In a move that should come as no surprise considering the candidates performances this preseason, Eagles Head Coach put speculation to an end and named Michael Vick his starting quarterback for week 1 vs. Washington.
Chip Kelly: Michael Vick will start at QB against Redskins.
— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) August 20, 2013
Entering his first training camp as a professional head coach, Chip Kelly was insistent upon fostering a competitive atmosphere for the starting quarterback position, giving Vick, second-year man Nick Foles, and even 4th round draft pick rookie Matt Barkley each opportunities to make their case. While initially, it appeared as if Kelly might wait until seeing all four preseason games to announce his starter prior to the game against the Redskins, the results on the field to this point speak for themselves and to unnecessarily extend the uncertainty would be a burden on the team’s development.
As far as Foles and Barkley, while each had some bright moments in their performances, Vick has been close to perfect in his action. He has demonstrated a confidence and command of the offense and, in the wake of the Riley Cooper scandal earlier in the offseason, has emerged as the definitive leader of the team. Taking into account the soft nature of preseason games, Kelly’s offense has looked crisp translating onto the professional level so far. Regardless of who is taking the snaps, the Eagles have moved the ball, seemingly at will at certain points, effectively against their opposition. Vick’s snaps in particular have given fans and analysts a taste of what the new head coach’s offense can potentially look like when firing on all cylinders. I am not necessarily confident that Vick will be able to shake some of his old bad habits upon entering the regular season, but the simplicity and tempo of the playbook and scheme suit some of Vick’s strengths and, with a healthy offensive line, may be able to avoid some of the situations that used to put Vick in troublesome situations. He was the clear-cut choice through two games and Kelly was in a position where he could no longer tell his team, especially in the fragile nature of a new head coach’s first year with his roster, that both Foles and Vick were on equal footing. The Eagles, at least on the offensive side of the ball, have the talent to be dynamic on offense and a largely veteran group had shown that they were ready to take the next step as a unit moving forward. Now the group can start shifting their focus towards their week 1 matchup with the reigning NFC East champs, a potential shootout given the potentially dynamic nature of each combatants offense and less than dominant defenses.
I imagine that, whether it be on the count of injury or performance, Foles will be given a chance to start this season. He was impressive for the most part, save for a couple of glaring mistakes, and showed, albeit in a different nature, that he could lead the offense down the field and put points on the board. I had predicted earlier in the offseason that Foles would be named the week 1 starter. However, I can, with no hesitancy, admit that it would be a colossal mistake to do that at this point given each competitors performance. The team seems to have responded well to Kelly to this point and it will be refreshing to look more forward to the regular season and seeing if they can respond to a few disappointing seasons and maybe emerge as a surprise contender.