Eagles' QB debate moot until Vick's hammy's healed

Posted: October 16, 2013

THE EAGLES seemed to edge a step closer to another week of Nick Foles at the helm, when Chip Kelly yesterday acknowledged that Michael Vick's "legs are a big, important part of his game, and that's part of the decision" on whether Vick will reclaim the starting-quarterback role this weekend against Dallas.

Kelly seemed to be saying that in order to start, Vick needs to be not just functional but absolutely unhindered by the left hamstring strain he suffered Oct. 6 at the Giants. Vick was not available for comment yesterday. He didn't sound at all certain that would be the case when he spoke with reporters following Sunday's 31-20 Eagles victory over the host Tampa Bay Bucs. Vick said then that he "can't say right now" that he'll be ready to start against the Cowboys.

Asked yesterday if getting Vick all the way back to 100 percent might take a while, Kelly said: "Sure."

After the Giants game, Kelly cut off speculation about a QB controversy by declaring that Vick would be the starter, when healthy. After the Bucs game, Kelly talked about evaluating everything and not answering hypotheticals. Yesterday, Kelly said: "Until we know what the health is, I'm not saying what anybody isn't or anybody is."

Kelly said he wants to see how Vick is moving today before deciding which quarterback will take first-team reps in practice. He said Vick had been in for treatment yesterday but they hadn't spoken.

Kelly indicated he spoke of having things he wanted to evaluate after the Bucs game because "I was talking about Michael's health. So that's what we're going to evaluate."

But what Kelly actually said Sunday was: "We'll evaluate everything. Go back and watch film, see what we did good, see what we did bad, see where we are, see where Mike is."

Kelly yesterday reiterated his praise for Foles, whose 133.3 passer rating was the highest by an Eagles starter since Vick's 150.7 against the Redskins on Nov. 15, 2010.

"I thought Nick did a really nice job, really, really happy with how he performed within our offense - did a good job of taking what the defense gave us," Kelly said. "There were a lot of times he got us out of some bad plays and into some good ones with some decisions he made."

Foles' ability to convert red-zone opportunities into touchdowns the past 2 weeks has been contrasted with Vick moving the ball but often settling for field goals. Kelly seemed to want to deflect that blame.

"I didn't do a good job calling plays and putting [us] in good situations" earlier, Kelly said.

Kelly said the 12-yard touchdown pass Sunday from Foles to DeSean Jackson was one the Eagles have had in the game plan "for 4 or 5 weeks."

"It was just somebody was stupid enough not to call it the first couple of weeks, and somebody was smart enough to call it on Sunday," Kelly said.

Roster move

The Eagles yesterday brought back B.J. Cunningham, a wideout they'd waived early in training camp with a foot-injury settlement. With Cunningham healthy now, the team decided it would rather have a 6-2, 215-pound wide receiver who was drafted in the sixth round by the Dolphins in 2012 than Emil Igwenagu, the team's fourth tight end who hasn't been active for a game this season.

If Igwenagu isn't claimed on waivers, he might show up on the practice squad, though the Eagles are at the eight-man limit and would have to release someone.


Safety Patrick Chung, running back Chris Polk and tackle Jason Peters all suffered shoulder injuries against the Bucs. Chip Kelly indicated they won't be full practice participants today but said he expects Peters will be a full participant tomorrow . . . Kelly confirmed that the Eagles ran a kneeldown play from the shotgun at the end of the game because of Tampa's previous attempts to try to disrupt kneeldowns. "You want not to cause a pileup and try to get out of the game," Kelly said . . . Kelly said defensive lineman Fletcher Cox played his best game of the season, the Eagles crediting him with five quarterback pressures. "I think he tied up a lot of blockers and really pushed the pocket really, really well from inside" . . . With the Eagles running more two tight-end sets than they had this season, Brent Celek got 48 snaps and Zach Ertz got 42.

On Twitter: @LesBowen

Blog: ph.ly/Eagletarian

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