Back in February I asked the question "Is the 2013 Eagles QB competition truly open?" and came to the conclusion that, yes, it was. Direct quotes from Chip Kelly himself backed up that sentiment. Then we witnessed Michael Vick and Nick Foles (and to a lesser extent, Matt Barkley) split time with the first team in OTAs, as confirmed by numerous beat writers.
Despite this overwhelming evidence, we still find some people, especially media members, unable to accept the fact that it's an open job. For whatever reason, there are still many misconceptions surrounding the Eagles QB situation. It's disappointing that this topic has to be revisited again and again... but here we are.
Here's a couple of tweets that encapsulate what I'm talking about. Note that I'm not trying to indict these people for their opinions, but rather display the (what I feel to be) incorrect assumptions they represent. NFLosophy and Evan Silva are both good follows on Twitter if you like football. I just happen to disagree with what they said here:
@evansilva I meant in terms of not knowing who the starter is. Vick is the guy unless he falls apart mentally before the season.— NFL Philosophy (@NFLosophy) July 6, 2013
The thought in this tweet is in line with the "Vick is the starter by default" assumption. It's probably the most popular misconception. Dan highlighted this sentiment in his "Jamie Dukes is a Stupid Person" article a few weeks back. Dukes foolishly stated that Vick was taking all the first team reps, which simply wasn't true.
The difference here is that NFLosophy isn't being a "stupid person". He's not making up lies like Dukes did.
@NFLosophy That's what I thought, that's what I still am trying to think but these Philly beat writers swear Foles is the frontrunner.— Evan Silva (@evansilva) July 6, 2013
Based on some reports, it's true that Foles had an encouraging performance in OTAs. BGN alumnus Jimmy Kempski, who watched all the practices, confirmed that he thought Foles looked better than Vick. This much I won't dispute.
I will question how much it means though. Look, there's no pads on in OTAs. It think it's hard to glean a whole lot from them. How much of a frontrunner can Foles (or Vick, or anyone) really be at this point?
And lastly, why does there need to be a frontrunner? Camp hasn't even started yet. We haven't seen preseason games. It is there where the job(s) will be won and lost.
So why can't people accept the truth? I have a couple theories.
1) It's boring. We don't want to hear "wait-and-see". We want answers now. We demand instant gratification.
2) Michael Vick is more popular. Poll 100 people at random and it's much more likely that they've heard of Vick than they have some guy named Nick Foles. Foles is less significant on the national radar.
3) Conspiracy. There's always going to be a conspiracy angle. Some might suggest Chip isn't being honest and that in his mind he already has an idea of who his starter is.
4) Market. It's not uncommon for wrongful assumptions to come from people who don't follow the Eagles as closely as we do, as I hinted earlier. To an extent, that's fair. It's hard to expect people who aren't as immersed into the Eagles world as the diehards are to have a firm grasp on exactly what's going on. That being said, the open competition angle seems undersold to me on the national audience and that's why we have this problem in the first place.
5) Favoritism. People want their favorite choice to win the job.
Maybe this is ultimately just me screaming at a wall, or saying what's already been said a thousand times. The thing is - it's frustrating to see so many people misinformed. I only feel responsible to point out what I believe to be the truth.
Once again, the Eagles starting QB in 2013 will be the man who wins the job based on their performance in training camp and preseason. It's OK to admit we don't know right now, and it's OK to wait and see how it plays out.