Will Barkley get the call against New York Jets?
Will it be Matt Barkley time when the Buffalo Bills face the New York Jets on Sunday?
His extensive work with starters in practice, Josh Allen being listed as questionable with an elbow injury, Derek Anderson being sidelined with a concussion, and coach Sean McDermott not naming a starter for the game Friday raises that as a distinct possibility.
Barkley, who the Bills signed as a free agent 10 days ago, said after Friday’s workout that he, Allen and Nathan Peterman have received an equal share of practice reps this week.
“I haven’t been told anything,” Barkley said. However, he added, “All of us are preparing like we can play.”
Barkley just might seem like a more attractive option for McDermott after he watched Peterman throw three interceptions, including a pick-six, in last Sunday’s loss against Chicago.
The Bills are Barkley’s fifth team since the Philadelphia Eagles made him a fourth-round draft pick from USC in 2013. The others include Arizona, Chicago and Cincinnati.
“I’ve been in grind mode, to put it bluntly,” Barkley said. “Just staying as long as I can, meeting with the staff. I was with one of our offensive assistants in Philly, Shea Tierney. We were together and so he’s been really, really helpful in just getting me caught up to speed with everything.
“I think, to my advantage, I don’t have to learn the whole playbook. I have to learn this game plan and last week I felt comfortable with the game plan for the Bears, and this week is the same. I know what we’re doing this week and that’s all that matters. My comfort level is high.”
Running back LeSean McCoy, for one, sounded as if the decision to go with Barkley had already been made. McCoy got to know him when they were teammates in Philadelphia.
“He’s a smart kid, he’s intelligent,” McCoy said. “He’ll have a tough time (Sunday), because they’re a good defense and it’s a fresh start. But I don’t think it’s nothing that he can’t handle. We’ll support him and we’ll be behind him, so I’m sure he’ll have a good game. It’ll be a tough matchup, it’s a good defense.”
Barkley said his greatest challenge is developing timing with his receivers.
“The longer you’re with a guy, the better you know him,” he said. “But I think the guys that we have here are fairly easy to read, just in terms of getting in and out of breaks and seeing their body language.
“I feel great. I mean, with what we have, a lot of it is carryover from what I’ve done in the past, in Chicago, Arizona and in college, even. This stuff feels second nature to me. It’s just some of the terminology is new, but the plays are football and I’ve run them before. So, again, it’s a matter of timing and just making sure that I’m good with the guys I’m playing with.”