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Eagles QB Battle Starting to Simmer

The three-day mandatory minicamp is over, and if first team reps are any indication at this stage, there are just two candidates for the Eagles' starting QB job in 2013: Michael Vick and Nick Foles. The battle will continue through training camp, despite one QB's objections.


Let me preface this by saying that Michael Vick's comeback was nothing short of extraordinary, and his performance in 2010 was like watching a faster, more athletically explosive and polished passer version of Donovan McNabb. It was the height of fun for that one season, but I feel confident asserting he didn't make a permanent transformation. Despite the problems that afflicted the offense in 2011 and 2012, Vick should not escape a sizable portion of the blame for his contributions to the downfall. Yes, Chip Kelly has somewhat justified those struggles, but seeing as how he watched the film, there's no doubt he saw the same flaws all of us did. Vick held onto the ball too long even when he did have time, missed open throws downfield because he dropped his eyes quickly, and just made bad decision after bad decision in general. Michael Vick is what he is, and at age 33, I doubt that's going to change.

Something like 99% of people, fans and media alike, felt that Chip Kelly coming aboard as head coach and the Eagles restructuring Vick's contract into a one-year deal for 2013 meant he would be, without a doubt, the team's starting QB. I mean, after all, who else can run Kelly's hyperactive read option Oregon offense, since that's exactly the same offense he's going to try to install at the NFL level. Oh, right, that's not the case at all, since indications are it'll be a hybrid offense with college AND pro concepts, mainly predicated on being up-tempo. Also keep in mind Chip plays to his personnel, not a preferred scheme. You don't have to believe that, but I do. If you've read my previous articles or follow me on Twitter, you know that I have been, and continue to be, steadfast in my belief that Nick Foles will win the starting QB job outright. I saw enough from him last season, while playing in adverse circumstances, to conclude that he deserves a chance to show what he can do with a full cavalry of weapons and competent, responsible play-calling. One more thing: Foles, who was recruited to play basketball out of high school by Georgetown University, is a better athlete than he gets credit for. Granted, it's a goofy type of athleticism that leaves you wondering just how the hell he's doing it as it's happening, but athleticism nonetheless.

So far after OTAs and the three-day minicamp in which they essentially split first team reps, it would appear that Foles has performed better and holds the edge, however minuscule and irrelevant at this point, over Vick. But even you and me could look good in shorts and playing against air, without any rush (giant flyswatters aside) or contact, right? Vick has even gone so far as to start airing his grievances with the media and voice his displeasure about having to split reps. He wants Kelly to name a starter before training camp in order to avoid distractions, so the whole team (read: Michael Vick) doesn't have to answer questions about it. What a leader! Meanwhile, Foles continues to keep his head down and his words benign, as he works hard and embraces the opportunity instead of act like he's owed something by the new coaching regime. Here's what I think: It hasn't taken long for Vick to realize that being the starter in Kelly's offense is NOT the slam dunk he expected. He has never in his life had to earnestly compete for the starting job before, and he's feeling insecure about it since Foles is proving a more than worthy opponent. What's the matter, Mike, afraid of a little competition?

Then again, I guess none of this conjecture, posturing and predicting will matter if (when?) Chip Kelly starts out the first month of the season by rotating Foles and Vick for every series, perhaps even sprinkling in Barkley from time to time. I'm eagerly looking forward to the external hysterics that will surely result, win or lose, from this revolutionary practice. It's going to feel so great for my team not to be predictable and boring anymore.

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