In the first preseason game played by the Eagles since coach Chip Kelly named Mike Vick the starting quarterback, backup Nick Foles had a much more impressive night.
Foles completed 10 of 11 passes, leading the Eagles to a pair of touchdowns on three drives in a 31-24 come-from-behind win over Jacksonville.
When Foles entered the game, the Eagles trailed 24-16. After a three-and-out that started with his only incompletion of the night, Foles sparked a five-play, 50-yard touchdown drive, completing three of three passes.
After a Jacksonville punt pinned Philly at its own one, Foles led the Eagles on a 14-play, 99-yard drive to take the lead. Foles connected on all six of his throws.
“My mindset was 99 yards, first play, let’s get off the goal line and get this thing going,” Foles said, via Reuben Frank of CSNPhilly.com. “The guys in the huddle were great. I thought the front five did a great job, they really gave me some time to throw.”
“That’s what I expect out of Nick,” coach Chip Kelly said after the game. “I think he’s an outstanding quarterback, and I said that when we made the decision with Mike. I feel like our two quarterbacks are NFL-quality quarterbacks. We expected him to do that. That’s the type of player that he is.”
Foles is the type of player who has completed 21 of 25 passes in three preseason games, an 84-percent accuracy rate.
Even though Vick was less stellar than Foles, completing 15 of 23 passes for 184 yards, a touchdown, and an interception, Kelly won’t be changing his mind, if his history at Oregon serves as any hint at how he’ll handle the situation in Philly. Once he picks a quarterback, Kelly sticks with the quarterbacks he picked. Indeed, Kelly said that Vick isn’t a one-game starter but the starter for the season.
Especially since Vick has the ability to gain yards on the ground when the defense takes away the throwing options.
“If you can do that, the quarterback can hurt you with his feet and I think Mike did that,” Kelly said, via Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com. “That’s an encouraging thing when you have a guy back there that, when they do have good coverage on you, that we can then beat them on our feet, and that’s what he did.”
The challenge for Kelly will come if Vick, who has played in 16 regular-season games only once in his career, suffers yet another injury that keeps him out for one or more games, and Foles performs like he did last night. When that happened three years ago with former starter Kevin Kolb and former backup Mike Vick, Vick became the starter.