Eagles Notebook: Key Eagles offensive players back naming Vick the starting QB

Posted: August 22, 2013

NOBODY IN the Eagles' locker room would say that coach Chip Kelly had to name Michael Vick the starting quarterback, that the team wouldn't have done as well with Nick Foles, but there was a sense of relief to see the end of the drama that has dominated training camp .

"We can kinda get past this quarterback competition thing and get rollin'," running back LeSean McCoy said.

Kelly told his quarterbacks of the decision in a morning meeting, but did not address the rest of the team. Some players said they saw the news scroll across the bottom of TV screens in the cafeteria as they headed to practice; other said they didn't know until reporters asked for their reactions as they left the field.

"I found out after practice. I should have noticed, because Mike did take the majority, if not all, of the snaps today," center Jason Kelce said. "They obviously felt like it was time to make a decision. Now we know who the starting quarterback is. Now that unit can start to build more upon the success the offense has already had."

Kelce said the team didn't spend any time in the locker room speculating on or handicapping the competition.

"It wasn't like something that was really talked about," he said.

Kelly said Vick and the starters will play roughly the first half of Saturday's preseason game at Jacksonville. Traditionally, starters don't play the preseason finale, scheduled for Aug. 29 at the Jets.

Players were eager to discuss how they thought Vick fits what Kelly wants to do in his uptempo offense.

"That's a no-brainer," wideout Jason Avant said. "With the reads and all those types of things, Mike is a very dynamic player with the ball in his hands. suits him. But Nick is very, very capable of running this offense at a very high level. Both guys have done well this preseason."

Wideout DeSean Jackson said, "Since Day 1, I honestly thought he fit this offense the best."

McCoy agreed that turnovers have been a concern the past few seasons - Vick has 33 in his last 23 starts - but McCoy said he feels Kelly's emphasis on the run will create a more balanced attack that "doesn't put pressure on the quarterback to throw the ball as much, which causes turnovers."

Wideout Damaris Johnson said Vick "can just get downfield with the flick of a wrist, it doesn't look like he put a lot of effort into it."

Teammates also noted that Vick, even at 33, remains a running threat, especially in this offense, assuming he can stay healthy.

"We joke with him that he's getting old, but he still goes out there and uses his legs," Jackson said. "I think he's still as fast as when he first came into the league. He probably doesn't think so."

Jackson marveled at the changes in Vick under Kelly.

"He's eatin' better, he's eatin' healthy, eatin' salads. First one in the building, one of the last to leave," Jackson said. "Since Chip Kelly came in with this offense, he's really grasped, really understood what he's going to have to do as far as reads or runs or passes or things like that, just to really be able to throw defenses off guard."

McCoy said: "I think this offense fits him so well. He can be so deadly. There's times where we watch tape and he hands the ball off to me, and he's going around with his fake, and he's taking two guys with him, until they realize he doesn't have the ball."

McCoy said he was "shocked and surprised" to see the decision announced yesterday. He said he thought the competition sharpened Vick.

"Mike probably hasn't competed this much since, what, rookie year in Atlanta?" McCoy asked. He said he thought Vick got to really demonstrate leadership.

Click here for complete coverage of Philadelphia Eagles training camp.


Guard Danny Watkins, who missed last week's game with a concussion, returned to practice. "It wasn't a pleasant experience, to say the least," said Watkins, who said he thought missing the Carolina game set him back in his competition with the other linemen. "You want to be out there grinding away." Watkins said. He plans to play Saturday . . . Cornerback Curtis Marsh had surgery yesterday on a right hand fracture suffered in Thursday's Carolina game. The Eagles offered no prognosis . . . Tight end Emil Igwenagu remains sidelined with a concussion . . . Right guard Todd Herremans missed practice with left knee inflammation, the team said.

On Twitter: @LesBowen

Blog: ph.ly/Eagletarian

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