Kelly could delay QB decision until Sunday

Quarterback Nick Foles (9) at practice with Michael Vick, who conceded that he still feels a knot in his hamstring. Vick said his health improves each day.
Quarterback Nick Foles (9) at practice with Michael Vick, who conceded that he still feels a knot in his hamstring. Vick said his health improves each day. (DAVID SWANSON / Staff)
Posted: October 12, 2013

In a conference call with Philadelphia-area reporters on Wednesday, Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano asked who would be playing quarterback for the Eagles when they visit the Buccaneers on Sunday.

Chip Kelly has been asked that question a lot, and there remained no definitive answer from the Eagles coach on Thursday. Even though Michael Vick has been limited in three days of practice because of a pulled left hamstring, and a source told The Inquirer on Monday that Vick is not expected to play on Sunday, Kelly continues to label the quarterback as day-to-day.

When Kelly was asked how late he can stretch his decision on the starter, he said "12:59" on Sunday.

In truth, Kelly needs to submit his list of inactive players to the NFL 90 minutes before the game. But the message was clear: Kelly has no problem taking this decision, or at the least the appearance of this decision, down to the wire. Nick Foles will start if Vick does not play.

"We'll see how it is as we go into it," the coach said. "Again, we're never going to put [Vick] in harm's way and we're always going to do what's best for the team.  The good thing is we still have three full days."

Kelly spoke before Thursday's practice, during which Vick remained a limited participant. He took part in individual drills and occasionally mixed in on seven-on-seven work and with the scout-team offense.

"More than I did yesterday," said Vick, who conceded that he still feels a knot in his hamstring.

Vick said his health improves each day, and he called Thursday's practice a "stepping-stone." But he stopped short of saying he would play.

"To say I can go on Sunday, I can't sit here and make that type of statement," Vick said. "If I had to [play], yeah."

Ultimately, Vick said the trainers would make the determination once they evaluate him before the game. Vick said it was important to be fully healed before he plays.

"Anything out of the ordinary could prolong the recovery process, so I'm being smart about it," he said.

Kelly said that the team would consult with Vick when making a decision on his status, and he added that the veteran has been honest about how he feels.

The Eagles consider their Saturday practice a full practice and not a walk-through. So that's another day for the coaching staff to evaluate him. The quarterbacks throw the ball and the receivers run their routes at full speed. The 68-minute Saturday practices are heavy on situational work.

Kelly joked that Vick cannot dance right now but said that he can do whatever a player with an injured hamstring can do. He is not running full sprints, and the training staff has a plan for his rehabilitation. Vick said this is different from the other hamstring injuries in his career because this one is higher on the leg.

"If I wasn't to play this week, I think I'd be able to play next week," Vick said. "It still remains to be seen. You never know what can happen tomorrow."

Foles maintained his stance that Vick's status does not affect the way he prepares this week, even if he is taking most of the first-team snaps.

Kelly said he has seen enough of Foles to be confident in the second-year quarterback. Tampa Bay played against Foles last year, so the Bucs at least have an idea of what Foles does well and what he doesn't. But they still don't know definitively whether they will see him or whether Vick's health will improve to the point that Kelly plays him.

That's not expected to occur, but the Eagles have no objection to any competitive advantage they might have while the intrigue about the starter persists.

"I hope so - anything that can help win the game," wide receiver Jason Avant said. "If we can gain [any] advantage, then that's great."

Injury update

Safety Patrick Chung (shoulder) was a full participant in practice on Thursday and is expected to play Sunday. Punter Donnie Jones remains limited with a left foot injury, but he also is expected to play. A new addition to the injury report was tight end James Casey, who was limited by a groin ailment. Cornerback Brandon Boykin (groin) and running back Chris Polk (ankle) were full participants in practice after being limited Wednesday.


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