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Have We Seen Enough of the Eagles’ QB Competition? And More Observations

Have We Seen Enough of the Eagles’ QB Competition? And More Observations

At this point you probably should be resigned to the inevitable. Barring injury or a dramatic reversal of fortune, Michael Vick will be named the Eagles’ starting quarterback sometime between now and September 9.

It’s not that Nick Foles has been bad by any means. The 24 year old moved the offense quite capably. It’s just, well… he’s made a mistake or two, whereas Vick has not yet.

Vick has struggled to throw so much as an incomplete pass for that matter. The four-time Pro Bowler’s line through two preseason games: 13 for 15, 199 yards – better than 13 per attempt – one touchdown. He’s run twice for 20 yards. Perhaps most important of all, Vick has only been sacked once, and his lone turnover came on an interception off a Hail Mary as the game clock expired.

Foles has been sharp, too, completing 78.6% of his passes while leading a pair of scoring drives. He’s turned the ball over twice though, at least one of which was almost entirely his own fault. Not saying it’s fair – Foles had just 31 preseason snaps to prove himself. That’s simply what happened.

On the other hand, that’s why there isn’t really any reason to wave off the competition yet, either. Vick has been on the field for all of 30 snaps himself, and while it’s been a quality 30 snaps, they’re not enough to totally convince anybody he’s heading for a second Comeback Player of the Year award, are they?

Vick deserves the start in preseason game three in Jacksonville on Saturday. He probably deserves a majority of the reps, too. That said, there really isn’t any reason for Chip Kelly to formally name him the starting quarterback for Week 1 in Washington. Based on what, half a game’s work?

I don’t expect anything to change in terms of who will be under center, but Foles could still use the reps – we’ve seen Vick get hot, get hurt before. The extra series or two a 10-year veteran will lose isn’t going to get him any more ready for the regular season, whereas it can actually help a second-year quarterback a great deal. And history suggests he may need it.

Let’s see this through to the end, even if it might be a bit of a farce coming down the home stretch. And then let’s get on to the regular season already.

RISING FALLING

LeSean McCoy

Eight carries for 47 yards (5.9 per carry), plus he punched one in at the goal line. Three catches, 16 yards. Beyond solid in pass protection. Oh, and there was his 21 scamper where it seemed as if he was running around the field looking for Panthers defenders to juke. He's going to be real fun to watch, folks.

Chris Polk

Did some things well. Is willing in protection. Contributes on special teams. Finished with five carries for 24 yards, much better than Week 1. However, that fumble lost is killer, took 3-7 points off the board for the Eagles. Bryce Brown has had issues with this in the past, and he didn’t even play, so it won’t necessarily cost Polk playing time, but enough to get him the “falling” column here.

Jason Avant

Shows chemistry with the quarterback regardless who is under center. What he lacks in pure athleticism he still makes up for in timing and intelligence. Made one mistake in illegally blocking downfield, but just a brain fart. Came back on the next play and got most of the yards back. Finished with four catches for 42 yards on four targets, giving him seven for 84 this preseason. Doesn’t look like his role will diminish any.

Jason Kelce

Arguably has been their most solid lineman. Evan Mathis looked a little rusty against Carolina, and Todd Herremans had something of an up-and-down night versus the Patriots. Allen Barbre seems to be getting some help while filling in over at left tackle, and naturally looks better in this OL-friendly offense. Lane Johnson has impressed, but is a rookie. Kelce has looked natural and strong in both phases, and hasn’t missed any game snaps – big positives coming off last season’s knee injury.

Zach Ertz

Nice improvement over a week ago. Had two catches for 36 yards, both to convert third downs. Had another big catch that was wiped away by a penalty. Saw him make one nice block on a wide receiver screen, driving his man past the sticks. All came against a second-string defense, still positive all the same.

Greg Salas

Has garnered some attention as a possible candidate to fill the fifth receiver spot on the roster. Caught two balls for 27 against Carolina. Also sort of forced a muffed punt as he was engaged with the blocker who disrupted the returner’s effort to field the kick.  Now has five receptions for 81 and a TD, and some circus catches in practice.

Matt Tobin

I suppose when you’re the backup to the left tackle’s backup (and that guy [Allen Barbre] probably wouldn’t start before the Eagles moved Lane Johnson there, Todd Herremans to right tackle, and played somebody else at guard), there’s no need to say too much. Didn’t keep Dennis Dixon’s blindside clean, nearly resulting in a turnover. Not very promising in general.

MIXED REVIEWS

Nick Foles

Bobbled two shotgun snaps against Carolina – one he kept his poise and converted a third down, the other he wound up throwing an interception. Made a dangerous-looking fake lateral on a zone keeper. Appeared to make the wrong read on one of those packaged plays, handing off with a loaded box. Just hasn’t had the big plays Vick has. Eagles are probably fine if he winds up starting, but has not made the most of opportunities so far.

Russell Shepard

Has made more plays on special teams than Salas. Ran right through a “wedge” to blow up a kickoff return around the 10-yard line. Is usually in position to force the issue with the punt returner. Has shown no ability as a wide receiver though. Went untargeted last week, and has just one catch for four yards overall. Special teams are important, but I don’t know if they’re that important.

Michael Bamiro

His second week was better than the first. Got out and made a couple of nice blocks on runs to help seal the deal over the Panthers as the clock wound down in the fourth quarter. Did get beat in pass protection once where he couldn’t recover, but the QB got the ball out. Has a lot of work to do, which is to be expected from a rookie who only went pro about a week before training camp. Improvement from one week to the next is a good sign though.

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J.J. Redick once impressed Ryan Howard with his baseball skills

J.J. Redick once impressed Ryan Howard with his baseball skills

Philadelphia 76ers talk is coming.

Members of the Philly media are meeting with Brett Brown today for their yearly before-the-season lunch. Then, next week, Sixers media day will be here.

That means Sixers' news will be coming at you fast like an undead snow bear messing up Thoros of Myr.

We got a nice little primer for that today when the Inquirer's Bob Ford wrote a wonderful read on the friendship between new Sixer J.J. Redick and one of Philly's all-time favorite basketballers in Jameer Nelson.

Nelson was with the Orlando Magic when Redick got drafted as an over-confident shooter out of Duke. He showed him the ropes and the two bonded over work ethic and a desire for honesty.

It's a really good read to get to know both players more closely. And hints at some of the reasons the Sixers went out and spent big money on Redick this offseason.

“It’s not always easy to talk to peers and tell them what they need to do,” Nelson says. “But he wanted to learn, wanted to get better. It’s a competition and it’s not for everyone. You don’t always find guys like that.”

“Something both of them have in common is honesty,” Van Gundy says. “Neither one is afraid of honesty. They were easy to coach because they liked to be told the truth, and they weren’t afraid to tell you the truth, either to a coach or another teammate. You never had to wonder what’s going on with this guy or anything else.”

Will Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Markelle Fultz be receptive to hearing the truth, perhaps when it's not the easiest to handle? Sounds like J.J. is going to be telling it.

There's a fun nugget about how those Orlando Magic teams used to bond back in the day by Nelson bringing his teammates up to Philly for a week at a time during the offseason to play ball, but also to have fun off the court, like on the paintball field or at a Phillies game.

“My favorite one was a paintball competition,” Redick says. “We drove about an hour outside the city and divided up into teams and we went at it. That was a blast. Another time we went to the Phillies and took batting practice with the team. And the whole week, you’re riding together to workouts or just spending time, and you’re sort of out of your element, so you open up. I’d also mention that I had, by far, the best swing on the team. Ryan Howard told me that I looked like the only person on the entire team that had actually played baseball.”

Basketball is back soon and it'll be fun to watch J.J. play the mentoring role this time around.

>>How Jameer Nelson helped make J.J. Redick an NBA player, and got a friend in return [Philly.com]

From last night- father/son time at the ballpark ⚾️🏟.

A post shared by JJ Redick (@jjredick) on