By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report/The Philadelphia Sunday Sun
PHILADELPHIA—After organized team activities, minicamps, and the first two weeks of training camp with its seven-on-sevens and scrimmages, the Eagles quarterback race heats up with Friday night’s pre-season game against the New England Patriots at Lincoln Financial Field
Michael Vick will be the first quarterback on the field, but will split reps with Nick Foles, who will start in the Eagles next preseason game. After Thursday’s walk- through, Eagles head coach Chip Kelly said these two games will be a final exam for both players.
“You’re going to get your snaps, you’re going to make plays,” Kelly said. “If at the end of the day, you say I didn’t get a chance to get into rhythm and the other guy did. You’re in there, you go. If you’re worried about what else is going on around you and that’s going to be what you blame.
“I don’t anticipate that from these guys. They’ve been fantastic since I’ve been here.”
Depending upon the game conditions, Kelly said he anticipates each quarterback getting about 15-20 snaps in the first quarter. Meanwhile, rookie Matt Barkley will play in the second and third quarter while Dennis Dixon and G.J. Kinne will split time in the fourth quarter.
If there’s anybody that’s in a fight for his quarterback life, it’s Vick. After being a starter for much of his career, the former Va. Tech star is in a battle for not only the top job, but possibly his career in an Eagles uniform.
It has been widely speculated that if the Eagles name Foles as the starting quarterback, they will trade Vick and move Barkley into the back up spot. But Vick doesn’t appear to be fazed by the situation at all.
“I just relish the opportunity that I have in front of me,” Vick said. “I came back here for a reason and that was to get better as a football player and to keep thriving and try to become a consistent quarterback. I’m getting there, but you never know until you get out there full time.”
Throughout the week, Vick has been going up against the New England Patriots defense in a practice scrimmage. He seemed to be able to move the first team and second team offenses.
“I feel good about where I’m at and I know I have to continue to keep working hard,” Vick said. “You never get complacent in this game. There’s always things to work on. Every practice no matter how good it may seem, you always find errors and mistakes that can be corrected. I just try to look for the things I can get better at.”
Meanwhile, Foles said he’s not concerned about the pressure of the quarterback race. He said he wants to come out and move the offense when he has the opportunity to take the field against the Patriots on Friday.
“I’m playing to win, I’m playing to put points on the board and that’s what we gotta do to be successful,” Foles said. “When we’re out there, I expect to score.”
As for his own progress at learning the offense, Foles believes that he’s getting better each time he takes a snap from center. Getting the opportunity to go up against the Patriots for the last couple of days has helped him as well.
“I’ve gotten a little bit better everyday,” Foles said. “I feel like I’m learning more. We’re repping the plays more, especially going up against someone else (the Patriots). There are different scenarios that we do in our normal practices. Just studying the game, studying the practice film and going out here on the practice field and paying attention to detail.”
During the course of this week’s joint practice with the Patriots, both Vick and Foles got a chance to see Tom Brady and hope to learn a few things from arguably the greatest quarterback of this generation.
“He’s in charge of his team, he’s command, he’s the leader of that football team,” Vick said. “You can tell those guys depend on him and lean on him.”