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Matt Barkley's Play Just Won't Cut it

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What Matt Barkley is fighting against is not what fans think

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

There is always an interesting, fun and dizzying debate that occurs when talking quarterbacks. People tend to choose sides and remain in the camp of the player until they are either gone from the team, but usually more likely gone from the league.

I see it all the time on Twitter, where people hype a player during the draft process then can't let go of their opinion on a player.

First off let's get this out of the way: The NFL is an imperfect and fickle mistress. They miss on prospects because there are old standards that older scouts, GM's and personnel people believe in. The "that's the way we've always done it" crowd is numerous. (That's why I and plenty of people on the fringes of the NFL that I talk with root for Chip Kelly to be successful)

Yet, when players end up on rosters we tend to decide early on whether we like them or do not. There is always a bias playing out.

For Arizona Cardinals fans, that is happening right now with Matt Barkley.

There is a segment of fans that have anointed Barkley as the quarterback of the future. They ignore his time in Philadelphia, chalking that up to an unfit system. They'll use his work in college as a catalyst for his ability, even if that college work led him to being picked in the fourth round.

These people are not wrong, whatever happened to Barkley in the past shouldn't weigh in negatively or positively into what Barkley is now. Except... that's where there is a disconnect.

You see, Matt Barkley has done nothing to deserve the benefit of the doubt, so his play is being judged by how he is doing in this moment. He was taken to task by Bruce Arians, not for the 8/24 passing performance, but instead because of mental lapses.

From Kyle Odegard

He said Barkley forgot to send a wide receiver in motion three times, messing up plays before they began. "He can make every throw," Arians said. "It's just all those little things that he's got to clean up. ... When it's just the formations, you should learn those in high school. You read the wristband. It ain't real hard."

I'll disagree with the making all the throws aspect, since he hasn't done it in the game, but this is important, because this is what Barkley's strength was supposed to be.  Now, if he's struggling mentally, what does he bring to the table?

What Barkley is competing against, fair or not, is Drew Stanton of 2014, the back up quarterback who came in and led the Arizona Cardinals to a 5-3 record. He's competing against a known NFL entity, and being graded based on whether or not he can have the same affect on his team if anything happens with Carson Palmer.

Whether or not Matt Barkley can beat 2014 Drew Stanton is yet to be seen, but that's the reality he's having to deal with.