Chip Kelly watched Michael Vick complete 9 of 10 passes in the Eagles' win over the Panthers on Thursday night. (USA Today Images)
After two near-perfect preseason performances by Michael Vick, how can Eagles coach Chip Kelly not immediately name the veteran quarterback as his regular-season starter?
Apparently, very easily.
Even after Vick’s 9-for-10 effort Thursday night against Carolina (see Instant Replay), Kelly urged reporters not to stop the presses (or hit delete on their web pages) in anticipation of him tabbing the 33-year-old quarterback as his guy.
“No, we're going to watch the tape,” Kelly insisted. “I've told you since Day 1, we're not going to make any rash decisions. You can put your pens down if you think we're naming a starting quarterback in this room right now.”
It appears the competition will stretch into another week, with Round 3 taking place next Saturday night in Jacksonville. Kelly and his coaching staff have to evaluate tape of the Carolina win, even though Vick’s stats on paper are superior -- albeit, mildly -- to Nick Foles’ after each has led the first-team offense for four full series.
“I thought Mike, you know, put another good game together, but we're going to evaluate everything,” Kelly said. “I thought besides the throwaway that Nick couldn't get out of the end zone, he did a nice job, too.
“I think we have two quarterbacks that can play in an NFL game, so we'll continue to look at it. But you feel better about that situation. Sometimes, I think you get nervous because you don't have anybody, and it's a default decision, but again, I thought both those guys played well.
“I know Nick wants that [interception] back. But Mike's got a good grasp of what's going on. So it's a positive for both of those guys. And I thought [third-stringer] Matt Barkley did a nice job when he was in there.”
Kelly keeps making it clear that he won’t be strong-armed into making an early decision and that he’s perfectly content to take as much time as he needs, even if the competition drags until the fourth and final preseason game Aug. 29 against the Jets.
But he has also said that he hoped one would emerge before the fourth preseason game, and that when one did, it would be obvious.
So far, Vick has compiled a passer rating of 113.1 compared to Foles’ 65.7, but Kelly didn’t seem to paint Vick as the lead horse in the race.
“I mean, we're going to make the decision,” Kelly said. “I think they're doing a great job of making it difficult, because they're both playing at a high level right now. So I look at that as a positive. We've got two guys that can play football in this league.
“But we're going to have to make a decision. We're not going to sit there and rotate them on every play. So we'll see. You have no idea. One of them may sprain the ankle walking in the parking lot, and then the decision is made. I don't know. I think it's a good situation the way both those guys are playing right now. I think they can move our offense, and that pleases everybody.”