Once again, G.J. Kinne has a spot on the Eagles' roster that won't exist when the regular season begins:
The fourth quarterback.
Last offseason, Kinne participated in OTAs and training camp with the Eagles but was always going to be the odd man out after Nick Foles, Michael Vick and Matt Barkley. He spent the season on the practice squad.
Vick isn’t around anymore, but Mark Sanchez is, leaving Kinne in the same uncomfortable position of fighting for a spot that he knows will be difficult to acquire.
Almost all of the talk regarding quarterback competition since OTAs began at the end of May has centered on the battle between Sanchez and Barkley for the backup spot. Kinne so far has been splitting the third-team reps with Barkley.
“I’m not worried about where I take reps,” Kinne said after Tuesday’s practice at minicamp. “I’m just worried about trying to get better. Whenever they put me in, that’s where we go.”
A former standout at Tulsa who went undrafted after finishing his college career in 2012, Kinne has yet to make an active NFL roster.
After spending most of the 2012 offseason with the New York Jets, Kinne played for the Omaha Nighthawks (UFL) and San Antonio Talons (AFL) that season before signing with the Eagles in February 2013.
Performances at OTAs and minicamp can be held only so highly -- there are no pads or contact -- but Kinne looked sharp in drills during Tuesday’s practice and throughout OTAs.
“It’s been going a lot better than last year,” Kinne said. “I feel a lot more comfortable in the offense now.”
Spending last year with the Eagles -- even if only on the practice squad -- benefited Kinne by getting him acclimated to how NFL offenses are run, especially in a system like Chip Kelly’s that demands a lot out of its quarterbacks.
“We focus on everything [with quarterbacks],” Kelly said. “There's not one thing we look for more. You don’t say, ‘He has a quick release, so it’s OK he doesn’t have a strong arm.’ I think you want the whole package.”
Kinne knows where he stands among the Eagles’ backup quarterbacks. Barkley is a former fourth-round pick who starred for USC, and Sanchez has 62 NFL starts and two AFC Championship game appearances under his belt, leaving Kinne as the least heralded by far.
He tries not to think about that, choosing instead to focus on himself. If anything, having experience with his fellow quarterbacks will further his development.
“Mark, Matt and Nick have all been great to work with,” Kinne said. “Mark is a really good guy and everyone’s really excited to have him.”