Today in Duh: Mike Vick Not Excited to Split Reps with Nick Foles, Speak to Reporters

Today in Duh: Mike Vick Not Excited to Split Reps with Nick Foles, Speak to Reporters

It’s June, the season of non-controversies in the NFL.

Earlier in the week it was Cary Williams over his seeming failure to demonstrate a team-first attitude because he missed a few voluntary practices while tending to family obligations. Now it’s Michael Vick, who made the mistake of admitting he’s not exactly thrilled about competing with Nick Foles for the Eagles' starting quarterback job.

Daily News scribe Les Bowen more or less presented Vick’s comments at face value for his Eagletarian blog on Thursday. We'll leave it to ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio to sensationalize the otherwise innocuous comments, although his opinion did resonate with many fans and others in the media.

“It’s tough,” Vick said Thursday regarding splitting reps with Foles.  “I have to continue to be a professional and put my feelings and emotions to the side, and just continue to compete.  But it’s hard.  I would be lying if I said it wasn’t, but that’s just what I have to deal with, and I’m going to keep dealing with it until I see otherwise.”

Vick has yet to broach the topic with coach Chip Kelly.

“We haven’t talked about it yet,” Vick said.  “Coach knows exactly what he’s doing. We don’t question him, he don’t question us.  We just listen.”

Of course, now that Vick has shared his complaints with the media, there’s no need to tell Kelly directly.

Vick’s comments come on the heels of an acknowledgement that he doesn’t know where he stands in the quarterback competition.  If he can’t handle the realities of a quarterback competition, it could mean that he’ll end up sitting.

Honestly, how do you expect Vick to respond? He was asked about splitting first-team reps with Foles, and he answered truthfully but professionally.

At the end of the day Vick feels the Eagles are still his team, that he already is the starter, which is the kind of confidence we usually expect from athletes – apparently we just don't like them to talk about it. Meanwhile, he respects the head coach’s decision, and will continue to work hard to win the job.

I guess Vick, a four-time Pro Bowler, should just be content to share reps with a kid gunning for his spot – and it was his spot, for the better part of three seasons. The mindset on display here is that of a franchise quarterback fighting for his livelihood, nothing more, nothing less.

Shortly after those comments went to press however, we heard more from Vick on the state of the QB competition from Geoff Mosher. It's unclear what specifically Mosh was pressing him about, but it prompted Vick to finally express his desire for Chip Kelly to end the speculation before training camp opens in July.

Here's the Florio version of events:

“Hopefully, Chip [Kelly] makes a decision before training camp and we won’t have to answer that question, so we can go out there as quarterbacks and just focus on this season and not answer questions about competition every day,” Vick said.

Vick acknowledged that, if the competition lingers into camp, tension could rise between Vick and Foles.

“Yeah, but hopefully we’ll have an answer by then, so I’m not going to answer that,” Vick said, not realizing that he already answered that.

He added that he eventually won’t answer any questions about the competition.  Told that he’ll be criticized if that happens, Vick was pragmatic:  “Why not? Who cares?  Y’all [in the media] kill me anyway, whether it’s right or wrong.”

It’s clear that the pressure is getting under Vick’s skin.  Given Kelly’s unconventional methods, there’s a chance that he opted to defer naming a starter to see how Vick would respond.

The funny thing is Mosher later acknowledged the obvious on SportsNite, that a major source of Vick's frustration has come directly from dealing with the media.

Reporters have been putting Vick, along with Kelly and Foles, through the same line of questioning at every opportunity since the words "open competition" were spoken. And all of the questions are a variation of the same underlying inquiry: who was in the lead? Which is dumb, because true QB competitions aren't won or lost until the pads go on.

The real hypocrisy of scrutinizing Vick for wishing the media circus would end is Kelly and Foles reacted similarly to these interrogations as recently as Wednesday, one day earlier. According to the Inquirer's Zach Berman, Chip instructed reporters not to ask about the depth chart, while Foles offered a similar response.

Here's what we learned: Vick doesn't actually want to split reps with Foles, but will – astonishing – and he's tired of answering the same questions about it over and over – equally astonishing. That, and when nobody's talking, the first person to say anything is the bad guy.

>> Vick doesn’t like splitting reps [Eagletarian]
>> Mike Vick wants starter named before camp [CSN]

Phillies-Mets 5 things: All the pressure on Mets, Gsellman

Phillies-Mets 5 things: All the pressure on Mets, Gsellman

Phillies (70-85) at Mets (82-73)
1:10 p.m. on CSN

After two rough losses for the Phillies and their pitching staff, the offense picked them up and came through with a 10-8 win. 22-year-old Jake Thompson takes the hill this afternoon while Robert Gsellman starts a crucial game for the Mets.

Here are five things to watch on Sunday.

1. All the pressure on New York, Gsellman
The Mets remain 0.5 games up on the final National League playoff spot. 

While their pitching staff was falling apart at the seams going into (and during) this series, the one saving grace for New York was its soft schedule, facing the Phillies seven times in its last 10. Meanwhile, the St. Louis Cardinals have to deal with the MLB best Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants end the year vs. the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers.

However, a loss on Saturday (thanks in part to Noah Syndergaard getting scratched with strep throat) puts the Mets in a precarious position. They're tied in the loss column with the Cards and Giants while fighting for one of two playoff spots and their rotation most closely resembles their Triple A team from Opening Day. 

Gsellman is one of those pitchers who started the year never having tasted the major leagues. In fact, he started the year in Double A. His first career start came at Citi Field last month against the Phillies and resulted in his first career loss after he allowed four runs in six innings. 

He's been better since that start, carrying a 3.13 ERA into Sunday. The 23-year-old righty will likely start vs. the Phillies again next weekend, meaning the Mets' season rides in part on a rookie with just 31 2/3 innings in the majors. 

2. Young man on a roll
While Gsellman lost his last start, Thompson has won his last two starts. The young righty is on a hot streak as his season nears an end.

Thompson's ERA has goe down in each of his last five starts, a stat made less impressive by the fact that he began that run with a 9.78 ERA. He has gone at least five innings in his last eight starts and has shown glimpses of why he was such a valued prospects.

In September, Thompson is 2-1 with a 3.09 ERA over four starts. He's still allowed 33 baserunners in 23 1/3 innings during that span, but it's been much better than his lackluster August.

While Thompson is in line to start next weekend against the Mets as well, today could be his final start of the season. He has already set a career-high in innings and the Phillies may not want to extend him one more start.

3. What to look for in the season's final week
Including Sunday, the Phillies have just seven games left in their season. They're eliminated from playoff contention, but there's still plenty to watch as the Phils take on Braves and Mets.

Ryan Howard's final fairwell: With his five-year, $125 million deal coming to a close this year, Howard is almost certainly playing his final games in Philadelphia next week. He'll get plenty of starts and may even face the Mets' Bartolo Colon, who he's smacked three home runs off of in his career.

Playing spoiler: As mentioned above, the Mets have everything on the line both today and next weekend in Philadelphia. There are few better ways to end a postseason-less season than knocking a rival out of playoff contention.

More looks at the kids: Roman Quinn's emergence over the last two weeks has been fun to watch and Jorge Alfaro may get more chances in the last seven games. Beyond them, Thompson, Tommy Joseph and others close out a nice first season. 

4. Players to watch
Phillies: Maikel Franco has looked more like his 2015 self over the last few weeks. He's batting .310 in September with three home runs, matching his August total. His 15 RBI this month are his most in a month other than July. 

Mets: Asdrubal Cabrera has been on fire this month as well. After battting .405 in August, he's batting .333 and has five home runs, including the walk-off homer on Thursday. He's slugging .628 this month after putting up a .786 slugging percentage in August. 

5. This and that
• In Gsellman's August start vs. the Phillies, he only allowed one run while he was in the game. However, he left the bases loaded in the 7th with no outs before A.J. Ellis knocked in the decisive two-run double to give the Phils a lead they would not relinquish.

• Six different Phillies batters had hits off Gsellman, including Jimmy Paredes who went 2 for 3 with a double and an RBI. 

• Despite pitching injuries, the Mets have the eighth-best team ERA in September with a 3.64 average. The Phillies are 15th in baseball with a 4.10 ERA this month.

• The Phillies are 6-9 against the Mets this year. They're already ensured of a better finish than last year's 5-14 mark vs. New York.

Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, 24, killed in boating accident

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USA Today Images

Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, 24, killed in boating accident

MIAMI -- Jose Fernandez, the ace right-hander for the Miami Marlins who escaped Cuba to become one of baseball's brightest stars, was killed in boating accident early Sunday morning. Fernandez was 24.

The Marlins announced Fernandez's death, and the U.S. Coast Guard confirmed that Fernandez was one of three people killed in a boat crash off Miami Beach.

In the statement, the Marlins say they are "devastated by the tragic loss of Jose Fernandez. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very difficult time."

Chief Petty Officer Nyxolyno Cangemi told The Associated Press that a Coast Guard patrol boat spotted an overturned boat at 3:30 a.m. on a jetty near Government Cut. The bodies were discovered a short time later.

Because the boat was on a jetty, the Coast Guard notified Miami-Dade police, which turned the investigation over to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Fernandez was on a 32-foot vessel that had a "severe impact" with a jetty, said Lorenzo Veloz of the Fish Commission.

A news conference was planned for later Sunday morning.

Fernandez was a two-time All-Star who went 38-17 in his four seasons with the Marlins, winning the NL's Rookie of the Year award in 2013. The native of Santa Clara, Cuba became a U.S. citizen last year.

He tried to defect from Cuba at least three times -- landing in jail after one of those unsuccessful tries -- before eventually getting to the U.S. and going to high school in Tampa, Florida. The Marlins drafted him in 2011 and Fernandez was in the majors two years later.

The Marlins' game Sunday at home against the Atlanta Braves has been cancelled.