Tim McManus is the Philadelphia Eagles beat reporter for 97.5 the Fanatic, and is one of the lead bloggers for Philly Magazines “Birds 24/7″. T-Mac was nice enough to give me some of his thoughts on the Eagles, including his thoughts on the increasingly interesting quarterback battle between Michael Vick and Nick Foles.
Note: Because we both have the name Tim, my questions are marked as TK, and his answers are marked as T-Mac.
TK: Tim, thanks for taking some time to join us here on Section 215.
T-Mac: My pleasure. Happy to do it.
TK: Tim first of all, from being at some of Chip Kelly’s early practices, what have you taken away?
T-Mac: The speed really does get your attention. The first time you see it, your head is spinning. Kelly believes if you are going to be an up-tempo team on Sundays, you have to operate at that speed during the week as well. If you’re going 1oo miles-an-hour all the time and your opponent only speeds it up the week they’re facing you, there is an obvious advantage there. And the practices are efficient. No time is wasted.
TK: I get the sense that Nick Foles is the favorite to be the week 1 starting quarterback, am I wrong?
T-Mac: It’s not that you’re wrong, it’s just that there is no answer yet. Kelly and his assistants can look at the tape from OTAs and start to form an opinion, but this competition won’t truly start until training camp. And it’s going to take some preseason games as well before a concrete favorite is established.
TK: If Foles is the starter Week 1, is there any shot the Eagles release Michael Vick?
T-Mac: I think there’s a chance, yeah. He is due another $3.5 million on the first day of the regular season. That needs to be considered. The big question is how Vick would react if he is the backup. Would he play the role? Or, at age 33, would he be itching to try and find a starting gig elsewhere? His reaction would probably determine whether or not he stayed on the team.
TK: What will it take to see Matt Barkley on the field this season?
T-Mac: It’s going to be tough for him to leapfrog two quarterbacks to be named the starter in his rookie season. He would have to really light it up this preseason to get a shot. There is always a chance he gets the nod down the road because of injury or if the team is really struggling down the stretch.
TK: Is it possible Jason Avant isn’t an Eagle in 2013?
T-Mac: Possible, but I think he makes the team. Kelly is looking for guys who put the work in and are quality teammates. Avant definitely fits the bill.
TK: This question is vague, but so is our knowledge of what (Eagles Defensive Coordinator) Billy Davis will do defensively. What do you expect out of the Eagles defense in 2013?
T-Mac: Growing pains. It might take a couple offseasons until Davis has the right pieces, and several veterans are learning new positions. I expect them to be aggressive and I think they’ll be pretty good at forcing turnovers, but it will probably take a little time before they have a shot at being dominant.
TK: Breakout player for the Birds in 2013?
T-Mac: Fletcher Cox– he has a shot at being really good. Damaris Johnson could do some things on offense.
TK: Can you give us an early record prediction for the Eagles in 2013?
T-Mac: 8-8, with the team improving down the stretch.
TK: Thanks for your time Tim
T-Mac: Anytime Tim.