Eagles DC: Advantages to not naming starting QB

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Eagles DC: Advantages to not naming starting QB

Eagle Eye: What to do at QB

October 15, 2013, 4:15 pm
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The Eagles haven't named Michael Vick or Nick Foles the starter for Sunday's game. (AP)

On Monday, Eagles coach Chip Kelly dismissed a question about competitive advantages in keeping the opponent guessing about his starting quarterback.

“I don't think so,” Kelly said. “I mean, I think they are still going to practice.”

Apparently, his defensive coordinator disagrees.

On Tuesday, Bill Davis reflected on a game last year when his staff didn’t know which quarterback would start for the opponent.

Davis coached linebackers in Cleveland under then-head coach Pat Shurmur, who’s now the Eagles’ offensive coordinator. The Browns played a Dec. 16 home game against the Redskins and weren’t sure in the week leading up if an injured Robert Griffin III would recover in time for the game or if the ’Skins would start backup Kirk Cousins.

Cousins didn’t present the running and read-option threat that Griffin did.

“And they did a nice job of not knowing which one we were going to get, Cousins or RG3, and we played it a lot for the read option and all that,” Davis said. “Spent a lot of practice time doing that and then all of a sudden we got Kirk Cousins and it wasn't that plan at all.”

Cousins shined in Griffin’s place, passing for 329 yards and throwing two touchdowns in his NFL starting debut as the Redskins won, 38-21.

“So you took a lot of your reps away,” Davis continued. “So it really makes you split your preparation for the week because you have to prepare for both. You can't read into anything. You have to make sure that you're ready for all scenarios and when you have two drastically different quarterbacks, it does cut your preparation in half.”

The Eagles have a similar situation this week as they prepare for their Sunday home showdown against the Cowboys with first place in the NFC East hanging in the balance.

Michael Vick hasn’t been ruled out, although he painted a pessimistic picture of being recovered enough from a hamstring injury to start (see story). Foles, who started in Vick’s place and beat Tampa Bay on Sunday, is preparing to make his second start.

“We'll just see,” Shurmur said. “We're out here today practicing, but … Coach Kelly will address those issues about who the quarterback is when both of them are healthy, and at this point we will go with Nick and then when Mike's healthy then we'll have that discussion.”

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