Realistically, any one of the Eagles' three QBs could play Sunday vs. the Giants. (AP)
Mike Vick isn’t practicing at full speed (see story), Nick Foles just isn’t practicing and Matt Barkley is taking first-team reps for the unlikely -- but not unfeasible -- scenario in which he plays Sunday against the Giants.
The minutes between now and kickoff Sunday at the Linc are dwindling, and head coach Chip Kelly is anything but comfortable about his starting quarterback situation.
Vick, nursing a hamstring injury, is expected to start, but he hasn’t yet sprinted to fully test the injury that sidelined him for the past two games. He's expected to test it at full speed Friday (see story).
Foles, who sustained a concussion against Dallas, hasn’t taken his ImPACT test yet, which means he’s still in the early stages of a sometimes-lengthy concussion recovery process.
Kelly couldn’t, or just wouldn’t, say Wednesday at what point he’d have to consider upping the first-team reps for Barkley, the only quarterback at 100 percent.
“I need to know as close [to kickoff] as we can get to go, but I can’t force the health issue,” Kelly said. “From a standpoint of, when would I feel comfortable? I would have felt comfortable four weeks ago, but I can’t control that, and that’s the deal.
“I don’t mean to be evasive, and I know people ask the questions, but two weeks ago, Nick Foles was ready to go (against Tampa) and then on Friday at practice he hurts his groin. And we’re like, basically, ‘Holy crap, what do we do now?
“Thank goodness it wasn’t a real serious deal and it didn’t affect him and he went out and played really well in the Tampa Bay game. But on the same day our emergency quarterback, James Casey, goes down with a groin and misses the game.
“So I don’t go to bed any day feeling comfortable about anything, because the next day you go out and practice, something can happen. So I don’t look at it from that standpoint.”
Kelly repeated that he won’t officially name a starter until he’s certain that his starter is healthy enough to play. Vick on Tuesday took his first 11-on-11 snaps at practice since pulling his hamstring Oct. 6 against the Giants, with Barkley mixing in to take the standard number of No. 2 quarterback reps.
Wednesday’s practice should give Kelly a better indication of Vick’s readiness to play Sunday. And, of course, Vick will have to run at full speed sometime soon to truly measure his ability to suit up.
“The biggest test for him is, ‘How does he bounce back? Where is he from one day to the next day in where he is?’” Kelly said. “I can be honest with you, I don’t think he ran 100 percent. He wasn’t running full sprints out there [Tuesday] in practice, but he looks like he’s progressing.”
Foles, who sustained his concussion at the end of the third quarter against Dallas, seems unlikely to be eligible to start. Dressing might not be an option. Kelly said Foles met with trainers on Wednesday but still hadn’t made enough progress to get onto the practice field.
“Nick is doing better,” Kelly said. “He has to go through a set protocol of when he’s allowed back. He’ll have to see an independent [neurologist] before he’s allowed back, but in talking to him he said he feels like he’s doing better.”
The Giants seem much more certain about the Eagles’ quarterback situation than Kelly did. On a conference call, Giants coach Tom Coughlin said his defense is preparing to play against Vick.
“We expect that Michael Vick will play and that’s how we’ll prepare,” Coughlin said. “But we do have tape, certainly, on Foles, and of course the end of the ball game the other day (Oct. 6) we have tape as well. We have a little bit of knowledge about everybody. We’re in the same boat as a lot of you (reporters) are. But we do have to draw some conclusions and move ahead.
“The starter beginning the season, until the injury in our game, was Michael Vick, and Michael -- we’re expecting -- will play.”