This isn't to say Barkley, who started as a freshman both in high school and in college, has given up on the idea of winning the job. Asked if he thought this Friday's preseason opener would be important for him, Barkley said, "I think it's big for all three of us . . . I'm looking forward to it as a way to gain more traction, hopefully, in this race and just to prove what I'm capable of."
Barkley's hopes rest on "just the fact that it's open and there hasn't been named a starter," he said.
It's a potentially ticklish situation for the rookie.
"It's an interesting place to be in, because you wanna fight and you wanna be forthcoming and aggressive, but at the same time, you want to learn as much as you can, and make sure you're ready."
Kelly said yesterday that he won't detail his QB plans for Friday's game until after Wednesday's practice. In addition to the scheduled Tuesday and Wednesday practices with the Patriots in advance of the game, Kelly said there will be a brief joint session Thursday, which will be closed to the public.
Kelly said he felt all three of the top contenders performed well in yesterday's practice.
Chip Kelly said yesterday that all of his quarterbacks have fallen victim to those fly-swatter contraptions Kelly has some ballboys wear during seven-on-seven drills, to simulate a raised-hands pass rush. But it sure seems the shortest of Kelly's quarterbacks, 6-foot Michael Vick, is the guy who's having the most trouble with them.
Vick hit the swatter screens twice yesterday, in an otherwise sharp practice.
"It's embarrassing when you do it in practice, because it's not a moving target," Vick acknowledged. "The first day Chip put 'em out there, I complained about it, complained about it. He said, 'The more you complain, the more I'm gonna keep it out there.' So I've gotta deal with it, and it's been helping me."
Kelly said getting passes batted - a persistent area of concern with Vick - is usually a throwing-lane problem.
The Eagles' second open practice at Lincoln Financial Field is today at 12:30 . . . Wide receiver Arrelious Benn, who suffered a knee injury in the first full-team practice, returned yesterday and looked pretty good. With Jeremy Maclin out for the season and Riley Cooper off seeking enlightenment, Benn, a former Bucs second-round pick, has a chance to make some headway if he can stay on the field . . . Tackle Jason Peters returned from his hamstring pull but left practice early and was listed on the injury report as "hamstring." . . . Second-round rookie tight end Zach Ertz is out with a shoulder problem . . . The Eagles are playing linebacker Mychal Kendricks inside, but as Chip Kelly noted after an acrobatic Kendricks interception of Nick Foles yesterday, "I'm not sure we have another linebacker with that skill set . . . he's great to bring on blitzes, but he's also great in coverage, so we have to mix and match . . . he's truly a three-down linebacker."
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