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As much as Nick Foles tried to downplay it, it was impossible to ignore the reality that he was running the first-team offense when OTAs started Monday.
Chip Kelly has said all along that Foles and Michael Vick would split reps this offseason, and Monday’s practice was the first real evidence we’ve seen that he means it.
Vick took the initial first-team reps last week at the one practice that was open to the media, and Foles took the first set of reps on Monday.
In both cases, both shared reps somewhat evenly, with Matt Barkley clearly the third guy.
Opening day is a little more than three months away, and everything really does point to true open competition for the Eagles’ starting quarterback job.
“Everybody gets reps and there’s no particular order,” Foles said after practice. “We just go out there and rep.
“I don’t think any of us really think first, second, third, whatever. When it’s time to go up, we’ve got to go execute the play. Your mindset is that you’re in a game and you’re playing the situation.”
Vick was the Eagles’ opening-day QB the last two years, Kevin Kolb in 2010, Donovan McNabb every year from 2000 through 2009.
In fact, the last time the Eagles’ quarterback spot was unsettled during an offseason was 1997, when Ty Detmer and Rodney Peete battled for the job.
That was 16 years ago.
Now Foles and Vick are going at it, even though Foles said the quarterback competition isn’t even on his mind.
Which might seem kind of odd, but Foles insists it’s true.
“Because in your mind you’re always the first team,” he said. “I don’t care who you’re playing with, you can’t go out there [thinking], ‘I’m a third-team guy.’ No, you play like you’re the first team, you play like you’re the starter. You have to have that mindset, no matter who you are.
“If you’re a rookie coming in, you’ve got to have the mindset that my goal is to be the first-team quarterback, it’s not to sit behind anybody. I think it’s just a mindset. You have to place your mindset there.
“It doesn’t mean you’re going to be successful doing that, but it gives you a better opportunity being confident, being confident for your teammates. If they see you being confident, it’s going to be like, ‘Hey, this guy knows what he’s doing. So we’re going to go out there, We ve got to do our job, because he’s going to execute the play.”
Foles last year became the first rookie in NFL history to throw for at least 240 yards per game while completing 60 percent of his passes. Vick was 8-2 in his first 10 starts as an Eagle but is 10-15 since.
Vick, like Foles, downplayed who got reps and when. This competition will be won in training camp and in the preseason games.
"I'm learning the system,” Vick said. “I can go out and run the practice with the ones or with the twos or whoever I'm out there with and get guys lined up.
“I think I can still make all the throws, I'm confident in that. Just learning how to play football a different way, different concepts and a different scheme. We're all a work in progress.”
Vick vs. Foles.
Foles vs. Vick.
One is the most dangerous running quarterback in NFL history and has a huge arm, the other is young, decisive and accurate.
It’s going to be a fascinating summer.
“Every day I get more and more comfortable,” Foles said. “The more you’re in a system, the more you rep plays, you just get more and more comfortable because visually you’re seeing it, you’re going through it, you’re studying it.
“And I think the big thing is everybody else is getting more comfortable and working together, so you’re able to feel like if they give us this coverage on this route, I know the receiver’s going to do that, because a lot of times we’re throwing the ball before they’re breaking, so we have to know what their landmark is.
“So I think that’s the big thing. We’re progressing as a team in every situation.”