by Kelly and the Eagles. 

Not only did Kelly see a lot of the former Southern California gunslinger while at Oregon, but Philadelphia moved up in the fourth round to select Barkley.

Granted, Barkley could have been a top-five selection had he skipped his senior year at USC and entered the draft, so being picked in the fourth round was probably humbling.

But, the No. 98 overall selection in the 2013 NFL draft will enter the Eagles' fold with a chip on his shoulder.

According to Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News, Barkley said the teams that didn't draft him would remember "for a long time."

No, Barkley isn't fast, but the style that'll be implemented in Philadelphia does bode well for him.

Kelly's offense likely won't be a heavy dose of the read-option—instead, it'll be a mission to run as many plays as possible in a single game. That considered, the field general needs to process information on the dime—something Barkley should be comfortable with.

A high IQ player as NFL.com's Bucky Brooks points out, Barkley is a smart kid and should have little issue picking up what Kelly is putting down.

And even though significant playing time isn't necessarily on the docket for Barkley in 2013, expect him to really flourish as an Eagle as early as 2014.

Dennis Dixon

When asked who was the scariest quarterback in the NFL East, Robert Griffin III, Tony Romo or Vick wasn't the first that came to New York Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas' mouth.

No, instead it was Dixon—who has started just four games and tossed 35 completions in five NFL seasons.

Dixon, who was a front-runner for the Heisman in 2007 before suffering a season-ending knee injury, spent last season on the Baltimore Ravens' practice team. 

So how does Dixon go from practice squad to potential starting quarterback candidate?


During the quarterback's time at Oregon, Mike Bellotti was the Ducks' head coach, but Kelly became the offensive coordinator in 2007—the year that Dixon went off for 29 total touchdowns and a 161.2 passer rating.

Plain and simple, Dixon knows what he's doing. Everything that Vick, Foles and Barkley are adjusting to—Dixon has been there and done that. 

If Dixon is capable of rekindling the firepower he displayed in 2007, the Eagles could have a lethal weapon under center. 

And while that's a big if, Dixon certainly understands the offense and provides Kelly with at least a reliable bench and practice presence should one of the aforementioned quarterbacks succumb to injury.

Projected Depth Chart


1st: Michael Vick

2nd: Nick Foles

3rd: Matt Barkley

4th: Dennis Dixon 


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