Since creating America’s favorite hashtag – #Barkleytime – nearly a month ago, the conversation surrounding the future of the Bears at quarterback has changed. Punches have been thrown. Followers have been blocked on Twitter. Marriages have ended up in front of a mediator.
The framed, autographed Dick Butkus jersey…?
He can have that.
Matt Barkley arrived at Soldier Field.
He played three quarters against the Tennessee Titans that left fans clamoring for the days of Jonathan Quinn, Medicine Woman and CFL legend Henry Burris. He looked ill suited to the speed and difficulty level of the league. He was every bit the non-professional folks like me said he would be.
Then, something changed. Barkley put together a dynamic and rousing fourth quarter. He threw the ball effortlessly through the Titans zone and when the Titans left zone, relatively quickly, he required little more effort.
Three more games have been played and aside from the start of the third quarter against Green Bay this past Sunday, Barkley has looked every bit like an NFL starter. So why, why, why are fans and media types so reluctant to acknowledge what is happening on the field? Why has Barkley’s performance caused so much debate in Bears circles?
The answers are not simple.
Problem is, we don’t. Nobody does. John Fox: “He’s probably turned a lot of peoples heads.”
Barkley was drafted by Chip Kelly at Philadelphia, in the fourth round, into a system he had zero chance of fitting. Chip canned. Barkley gone after seeing a few mop-up snaps in losing efforts.
Bruce Arians brought Barkley to Arizona and Barkley struggled to find consistency in the preseason. Arians, this summer:
Have you seen progression with Barkley?
“Up and down. He’s like a yo-yo.”
Arians is not a young coach and the Cardinals (with someone else around here) believed they were title contenders this season. He was never carrying three QBs on Sundays and Drew Stanton is one of the game’a most reliable backups.
Alshon Jeffery is a terrific wide receiver. He is a true number one option on the outside. But he’s not Odell Beckham. He’s not Julio Jones. He’s not a game-changing talent. And that makes his future with the Bears difficult to discern. More thoughts:
One thing is certain. If Jeffery returns in 2017 he needs to be more available. With the power run game in place, Jeffery’s ability to win over the top on play action could provide him the stage for his most productive season. Of course, it depends on who is playing quarterback.
It was a not a good game. It was difficult on the eyes. And there were a lot of reasons for that. Rapid fire…
On the Weekend Show:
I have never seen anything like it. It didn’t matter which Chicago Bear Matt Barkley threw the football to, the ball was going to be dropped. And with the game there to be won, Barkley delivered not one or two but THREE touchdown passes that went through the hands of his pass “catchers”. Josh Bellamy’s drop on first-and-goal drop will be the poster image for this entire, painful 2016 campaign.