'Emergency' QB Casey has been close

PHILADELPHIA – When coach Chip Kelly says tight end James Casey is the Philadelphia Eagles’ emergency quarterback, the emphasis is on the word emergency.

“I would not be a well-oiled machine out there,” Casey said. “It’s one of those things where it would really be an emergency, emergency situations. Hopefully, it never gets to that point.”

That point was one play away in three of the Eagles’ last four games. Nick Foles left the Dallas game with a concussion. Michael Vick left both Giants games with an injured hamstring. The past two weeks, rookie Matt Barkley replaced them. Casey was the only option if Foles had been injured at MetLife Stadium or if Barkley had gone down.

“I’ve been close,” Casey said. “I would have to go out there and try to execute what I can offensively. Obviously, it wouldn’t be the entire offense. It would just be a couple of plays. I work on it a little bit every day. Not a ton, because I have other responsibilities as a tight end, and a bunch of special-teams stuff.”

Casey is used to multitasking. He spent three years in the Chicago White Sox's minor-league system before deciding to go back to football. At Rice University, he was a triple major in economics, managerial studies and sports management. Casey once played seven different positions in a game for Rice, and lined up as a Wildcat quarterback at times. He caught 17 touchdown passes and threw two during his college career.

“I was going to be the quarterback my junior year, but I left college after my sophomore year,” Casey said.

The Houston Texans selected him in the fifth round of the 2009 draft. A fullback/tight end, Casey was the emergency quarterback for the Texans as well.

“I was never used there,” Casey said. “I think every team has something like that prepared, because most teams carry just two quarterbacks on the roster that are active for the games.”

Casey said he didn’t do anything special once Barkley went in – no warming up his arm or studying pictures of the defensive formations. He just goes about his business, but is keenly aware that he could be called upon at any moment.

“Hopefully,” Casey said, “from now on, our quarterbacks will stay healthy and we won’t have to worry about it.”