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Matt Barkley Gets Chance With Cardinals

Posted Sep 8, 2015

Quarterback wasn't looking for fresh start but acknowledges change could help

New Cardinals quarterback Matt Barkley (9) and Carson Palmer talk as they warm up for Tuesday's practice.

Matt Barkley admitted his stomach sank “for a second” when Eagles coach Chip Kelly called to tell him the quarterback was being traded to the Cardinals last week, if for no other reason than he hadn’t been through something like it ever before.

After that second, however, he considered his destination, and working with coach Bruce Arians. A fresh start wasn’t a bad thing.

“I think it’s a good time to have one,” Barkley said Tuesday after his initial practice with the Cardinals. “It’s not that I was looking for one, but I think the fact it happened can do nothing but help my career, in my opinion.”

Barkley’s acquisition isn’t about 2015 – “You’re just talking about the future,” Arians said – even after a season when the Cardinals delved into their third and fourth quarterbacks. The Cardinals have their backup in Drew Stanton, and the hope is that Carson Palmer never has to come off the field.

The future is important, though. Stanton is a free agent after the season. Palmer will be 36 in December. Maybe Barkley can turn into something. The Cardinals have some time to figure it out – only if Barkley is on the 53-man roster for six weeks does the team owe the Eagles a seventh-round pick.

Barkley has a tie to the now-departed Logan Thomas, other than filling his roster spot. The Cardinals gave each individual workouts before the 2013 draft.

“Logan had unbelievable upside but I really liked Matt,” Arians said.

The Cardinals took Thomas. Barkley’s memory from his private workout with the Cardinals was that “I threw terribly,” since he was still coming off a shoulder injury. That injury is long healed, Barkley said, adding that he thinks his arm strength is fine.

“I’m glad they kind of wiped that under the rug and trusted me to where I am now,” Barkley said with a smile.

Palmer knows Barkley given their USC connections – Palmer played there 1999-2002, Barkley quarterbacked the Trojans 2009–2012 -- and noted Barkley’s smarts and athleticism.

Having Palmer and Stanton in the quarterback room can only help, with both experts in Arians’ offense at this point.

“Being an older guy, I expect him to learn a lot,” Palmer said. “At this point in the season, it’s tough to come in and there are so many things going on; a new game plan and you’re learning a new offense and new teammates and all these things. He’s got an uphill climb the first month-and-a-half of the season, with just kind of getting acquainted with everything. But I think it’s a good fit for him.”

Arians also called Barkley bright, but admitted “if we had to play with him in three weeks, he’d be struggling his ass off, and rightfully so.”

Arians’ playbook “is kind of like reading Chinese” right now, Barkley said, but the offense is more like what he had played at USC compared to Kelly’s system in Philadelphia. Reverting back intrigues Barkley, but even he wasn’t sure what that will mean going forward.

Arians called what he saw on tape from Barkley on the NFL level solid, and worth a look. Barkley will try and figure out if he has a place in Arizona, in theory while never having to come close to seeing the field.

“We’ll see,” Barkley said. “It was different being in Philly, different than anything I’d ever done. It took a while to get used (to it). But this is what I have done the majority of my career, this type of offense. I think it’d be a little more tailored to what I’m used to.”

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