The Eagles on Tuesday began their first training camp under head coach Chip Kelly. (USA Today Images)
Chip Kelly makes his NFL head coaching debut on Sept. 9 on the road against the Redskins.
Contrary to what some have speculated, the Eagles’ coach won’t drag his high-profile quarterback competition right up until the Monday night showdown against the defending NFC East champs.
“We’ll have our starting quarterback named before we get our game plan in for the Redskins,” Kelly said, referring to the season opener in Landover, Md., at FedEx Field.
And when will the team start to prepare for the Redskins?
Kelly joked out this response: “Hopefully, before we play them.”
In reality, teams usually have their starter named by the third preseason game and then use the fourth and final exhibition to rest starters and start prepping for the regular season.
Last year, the Seahawks started rookie quarterback Russell Wilson for their third preseason game over Matt Flynn and then named Wilson as their season starter just a few days later.
The Eagles play their third preseason game against the Jaguars in Jacksonville on Aug. 24, so figure on Kelly taking at least one month to make his decision, unless someone emerges from the pack earlier.
Kelly said Mike Vick and Nick Foles would “probably” split reps at the start of camp, following the same script from the spring camps, but he also said rookie Matt Barkley would get an opportunity to vie for the job.
How long will first-team reps be split?
“I don’t know,” he added. “Until a starter emerges.”
Kelly has said from the start that his quarterback competition would be open and that the position would be earned, not handed over.
Still, that hasn’t stopped speculation that he prefers either Vick, Foles or Barkley -- depending on whom is doing the speculating -- to run his fast-paced offense.
“Everybody will get a chance,” he insisted. “Everybody that’s in camp is going to get an opportunity to show us what their resume is, and your resume is what you put on tape every single day. If someone continues to make plays and another guy continues to not make plays, that guy is going to move up and the other guys is going to move down. There is nothing set in stone. I would say our depth chart is written in sand right now.
“I’m just trying to say it a million different ways until we get our point across,” he added. “There is an open competition and somebody is going to rise to the top and we’ll have a starter named before our first game.”