Philadelphia Eagles: Full Breakdown and Depth-Chart Analysis at Quarterback

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Philadelphia Eagles: Full Breakdown and Depth-Chart Analysis at Quarterback

David Richard/Associated Press
The Philadelphia Eagles made multiple moves at the quarterback position this offseason, yet somehow managed to create more questions than they answered.

Can Sam Bradford survive the rigors of a full NFL season, let alone be ready to play in time for opening day? Equipped with a new contract, does Mark Sanchez pose a legitimate threat to win the starting job? After spending the past two seasons away from the game, will Tim Tebow earn a spot on the Birds’ 53-man roster?

The total lack of clarity at the most important position on the field is easily the biggest concern facing the Eagles in 2015. Then again, while it’s not difficult to envision how everything could go wrong, the flip side is few teams boast the overall level and depth of talent under center that Philadelphia has amassed.


Eagles QBs Career Stats
S. Bradford R1P1-2010 58.6 225.8 59/38 79.3 18-30-1
M. Sanchez R1P15-2009 56.3 204.4 82/80 74.1 37-33
M. Barkley R4P98-2013 60.0 75.0 0/4 43.7 0-0
T. Tebow R1P25-2010 47.9 69.2 17/9 75.3 8-6
G. Kinne UDFA


Bradford, Sanchez and Tebow are all former first-round draft picks, and while they haven’t lived up to their pedigrees, all have achieved some measure of success as professionals. There are certainly worse situations around the league.

Which is not to say everything will pan out for the Eagles. However, when we explore the depth chart, there are reasons to like the current crop of signal-callers, perhaps even believe Philadelphia can achieve success with this collection of castoffs.


QB1: Sam Bradford

The doubts about Bradford extend beyond the back-to-back torn ACLs that limited the ex-St. Louis Ram to seven games over the past two years. The numbers and win-loss record don’t exactly instill a great deal of confidence, either.

Bradford was 18-30-1 as a starter with a career 79.3 passer rating in five seasons—mediocre by any standard. By comparison, Nick Foles has been far better by almost any meaningful metric, yet that didn’t stop the Eagles from swapping the two, even sending compensation in the form of draft picks to sweeten the package.


Bradford vs. Foles Career Comparison
S. Bradford 49 58.6 225.8 59/38 79.3 18-30-1
N. Foles 28 61.6 241.2 46/17 94.2 15-9


Of course, Bradford hasn’t had near the quantity or caliber of tools to work with. During his years as a Ram, never did he have a running back, tight end or wide receiver eclipse 700 yards through the air in a season. Never did the club send an offensive lineman to the Pro Bowl. Never did Bradford play in a prolific, uptempo offense like head coach Chip Kelly brought to Philadelphia.

It’s only natural to anticipate drastic improvement out of Bradford in a drastically improved situation. The 2010 No. 1 overall selection is only 27. He has a huge arm, quick release and rarely turned the football over in spite of dreadful surrounding talent. There is unrealized potential to tap here.

But the discussion always comes back to Bradford’s health. Whether you believe he has the ability or not, he needs to stay upright to have even a chance. The good news is Tim McManus for Philadelphia Magazine reports Bradford is practicing without limitations. Whether he can hold up for a full slate of 16 games plus playoffs remains the question.



Michael Perez/Associated Press



QB2: Mark Sanchez

Sanchez is a perfect example of the difference a decent supporting cast can make. He was the literal butt of jokes when he arrived in Philadelphia as a free agent from a pitiful New York Jets offense last offseason. In nine games in Kelly’s system, Sanchez shattered personal bests for completion percentage (64.1), yards per attempt (7.8) and passer rating (88.4).


Sanchez Eagles vs. Jets Comparison
Eagles 64.1 268.7 14/11 88.4
Jets 55.1 195.0 68/69 71.7


Those numbers honestly aren’t too shabby, although still not good enough. Sanchez is purely a backup quarterback in the NFL—albeit a very good one probably.

That being said, Sanchez does have a slim path to start on opening day, a possibility reflected by the incentives in the two-year extension he signed with the Eagles in March, according to Spotrac. If Bradford exhibits any signs of rust coming off of knee surgery or is slow to learn the offense, Sanchez may just be the best option to play Week 1.

It’s a stretch, to say the least. Bradford will be 13 months removed from surgery by then, and between playing in the spread offense at Oklahoma and under offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur in St. Louis, concepts of Philadelphia’s system should be familiar.

Sanchez is a nice fallback option, but we’ll hopefully get to see what Bradford brings to the table.


QB3: Matt Barkley

Forgetting somebody? Let’s not go awarding Tebow a roster spot just yet. For my money, he needs to prove he’s actually a better option than Barkley.



Michael Perez/Associated Press


Some observers might suggest that shouldn’t be too difficult. Barkley has attempted just 49 passes in regular-season contests, yet he has thrown four interceptions to zero touchdowns. Others believe the fact that Kelly chose not to start Barkley over Sanchez in a meaningless Week 17 affair last season was telling.

What should be noted is all four of Barkley’s picks came in the fourth quarter, all in games he entered when his team was already trailing. And Barkley actually appeared to show some improvement in preseason appearances in 2014, though it admittedly may have been hard to tell playing exclusively with third-stringers and camp bodies.

Barkley is more of an unknown that’s been buried on depth charts by the likes of known entities such as Michael Vick, Foles and Sanchez in two NFL seasons than he is a disappointment. A fourth-round pick, there never should’ve been any expectations beyond developing into a competent No. 2 to begin with.

Whether Barkley is or can still become that is a total mystery. Yet he does hold several advantages over Tebow, such as having an additional year on his contract.


QB4: Tim Tebow

That, and Barkley at least throws the pigskin without an elongated motion that prevents any semblance of consistent accuracy. Tebow’s career 47.9 completion percentage is the single biggest indicator as to why he hasn’t been on an NFL roster the past two seasons. Set to turn 28 in August, now is a little late to expect any significant change.



Barry Gutierrez/Associated Press


True, Tebow was said to have fixed his delivery with the help of quarterback guru Tom House, as reported by Albert Breer for back in March. Obviously, the Eagles saw enough to give him this tryout.

It’s just really hard to believe Tebow, despite possessing tremendous size and mobility, is suddenly going to become a capable passer.

Yes, legions of fans will point to an 8-6 record as a starting quarterback, plus a playoff win. That being said, T.J. Yates also won a playoff game with the Houston Texans in 2011, and you don’t hear anybody clamoring for him to get another chance. Trent Dilfer won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens in 2000, something Miami Dolphins legend Dan Marino never did—who’s the superior player?

Clearly, wins and losses aren’t always the best metric for a quarterback.

Barring massive, unforeseen leaps as a passer, Tebow likely isn’t a superior signal-caller to Barkley. Then again, Tebow could still earn that roster spot if he demonstrates value in other areas, such as goal-line packages and special teams. If Kelly deems that more valuable than a traditional emergency quarterback, the job is certainly up for grabs.


QB5: G.J. Kinne

While Kinne is still listed as a quarterback on the official team website, Reuben Frank for reports he will no longer play the position, instead trying to make the club as a jack of all trades. There’s really no need for five, and Kinne had essentially zero shot of making the roster to begin with.

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9 Responses to “Philadelphia Eagles: Full Breakdown and Depth-Chart Analysis at Quarterback”

  1. Sage says:

    Imagine if accountants disregarded a whole class of financial assets. They’d be sued (successfully) for gross negligence. They’d loose their CPA certifications.

    To Tebow’s 75 QB rating, we should add the 12 TDs he scored with his feet, as well as the 2 pt. conversions.

  2. Sage says:

    Ha ha ha. That’s the funniest of all, Kulp.

    Kulp excuses Barkley for throwing 4 picks because he did so in the 4th quarter when the team was already behind. That’s where Tebow has consistently dug deep and led his team to victory.

    Idiocy in the world is rampant.

    • ck says:

      Sage: Have to agree w/u there, Sage…”Idiocy in the world is rampant!” Sad, but true. Looks like Barkley has something to prove after throwing ALL those interceptions and Coach Kelly not wanting to play him even in meaningless games…hmmmmmmmm.

  3. David Oliver says:

    YES – The Stench continues… HATERS UNLEASHED !!

  4. TheMascotArmy says:

    Reporters should be embarrassed by such shallow analyses, as if completion% tells much if anything absent context (eg difficulty if throws attempted, rushing). Completion% does not correlate well with winning, and for good reason, unlike real qbr that considers all qb touches. There’s a story to be told, and reporters prefer instead to repeat the same thing over and over and over again.

    • brandi says:

      Maybe it’s just me. But I think they should be embarrassed because they should know better.

      1) Each week in Denver, Opposing Head Coaches would talk about what they needed to do to beat Tim Tebow. Rarely was it what they needed to do to beat the Broncos.. What did they need to do to beat Tim Tebow. And almost all said don’t let the Game be close. Get ahead early and big and hope you could hold on because if Tim gets any chance to beat you he will. Those are the kinds of comments Football Coaches make about the greatest of Quarterbacks. Any Sports Reporter should know these things.

      2) After spending 6 months all saying the New York Jets would find a way to mess things up with Tim Tebow because that’s just what the Jets do, after everyone watched it happen, those same Sports Reporters forgot every bit of laying the “blame” where there columns had laid it in their prognostications. Not only should Sports Reporters know this, they’re conveniently forgetting their own d&^%n columns. (Shaking my head on this one.)

      3) John Fox tried to tell everyone don’t blame Tim either for the number of Pass attempts, the Play calling, any of it. He’d do the exact same thing if Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees was the Broncos Quarterback. And praise Tim for those dustbuster Pases. Tim was doing exactly what Fox told him to do and what he should have done. Don’t blame him for any of the “ugliness” of Broncos Football. That’s on him (Fox) and not on him because it’s some kind of mistake, but because Tim is doing exactly what Foxy wants him to do and they’re Playing the Game the Coaching Staff decided is their best shot at taking a Team that couldn’t find Wins into a Winning Team. (Oh, by the way, it worked) Sports Reporters should know this. They certainly should know it if they’re going to claim to give Eagles fans any sort of insight on their new acquisition at Quarterback.

      But they don’t…not for the reasons some want to say…that they’ve got it in for Tim. But because across the board NFL Media is so bad it’s not just the worst in Sports, it’s worse than all others combined. They don’t know the Game and know even less about the way Football Coaches see the Game. How little do they know?

      Look at the differences between most NFL Reporters and former Head Coaches who are now doing Media. Many of the most positive words about Tim have come from former Football Coaches and they aren’t even close to matching the negative commentary that comes from others, including Ex-Players. The people sitting right next to these Commentators, the ones who know the Game far better than the others, have a higher estimation of Tim, yet that doesn’t sink in to their Media “Peers”.

      THAT is how out of touch…not to mention completely lazy and full of itself…NFL Media is.

  5. bubbaelvis says:

    All great points on Brandi’s part. I never bought that Tim was blackballed. I felt it was a combination of his enormous rock star status and GM’s, Coach’s not sure how to handle the backlash if he didn’t end up starting. They thought it would be a locker room problem. He was basically a young talented QB in the development stage but media treated him as if he should be equal to a Tom Brady level QB. No other QB is put under the microscope like he is. He did the smart thing and got the development he needed. Any NFL team could have done the same for him but didn’t. We don’t know how many offers he may have turned down. If the situation was not right he was better off training and developing. It is encouraging to me that the Eagles Coaches said they are incorporating the things Tom House used with him as he continues to improve.

    • brandi says:

      Thanks Bubba. 🙂

      I remembered one other thing. Those Reporters who had spent months dumping on the jets then did an about face and laid everything on Tim….if they’d forgotten, they all got a huge reminder at the very next Combine by the Denver Broncos who were open and very clear the Jets, NOT Tim Tebow, had blown it by not Playing him…that he would have Won games for them.

      Is the fact only one, Ian Rapoport, actually went with that and talked about it a few times signal some sort of bias against Tim? Or does it more show they didn’t want to turn around and admit they’d said the same things BEFORE then “forgot” that when they still had to deal with the Jets but Tim, being gone, was a defenseless target?

      Only NFL Media could find a way to be as arrogant and self-serving as the league they cover.

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