QBs far apart as Eagles, Pats practice together
Aug. 07, 2013
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — 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.
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 mindset 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."
Jackson predicted before camp that Vick would win the job, and he hasn't backed off that statement.
"It's still the same," he said. "Both are doing a great job. It's really hard to tell who is separating himself. They're both doing a great job making sure the offense is run the right way. Everything is proven in training camp. The reason I say Mike is because of his experience level."
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 7-on-7 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. "I know we're looking at it. But a lot happens any time we have injuries. Our doctors and trainers are trying to figure that part out how the overall scope of everything we do. But it's something that we certainly are looking at right now." ... The Eagles placed WR 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 Thursday limited to situational plays. It is slated to start at 12:30 p.m. EDT.
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