Over the next month or so, we'll be taking a look at the various position battles set to be waged when the Eagles open training camp in late July. We start with QB.
This one almost goes without saying. It's going to be, by default really, the #1 position battle of the summer.
The Eagles have an interesting, albiet not terribly exciting cast of characters at the position. There's a lot of youth, but none that would be considered the blue chip heir apparent.
Michael Vick is the most experienced of the group and despite his decline over the past 2 seasons, is still actually a capable starting QB in the league. At 32 years old (soon to be 33), he's not exactly on the verge of retirement, but he's not exactly a QB of the future either. You might be surprised to learn that right now he's actually the same age as Eli Manning. So in QB years, he's not too old to lead this team for the next couple of seasons, but at the same time if this is his prime the team could very well be looking to take a shot on someone else developing into something greater than just "capable."
Nick Foles & Matt Barkley represent the youth and are basically co-QBs of the future. Foles is heading into his second year, but thanks to Vick's injury actually got a chance to play as a rookie. For the most part, he looked like a rookie 3rd round pick thrown into a bad team. There were flashes of good things, but in the end the numbers were not terribly impressive. Foles has ideal size and impressive poise, but there are concerns about his ability to locate the deep ball.
At this point, it seems as though Foles is the co-favorite for the starting job.
Matt Barkley shocked many draft observers when he slid to the top of the 4th round in this year's draft after many had him pegged as a sure fire first rounder in 2012. Barkley represents the true x-factor in this competition. He's the guy that Chip Kelly actually chose and did not inherit. The coach knows him well from their days in the Pac-10 and he has the accuracy, experience and leadership you look for in a starter. The questions with him are whether is his averagish size and arm will limit his ceiling in the pros.
Dennis Dixon played for Chip Kelly at Oregon, so he has a headstart on the other QBs in terms of understanding the coach's philosophy. But practically, Dixon is likely just competing for a depth role.
GJ Kinne was a UDFA out of Tulsa who spent some time with the Jets in 2012. He's most likely just camp fodder.
Who could win the job?
There are 5 QBs in camp but in all likelihood the competition is down to no more than 3 guys. Vick, Foles and Barkey the former two being the co-favorites.
Vick & Foles have been sharing the first teams snaps all through OTAs and despite some members of the team hoping to have a starter by camp, it appears as though Chip Kelly will continue the competition.
Who could be a surprise cut?
This is a position where the top 3 competitors for the starting job may very well not be guaranteed the 3 roster spots for the position. If there's an odd man out here, it's almost certainly Michael Vick.
If he does not win the starting job, it's kind of hard to figure what the point of keeping on the roster would be. If Nick Foles or even Matt Barkley is the starter, the team has clearly decided to move ahead with a young QB and is willing to take the growing pains that go with it. There's just no point to having a high profile veteran backup.
Plus, if they did want a vet to help the young guys, Dennis Dixon might even be a better candidate for that role than Vick. For one, he knows Chip Kelly and his offensive concepts better having played for him in college and he also makes the league minimum.
So if Vick doesn't win the top job, don't be shocked to see him let go.