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]

Penn State president 'pleased' to see Penn State thriving again

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Associated Press

Penn State president 'pleased' to see Penn State thriving again

NEW YORK -- NCAA President Mark Emmert says he is pleased to see how well Penn State's football team has bounced back from the sanctions the program received in 2012 after the Sandusky scandal.

No. 5 Penn State (11-2) is having its best season since Jerry Sandusky, a longtime assistant of late Nittany Lions coach Joe Paterno, was arrested in 2011 for sexually abusing boys. The Nittany Lions won their last nine games and the Big Ten title.

"I think it's terrific," said Emmert, who spoke at an intercollegiate athletics forum sponsored by Learfield Communications on Wednesday in Manhattan.

"I think what Penn State went through is an awful situation and it's still playing out sadly. But the football program is still Penn State and they showed it and they did really well. The university has done an amazing job to put in place all of the things their board wanted and our board wanted."

The NCAA went outside its usual process to sanction Penn State in 2012. The school was hit with massive scholarship limitations and a four-year bowl ban, along with fines. The school also agreed to enact dozens of reforms recommended in a report by former FBI director Louis Freeh on the scandal.

The original scholarship and postseason penalties were eventually rolled back. Emmert said he was pleased the roll back helped Penn State recover more quickly, and that NCAA sanctions are not meant to cripple an athletic program.

"I've always said and always believed that Penn State first and foremost is a great university ... and secondly it's got wonderful sports traditions. How could you not be pleased that they're playing good football again? That's very good stuff," he said.

Emmert covered numerous topics in a 30-minute question-and-answer session, and after he spoke with group of reporters for 15 more minutes.

-- He declined to weigh in on whether the College Football Playoff selection committee made the right decision with the four teams it chose to compete for the national championship, but he did say he would prefer an eight-team playoff that would include automatic bids for the Power Five conference champions.

"I think a conference championship ought to count for something. I think how you determine your champion is up to somebody else," Emmert said. "I'd like to see all five of the conference champions get in the playoff."

The NCAA has no authority over the College Football Playoff.

"That's why we live in America. Everybody can have an opinion," Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany joked, when asked about Emmert's comments. "He doesn't have a vote, though."

-- Emmert said he would like to see the new NCAA football oversight committee better define the purpose of bowl games. There are 40 and some spots are given to teams with sub.-500 records. The NCAA does not run bowl games. It does have a sanctioning process, but mostly it lets conferences decide whether they want to put on games.

"What do we, the membership of intercollegiate athletics, want bowl games to be?" Emmert said. "Are they a 13th game that's an exhibition game? Are they a reward for having won something? We have teams in now that can get into a bowl game having won two or three of their conferences games."

-- The NCAA pulled its championship events out of North Carolina in September because of a state law that limits anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people. The decision was later criticized by Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins in an Wall Street Journal op-ed. Jenkins said the NCAA should not be a moral arbiter.

"He and I have chatted a lot about that issue, and obviously I disagree and obviously, more importantly the board of governors disagreed," Emmert said.
The NCAA will choose sites for future championship events in April and part of that is a "fairly complex process," Emmert said, of looking at the local and state laws of potential host locations.

"One of the considerations we have now as we make those decisions, as the sport committees make decisions about where they go, is going to be LGBT rights," he said. "I think and hope and believe, maybe wishfully, that North Carolina will modify their position because citizens want that."

-- Emmert said the Big 12 deciding not to expand was a "good thing for college sports."

"I think the last round was very disruptive. It had a negative impact on so many schools, even personal relationships. It was hard and I'm glad we didn't have to go through that again. Even on a smaller scale," Emmert said.

Trade front quiet, but Phillies could lose a player or 2 in Rule 5 draft

Trade front quiet, but Phillies could lose a player or 2 in Rule 5 draft

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The Phillies have a history of adding players in the Rule 5 draft. The annual event, designed to prevent teams from stockpiling minor-league talent without giving it a shot in the majors, has netted the Phillies players such as Dave Hollins, Shane Victorino and Odubel Herrera over the years.

The year’s Rule 5 draft will be held Thursday morning at the conclusion of the winter meetings, but it’s highly unlikely that the Phillies will be active. After adding 11 prospects to their 40-man roster two weeks ago, the Phillies are simply out of room. Selecting a player in the Rule 5 draft would first require the Phils to cut a player loose and that did not seem to be the plan as the sun set Wednesday.

While an addition is unlikely, there’s a strong possibility that the Phils will lose a player or two in the draft. Outfielder Andrew Pullin, a 2012 draft pick, is the likeliest to go. He hit .322 with a .885 OPS between Single A and Double A in 2016 and a number of teams are buzzing about him. A late-season elbow injury prevented Pullin from playing in the Arizona Fall League and factored into the Phillies’ decision to leave him unprotected.

If a team rolls the dice on Pullin, it must keep him in the majors all season or offer him back to the Phillies.

Other players who could go include first baseman/outfielder Brock Stassi, outfielder Carlos Tocci and pitchers Miguel Nunez and Hoby Milner.

All quiet for now
Phillies general manager Matt Klentak spent Wednesday meeting with agents and representatives from other clubs.

“Nothing is hot at the moment,” he said late in the day.

Klentak has brought back starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson, added relievers Joaquin Benoit and Pat Neshek and traded for outfielder Howie Kendrick this offseason. The biggest remaining issue/question on his plate is whether to add a veteran hitter in a corner outfield spot or keep the pathway open for young players such as Roman Quinn and eventually Dylan Cozens and Nick Williams. 

“Successfully balancing the present and the future is the single greatest challenge that a baseball operations department faces,” Klentak said. “We’ve talked about it all offseason. The decisions that we are making right now about giving playing time to a young player that has cut his teeth in Triple A and needs that opportunity to take the next step as opposed to a shorter-term solution from the outside — that’s one of the main challenges that we’ve run into this offseason.”

While it’s uncertain whether the Phils will add a hitter, they most surely will make other roster tweaks as the winter moves on. They are likely to fill their backup catcher’s spot in-house (see story), but could add a utility infielder and more bullpen depth on minor-league contracts.

“I think there will probably be another move or two before we get to Clearwater,” Klentak said. “Who and when remains to be seen.”