Nick Foles has turned the ball over twice in four preseason drives, while Michael Vick has completed 87 percent of his passes. (AP)
Is Nick Foles losing ground to Michael Vick in the quarterback competition?
Don’t ask Foles.
He’s either an eternal optimist or was just purposely misleading -- or maybe both -- as he deftly sidestepped questions about his status in the Eagles’ quarterback race with even better moves than the ones he showed Thursday night on his seven-yard touchdown run.
Foles was asked after Sunday’s practice if he or Vick got the majority of reps with the first-team offense. On Saturday, Vick took most of the first-team reps after the snaps had been split evenly throughout camp.
“We’re switching,” Foles said. “We’re doing what we’ve been doing. Ya’ll have been there watching us throughout camp. We’re doing the same stuff.”
Actually, for the first time since camp opened, reporters were barred from practice after the first half-hour. Per NFL rules, teams are allowed to close most of practice after the second preseason game.
“Nothing has really changed,” Foles later said. “We’re going at it like we have been.”
Throughout camp, the coaches have alternated the day that each quarterback gets the first chance to lead the first-team offense. Vick came out first Sunday, but Foles continued to be elusive when pressed on the topic.
“We split the reps,” he said. “You know, alternating.”
Foles likewise played word games in response to questions about the perception that he’s lagging behind Vick in the competition and will ultimately lose out to the 33-year-old veteran.
Although each has led two touchdown drives in four full series apiece, Foles has turned the ball over twice. Vick has completed almost 87 percent of his passes and has a passer rating of 113.2. Foles has completed 79 percent of his passes, but his longest pass has gone just 15 yards. His turnovers have helped produce a passer rating of just 65.5.
Does he still think he’s challenging Vick for the starting job?
“My ultimate goal always is to play,” he said. “I’m going to work towards that and not change anything.”
New coach Chip Kelly hasn’t named a leader and said he would take Monday’s off day for the players to assemble with his coaching staff and decide upon a starter for Saturday’s preseason game against the Jaguars.
Kelly on Sunday noted Foles’ ability to bounce back from turnovers. In each of the first two preseason games, Foles has committed a first-series turnover -- fumble against New England, interception against Carolina -- and then led a touchdown drive on his second series.
As a kid, Foles said, turnovers angered him. Now, they motivate him to get back onto the field.
“It’s definitely tough when it happens,” he said, “but you just sort of know your teammates are looking to you because you know you’re going to go back in there. The first thought in my mind when I got to the sidelines [was], ‘I can’t wait to get the ball back. I can not wait to go in and get that ball in the end zone.’ So there’s a fire right there.”