Foles has concussion; Barkley could start

Eagles' Matt Barkley throws one of his interceptions. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)
Eagles' Matt Barkley throws one of his interceptions. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)
Posted: October 23, 2013

Nick Foles has a concussion and Michael Vick is still recovering from a pulled left hamstring. One week ago, the Eagles envisioned both as capable starting quarterbacks. Entering Sunday's game against the New York Giants, they might face the prospect of having neither healthy.

If that happens, rookie Matt Barkley would get his first start.

Coach Chip Kelly said he did not know what the status of Vick or Foles would be for Sunday. Foles needs to go through the NFL's concussion protocol, which includes being cleared by an independent neurologist before he can return to the field.

Vick has made progress in his recovery, but Kelly still needs to see how the veteran feels this week. Vick is less than 100 percent, but he'll likely play even if he's less than fully recovered, according to a league source.

The Eagles resume practice on Tuesday. It's not clear who will take first-team snaps at quarterback. "We'll make a determination when we get to tomorrow," Kelly said.

Kelly said Foles suffered no other injury in Sunday's 17-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys besides a cleat bruise to a leg. When asked about a groin injury Foles suffered last week, Kelly said the quarterback was not affected. So there was no underlying injury behind Foles' lackluster performance against Dallas, when he completed just 11 of 29 passes for 80 yards.

"I think he was off a little bit," Kelly said. "His feet weren't set on a couple of those throws, and in all instances, we have to do a little better job."

Kelly said Foles' receivers didn't get open and the linemen allowed too much pressure, keeping him from setting his feet. Kelly said the NFC East showdown was not too big for the second-year player, and noted that Foles is not the first quarterback to play well one week and poorly the next.

A good performance from Foles might have put pressure on Kelly to keep him ahead of Vick in the lineup. Now there seems to be a good reason to rush Vick back. But Kelly insisted Monday that Foles' injury cannot alter the timetable for Vick's return.

"I'm not going to put Mike out there if Mike can't be productive," Kelly said. "That can't change just because someone else got hurt. That doesn't make another guy get healthy quicker."

Monday was a day off for the Eagles. Vick received treatment, but Kelly said he would not know his progress until Vick runs on Tuesday morning.

If Vick and Foles cannot play, the Eagles would need to start Barkley. A fourth-round draft pick with a decorated career at Southern Cal, Barkley threw three interceptions in nine minutes in his NFL debut.

Kelly conceded that it was a difficult spot for Barkley, who came into the Cowboys game with the Eagles trailing by two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. The Eagles needed to pass and Dallas knew it. Barkley said after the game that he was too aggressive trying to make plays; Kelly said Monday that each of the interceptions was for a different reason.

Barkley injured his shoulder last November and was not fully healthy this spring. Kelly said that Barkley's arm strength has since returned and insisted that the way Barkley passed last week in practice was the way he passed as a record-setting quarterback at USC.

"I didn't see a difference on Sunday in him," Kelly said. "I think Matt can make the throws. It's just a matter of him learning and learning the speed of the game. I think he's got a bright future."

That future might be previewed on Sunday if Vick cannot recover in time. Vick's injury has taken longer than anticipated, and if he cannot run at full speed, he loses what makes him most dangerous.

If neither Vick or Foles can play, the Eagles would need add another quarterback. They're expected to add G.J. Kinne to the practice squad this week.

Kelly would not say whether Vick would be the clear No. 1 when he is healthy because he does not know what the injury situation will be. Before Kelly figures out the rest of the season, though, he needs to figure out Sunday.

"Right now I don't know who is healthy and who is not healthy," Kelly said. "Until we find out who is healthy, it doesn't help anybody to say that guy's our starter."


zberman@phillynews.com

@ZBerm

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