NFL

Kelly will pick Eagles' starting quarterback when he's ready

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Associated Press
6/12/2013 6:13:38 PM
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PHILADELPHIA -- While Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson are eager to know who will be the Philadelphia Eagles' starting quarterback, it's clear Chip Kelly isn't picking a guy before training camp.

Kelly's logic makes sense to others.

"I haven't been evaluating our quarterbacks because I'm focused on the offensive line but I really don't see the point of Chip Kelly naming a starting QB before camp," veteran Evan Mathis told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "This is an entirely new coaching staff with an entirely new offence, which isn't even fully installed yet. It's not rocket science; whoever the coaches feel will help the team the most will win the job after proving himself in training camp and preseason."

Vick and Nick Foles competed along with rookie Matt Barkley throughout the team's spring practices. Dennis Dixon and G.J. Kinne also took reps.

"To make any decisions on who someone is from wearing shorts and T-shirts, doesn't make sense to us," Kelly said last week.

That's why a starter won't be named by the time training camp opens July 22. Of course, Vick and Jackson prefer to know now.

"Hopefully, Chip makes a decision before training camp and we won't have to answer that question," Vick told the media last week, "so we can go out there as quarterbacks and just focus on this season and not answer questions about competition every day."

Jackson, the two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver, echoed those thoughts when asked about the quarterback competition in an interview with the NFL Network on Tuesday.

"So far, I don't know, it has been kind of even. Vick and Foles have been switching off (with) first team (and) second team," Jackson said. "So it's the same thing with them. I have been hearing some things about Vick saying that he wants to know. At the same time, the team wants to know, too. We need to go into training camp prepared and know who is going to be our starting quarterback.

"Whether it's Foles or Vick, I think they would both do a great job and we will be ready for the season."

All that matters is Kelly's opinion. He wants to see the players compete in pads at camp and in games in August.

Now, it's just too close to call.

"They're both coachable. They both want to win. They're both here as many hours as they possibly can be here. They both really work at the game and want to get better," Kelly said. "Doesn't matter how long Mike's been in the league or Nick or what systems he's come from. They're both really wrapping around what (quarterbacks coach) Billy (Lazor) and (offensive co-ordinator) Pat (Shurmur) are teaching them.

"So, I think it's fun."

Vick, a four-time Pro Bowl pick, has battled injuries and inconsistency the last two years after having his best all-around season as a pro in 2010. Foles, a third-round pick last year, was 1-5 as a starter last year on a team that finished 4-12. Foles completed 60.8 per cent of his passes for 1,699 yards, six touchdowns and five interceptions, but couldn't save former coach Andy Reid's job.

"The only thing that's in my control is what I do on the field," Foles said after the team finished minicamp. "I don't go to sleep at night, sweating, wondering where I am (on the depth chart). What I can do is work hard, come out, be on the field and be a leader to these guys. Execute the plays.

"Make the guys around me better."

Of the five quarterbacks on the roster, Dixon is most familiar with Kelly. Dixon had a standout career at Oregon when Kelly was offensive co-ordinator with the Ducks, but has only started three games in five seasons in the NFL. He spent last year with the Super Bowl-champion Baltimore Ravens on their practice squad.

"He keeps everyone on their toes," Dixon said of Kelly. "As an athlete, you have to be ready. Whenever your name is called, you have to be ready."

Chip Kelly (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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