Quarterback Competition Heating Up for Philadelphia Eagles

By Matt Lombardo
Howard Smith – USA Today Sports

On Monday, reporters were granted another glimpse behind Chip Kelly‘s magic musical curtain, and much like last week’s practice, all eyes were on the five red jerseys amid the sea of green.

In Kelly’s uptempo offense that’s predicated on making quick decisions, it is becoming more and more evident that the competition is fierce for the Philadelphia Eagles‘ starting job.

During the 7 on 7 drills and 11 on 11 drills, Nick Foles was routinely the first quarterback out there and seemingly made the most of his opportunities.

“Every day I get more and more comfortable out there,” second-year quarterback Foles said shortly after a practice that saw him command a majority of the reps with the first team. “The biggest thing is that as we go along we’re really progressing together as a team.”

Foles dazzled during an 11 on 11 drill where he stepped up in the pocket and delivered a beautifully thrown pass down the sideline to Riley Cooper for a 45-yard touchdown pass.

While Foles has the luxury of having played in a spread option type offense in college at the University of Arizona, for 12-year veteran Michael Vick, one of many challenges under Kelly is grasping his scheme.

“I really feel like it’s getting easier,” Vick explained. “It’s still a challenge every day but it’s getting easier and I think it’s getting easier for all of the quarterbacks out there.”

“It’s like starting from scratch, learning a new scheme but it’s fun and the hardest part was the beginning, but as of now I think about one third of the offense is already in place.”

As could be expected, Vick was most impressive on plays that he improvised on Monday by taking off and running with the football. It’s that part of Vick’s game that leads many to believe he is best suited to run Kelly’s offense.

“Everything that’s installed in this offense so far,” Vick said. “It suits what I like to do, perfectly. Running with the ball, playing with a lot of improv, that’s when I’m at my best.”

It’s worth noting that Matt Barkley‘s arm looked even stronger than a week ago but it was Vick and Foles who received the most playing time in this week’s practice.

While Foles is far from being known as a running quarterback, the 24-year old oozes confidence in his ability to run the read option.

“I feel comfortable with the read option,” Foles beamed. “I’ve run it before, it’s a great play. Really, as a quarterback all you need to do is get two or three 10-yard runs per game to keep the defense off balance.”

With each music-filled glimpse at this team’s progression, it becomes more and more obvious that this is in fact an open competition for the starting job.

Today, it was Foles who stood out above the rest.

Matt Lombardo is also an on-air personality on 97.5 FM The Fanatic in Philadelphia. Join the conversation and follow Matt on Twitter


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