Don’t read into Eagles’ practice plans at QB
What’s it all mean? Right now, not much.
New Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly said as much two weeks ago, per CSNPhilly.com’s Geoff Mosher, when he was asked how much people could read into the Vick-Foles split at QB during early mini-camps:
“We’re just trying to get reps off and trying to get film and look at it,” Kelly said then. “To your original question, ‘What would I make of it?’ It’s May 13 and we’ve got a long ways to go before we ever set a depth chart or do anything like that.”
Football fans are pretty ready to overload on team news by the time camps and OTAs roll around in May, three months after the conclusion of the previous season. These early team practices, though, are more about getting players familiar with terminology than anything of real substance. In fact, just last week Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin brushed off a question about if any player had impressed him during OTAs — “Not at all. Football in shorts,” was his brief response.
So, whether it’s Vick or Foles or 2013 draft pick Matt Barkley or former Oregon QB Dennis Dixon seeing reps during these late-spring Philadelphia practices, we likely won’t know much about the identity of the team’s No. 1 quarterback until at least training camp in July.
Vick remains the favorite to claim the job for the start of the season, his athleticism giving him a leg up over either Foles or Barkley in Kelly’s system. (And that’s with the understanding that Kelly will adjust his offensive game plan both for the NFL and for his QB.) He has 96 more career starts under his belt than Foles, too.
Though Vick’s injury-plagued 2012 season helped the Eagles’ shocking collapse, the silver lining in it may turn out to be the playing time Foles received. The third-round pick started six games during his rookie season, sporadically showing glimmers of brilliance.
Add in Matt Barkley, who slipped all the way to the top of Round 4 in this year’s draft, and Kelly would be somewhat foolish if he did not keep the QB competition open. While each guy has his problem spots — Vick’s been way too turnover- and injury-prone, Foles does not have elite athleticism and Barkley’s arm strength, among other things, is in question — all three bring enough to the table to be in the mix here.
But again, the race to the top spot will boil down to a lot more than how the QBs sling it during relaxed May drills. On top of compiling tape on his options at quarterback, Kelly’s no doubt still in the midst of figuring out exactly what his offense will look like this season. Remember, these early practices are the first opportunities that a new coach really has to analyze his roster in person.
Vick may have a slight upper leg on Foles right now. It is rather clear, though, that Kelly and his staff are still a long way from deciding anything at quarterback.
That’s more or less par for the course when it comes to mini-camps and OTAs. As much as fans (and the media) would love answers, there often is way too much time left for those decisions to be made.