August 8, 2013

Eagles have QB envy

Philadelphia's starting QB is unsettled, a far cry from the New England Patriots' situation.

By ROB MAADDI/The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA - Tom Brady picked the secondary apart in a scrimmage. Tim Tebow looked sharp firing passes against backups during another drill. In between, Ryan Mallet completed his share of throws.

Ryan Mallett, Tom Brady, Tim Tebow, Danny Amendola
click image to enlarge

The Patriots are set at QB with Tom Brady, 12, who has backups Ryan Mallett, left, and Tim Tebow. They wait on Wednesday to run a drill during a joint workout with the Eagles in Philadelphia.

Photos by The Associated Press

Chip Kelly, Bill Belichick
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New Eagles coach Chip Kelly, left, and Patriots Coach Bill Belichick meet at a joint workout on Wednesday in Philadelphia. The teams play Friday night.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

PRESEASON OPENER

WHO: New England Patriots at Philadelphia Eagles

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday

TELEVISION: Channel 8

All this against the Philadelphia Eagles at their practice complex.

While the New England Patriots clearly have no questions about their quarterback situation, Michael Vick and Nick Foles continued competition for Philadelphia's starting job. For the past two days, they've faced New England's defense during joint practices before Friday night's preseason opener.

Who starts for the Eagles remains unknown. Coach Chip Kelly still hasn't named a starter, although Vick probably will take the first snap. That doesn't mean much, however. There's a long away to go before the first regular-season game at Washington on Sept. 9.

"They're both going to get reps so whoever takes the first rep, let's not anoint them as anything," Kelly said Wednesday. "Someone's got to be the first guy. We'll have a plan as we go through and we'll sit down as a staff, how many number of reps are those guys going to get and go from there. We do have to have someone start the game, but I wouldn't say that the guy who starts the game is going to be the starter overall or in general as we get going on Sept. 9.

"How do we divvy up Mike's and Nick's snaps? We'll try to make that as even as possible. That's kind of our thought process as we go through this."

If Kelly needs help making a decision, it's not hard to find a worthy opinion. Former Eagles coach Dick Vermeil, who led St. Louis to a Super Bowl title, picked Vick. So did Philadelphia's two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich faced both quarterbacks the past two days and he also goes with Vick.

"Vick's body of work speaks for itself," Ninkovich said. "His release is one of the fastest in the league. He just flicks his wrist and the ball's out. He's shown the past few years that he has the accuracy that everyone was questioning in years past. Then I put on the tape of him scrambling and it still seems like guys are standing still when he's running.

"The running element is definitely something that changes your mind-set as a defensive end or a pass rusher because not only do you have to make sure that you are getting to the quarterback but you have to be aware of the rush lanes and that's the hardest part."

Vick said being the starter is "not something that we take for granted," and "we understand what's at stake." By many accounts, Vick has looked better than Foles in camp.

"I feel good about where I'm at," Vick said. "You can't get complacent in this game. There's always things to work on in every practice regardless of how good it may seem."

Foles threw several crisp passes against the Patriots, including a few touchdowns, and looked sharp in seven-on-seven drills.

"It's a great experience to go against someone else and get different looks in a practice situation," he said. "We're able to do different scenarios and get our individual work in."

Rookie Matt Barkley came into camp trying to compete for the No. 1 spot, but he appears headed for third-string duties.

NOTES: Kelly said the Eagles are looking into possible reasons why they've already had three players sustain season-ending ACL tears on the practice field. "We're going to look at it and try to figure out, obviously, is it preventable? Is it something that we can make sure doesn't happen? But I don't have any information," Kelly said.

The Eagles placed receiver Arrelious Benn on injured reserve a day after he became the third player to sustain a season-ending ACL tear. They haven't made a corresponding roster move yet.

The teams will hold a joint practice again at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, limited to situational plays.

 

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