Barkley pick a gift for Philly talk shows

Nothing gets everybody talking like a quarterback controversy.

We've said it before and we'll say it again, this is Eagles country. Pure and simple.

Yeah, I know there are some Giants, Steelers and maybe even too-embarrassed-to-admit-it Jets fans out there, but most know the words to "Fly, Eagles, fly" by heart.

The Phillies, Flyers and 76ers (they still exist, don't they?) all have their moments, but when it comes to stirring 12-months-a-year interest for the print, online, television and, especially, the radio people, no one can touch the Eagles.

No matter who the Eagles had taken in the fourth round of this year's NFL Draft that pick would have been dissected and pulled apart as if this was the person who had a cure for cancer, or, at the very least, presented the key to the Eagles finally ending their long quest to win a Super Bowl.

But when it turned out to be a quarterback, and a high-profile one at that in USC's Matt Barkley, it was Christmas in April for the radio-show talk show hosts and every person who makes a living either writing or talking about the Eagles.

With both the Flyers and 76ers out of the playoffs, and the Phillies off to what one might be generously called an underwhelming start, the Eagles are dominating the phone lines.

Pick either of the two all-sports radio stations in Philly — 94 WIP or 97.5 The Fanatic — and you couldn't escape the Barkley chatter the last few days.

Every aspect of Eagles football is generally over-analyzed, but nothing can send the fan base into full-froth, hyperventilation like a quarterback controversy.

With the start of training camp now little more than two months away, it's going to be very noisy with everyone expressing their thoughts on who should be the Eagles starting quarterback on Sept. 9 when they play Washington.

Everyone thinks they know who should be taking the snaps, but no one really knows for sure. Not even Chip Kelly, which is the beauty of this entire thing.

Every host and analyst has his own take as was evidenced by Sunday night's NBC10 "Sports Final" featuring John Clark, Mike Missanelli, Sal Paolantonio and Garry Cobb getting quite animated just conjecturing about who the starter will be.

Paolantonio is best known as a reporter for ESPN, but really is more suited to a host role where he can express his opinions.

At a time when some people were heralding Barkley as the team's quarterback of the future, Paolantonio said flat-out: "I don't know why Matt Barkley is on this team. Matt Barkley doesn't have a place on this team. He can't run very well and he doesn't have a big enough, NFL arm."

Clark said that he now believed Kelly when he said he doesn't necessarily need a mobile quarterback because the Barkley selection backs up that statement.

Paolantonio suggested that Kelly will change his offense to go no-huddle, up-tempo with a lot of short passes like New England's.

Missanelli doesn't get all the fuss over Barkley. Cobb likes his decision-making ability.

So, who's the quarterback — Michael Vick, Nick Foles or Barkley? No one knows, and that's a good thing for those who know that Eagles conversation drives the needle.

Mocking the mock drafts

How NFL mock drafts and draft experts came to be such a popular cottage industry is a greater mystery to me than who will be the Eagles quarterback.

Really, you can spend months and months of analysis, and guys like Mel Kiper Jr., and Todd McShay make a living off it, and one trade near the top of the draft can throw everything out of whack.





Look for this special section in your
Baltimore Sun newspaper on Dec. 29, 2013.
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