Tha Sports Junkies 101

Matt Barkley Is NOT the Chicago Bears’ Franchise QB

Matt Barkley David Eastis via Flickr


Matt Barkley Is NOT the Chicago Bears’ Franchise QB

Many people I talk to are saying that Matt Barkley should be the Chicago Bears‘ franchise QB for the next few years.  They say that with the talent he’s flashed, he could be a viable starting quarterback going forward for Chicago.  While it’s true that he has flashed talent at times this season, the notion that he could be a franchise quarterback for years to come is absolutely absurd.  He throws way too many interceptions, and even worse, he doesn’t throw enough touchdowns to make up for it.  Quarterbacks that has a negative TD:INT ratio simply cannot be starters in the NFL, let alone a building block.

Matt Barkley has shown flashes of talent this season for Chicago.  In a comeback effort against the Tennessee Titans in Week 12, he threw for 3 touchdowns and 316 yards, despite a very young and inexperienced receiving corp.  Over a three game stretch from 12/11 to 12/24 (@ Lions, vs. Packers, vs. Redskins), Barkley threw for 897 yards, five touchdowns, and had an average completion percentage of 64.1%, which is pretty solid for a third-string quarterback playing against three above average defenses with inexperienced receivers.  He had back-to-back weeks with a 90+ passer rating against the 49ers (97.5) and the Lions (92.2).  He averaged 255 yards per game in the six games he started following Brian Hoyer‘s injury.  Barkley showed that at times, he can make plays and lead the Bears‘ offense.

However, the bad outweighs the good by a long shot.  Most of Barkley’s impressive raw numbers came from game scripts that forced the Bears to pass early and often, which lead to a high number of attempts for him.  In the game against Tennessee, Barkley threw 54 passes.  For comparison, the Baltimore Ravens lead the league in passing attempts per game with 42.4, much lower than Barkley’s 54.  He also threw 43 passes against Green Bay and 40 against Washington.  Obviously, it is much easier to throw for more yards when you are attempting more passes, so Barkley‘s numbers are inflated.

Barkley is also a very inefficient signal caller.  In only two out of the seven games he played in did he have more touchdowns than interceptions, which is just pitiful.  He only averaged 1.1 touchdowns per game, yet her averaged two interceptions per game.  Tom Brady, meanwhile, averaged .16 interceptions per game and 2.33 touchdowns per game.  Even Jay Cutler, notorious for constantly throwing INTs, has a 1.42 TD-INT ratio.  Having more interceptions than touchdowns, not only in a game but especially over a season, is absolutely unacceptable in today’s NFL.  In his first game, he had an 18.3 passer rating, which is beyond terrible.  These are certainly not the numbers of an NFL starting quarterback, let alone a franchise cornerstone.

Overall, Barkley has nowhere near the efficiency and ball safety that is required from a top-level quarterback.  His carelessness with the ball much outweighs his talent that he has shown at times this season.  On the bright side, Brian Hoyer, while careful with turnovers, did not flash talent at all this season while filling in for the injured Cutler before he too went down.  This means that Barkley should stay as the second string, as he can make plays when he needs to, unlike Hoyer.  While he can stay as the backup, Barkley should never be Chicago’s franchise quarterback.