Michael Vick’s new contract with the Eagles doesn’t guarantee him the starting quarterback job when the regular season starts.
Eagles coach Chip Kelly said at his press conference today that Vick and Nick Foles will compete throughout the offseason, and Kelly won’t pick a Week One starter until he takes his time to watch them compete against each other in minicamps, training camp and the preseason.
“There’s open competition,” Kelly said. “Michael knows that. Nick knows that. Nick knew every step of the way what we were doing. I specifically wanted to make sure Nick was included in the plans. I think both of them have outstanding qualities as far as being quarterbacks in this league. Both of them have started in this league. I also know in this league, you better have two. I’m excited about the two of them. They’re both going to compete. Who the starting quarteback is will be won on the practice field.”
Kelly always stressed competition during his tenure as the head coach at Oregon, so it’s no surprise that he wants both of his quarterbacks to be ready for a competition in the seven months between now and the start of the regular season. If Vick is healthy and at full speed, however, his skill set would seem to be much better than Foles’ skill set for the kind of offense Kelly likes to run. In fact, until Cam Newton, Colin Kaepernick, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson arrived over the last couple of years, Vick would have seemed to be the prototypical quarterback for Kelly’s offense.
So Vick appears to be the favorite to beat out Foles. And Kelly acknowledged that he loves what Vick can do.
“I look at his skill set, how he can throw the football, how he can beat people with his feet,” Kelly said. “For Michael Vick, there’s a change of scenery but not a change of address.”
The other change will be the offense. Kelly’s spread attack at Oregon was far from a pro-style offense, and Kelly says he won’t do anything just because that’s the way it’s always been done in the NFL.
“The game of football has evolved and I think we as coaches have to evolve with it,” Kelly said.
Vick in Kelly’s offense could be another stage in the evolution of NFL offenses. But first Vick will have to beat out Foles.