Barkley figures to get significant playing time in the preseason, and he said he's becomingly increasingly comfortable with the offense, and working with third-string receivers forces him to be even more accurate.

"It makes it more of a challenge for me when I'm out there because the windows are tighter," he said. "You have to put the ball more in the precise place with those receivers. So hopefully if I do get that chance with the 1s and those guys it will be beneficial."

Back in college football, Kelly knew Barkley, and Barkley knew Kelly. Sort of.

"I didn't really know him behind the scenes," Barkley said. "I just saw him on the sidelines running the offense. Surprisingly, I haven't seen him call one play out here so far. It's all [offensive coordinator Pat] Shurmur. I guess we'll have to wait on that too, come game day.

"But I can definitely see why [Kelly] was able to turn Oregon into such a powerhouse, just by the way he runs the program. From the top down, every little facet and detail that he puts in to try to maximize player performance, it works."

Shurmur was the offensive coordinator in St. Louis, helping Sam Bradford win 2010 offensive-rookie-of-the-year honors, and was head coach in Cleveland last season, working to bring along rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden.

"I think the next big step for Matt will be in the preseason games when he plays," Shurmur said. "We're out here doing things in practice, but until he can get in a real game situation at this level, that's when things will start to separate themselves."

That can't happen soon enough for Barkley, who is itching to show what he can do.

"There's an opportunity here," he said. "Chip supports me. [Eagles owner Jeffrey] Lurie supports me. It's just kind of like, when does that full support come? Maybe preseason will be that time."

sam.farmer@latimes.com