New Eagles coach Chip Kelly does everything fast. Everything, that is, except name a starting quarterback.
When Mike Vick re-worked his contract into a one-year deal worth up to $10 million earlier this year, Kelly said the starting quarterback position would be determined on the practice field. We interpreted that to mean a starter would be named before the first preseason game.
While that could still happen, the harried head coach is exercising uncharacteristic patience.
“It’s can we get a ton of reps, get them on tape, that will go through training camp and what not,” Kelly recently told reporters, via quotes distributed by the team. “When you have to make an important decision on who a starter is going to be in some position, I don’t think it’s why should we jump to conclusions? Why do we need to name a starting quarterback in May? I mean, we’re going to take the full amount of time that we have to make a thorough evaluation of what we do. When you make big decisions like that, I don’t think you want to make a rash decision. You want to give everybody the opportunity to see what they do.
“Right now we haven’t done a thing in front of officials. We haven’t done anything except we’ve had three days of voluntary minicamp before the draft, and today was our seventh OTA. So none of us have had any thoughts of ‘Hey, we’ve got to get a guy named by a certain point in time.’ It will play itself out. It will play itself out over the course of time when we’ve had an opportunity to make a thorough evaluation. It is a big decision. When you make a big decision, you have to take your time and let it play itself out on the field. So we’re not looking at it like that. They rotate on a daily basis.”
While Kelly’s assessment of the gravity of the decision remains accurate, the problem becomes using a rotation to the point where it keeps the eventual starter from getting prepared for Week One. It also creates an environment in which the starter feels extra pressure to perform, lest he be benched for a backup who has had extra prep during a protracted competition.
Making the stakes even higher for Kelly and the Eagles is that, depending on who wins the job, someone may literally lose their job. Whether by trade or release, the Eagles could decide, for example, not to keep Vick around if Vick isn’t going to be the starter, since he surely wouldn’t be happy about being benched.