Mike Vick wants starter named before camp

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Mike Vick wants starter named before camp

Mike Vick has an unrealistic request for Eagles coach Chip Kelly. Name a starting quarterback before the start of training camp.

“Hopefully, Chip makes a decision before training camp and we won’t have to answer that question,” Vick told CSNPhilly.com, “so we can go out there as quarterbacks and just focus on this season and not answer questions about competition every day.”

The quarterback battle between Vick and Nick Foles will be the dominant daily storyline at training camp this summer as the Eagles conduct their first open competition at the game’s most important position in 15 years.

Kelly, hired in January to replace the fired Andy Reid, has repeatedly said he wouldn’t be hurried into to declaring a starter and has said honest personnel decisions at any position can’t be made until the pads come out.

The Eagles wrapped up their final minicamp practice Thursday and won’t reconvene for practice at the NovaCare Complex as a full team until training camp starts July 26. Vick and Foles split first-team reps about 50-50 throughout the minicamps and both faced several questions about the impending competition.

Asked if tension could mount between he and Foles as the competition plays out this summer, Vick said, “Yeah, but hopefully we’ll have an answer by then, so I’m not going to answer that.

“I won’t want to continue to answer those questions. I won’t continue to answer those questions until Chip makes a decision.”

Reminded that Kelly has frequently said no timetable exists for the coaches to make a decision, Vick said, “Then I’m not gonna answer any questions.”

Dodging questions about the No. 1 theme of training camp could potentially bring some criticism his way, from media and fans. Many of Vick’s teammates will also be asked to weigh in on the race.

Vick isn’t concerned about any backlash that may come from being selective with questions he will answer.

“Why not? Who cares?” he said. “Y’all [in the media] kill me anyway, whether it’s right or wrong.”

A few moments later, Vick was approached again to make sure he understood that his comments were on the record. He responded by asking the reporter to print his request that Kelly settle on a starter before camp to avoid the rampant speculation.

“There’s better things to talk about,” Vick added.

Vick’s aspirations to be named the starter before camp directly contradicts Kelly’s repeated claims that he can’t evaluate positions without seeing his team in pads and simulating real game speed.

After the final camp practice, Kelly reiterated that his picture of the team is still highly incomplete.

“We have an understanding of their athletic ability and how they run, change direction and things like that. But there are still a lot of things to be evaluated when you put the pads on,” he said. “It's still a physical game. A lot of guys look great in shorts and T‑shirts, then they disappear when you put the pads on. Until we get the pads on, we can't tell.”

Perhaps Vick thought that he had already won the job when he accepted a major pay cut to preserve his roster spot. Vick restructured his deal in the offseason and stands to make $3.5 million in base salary this year, compared to Foles’ $500,000 salary. Sources close to Vick have always felt that he resigned with the idea that he would eventually be named the starter.

But in the months that have since passed, Kelly has not only reiterated that his quarterback competition would be open and expansive and that his offense didn’t need mobility from the quarterback but the team also drafted former USC quarterback Matt Barkley and added him to the race.

Barkley worked with the third team all throughout camp but Kelly has advised that reps and personnel groupings have meant nothing so far.

Moments before talking to a CSNPhilly.com reporter in the NovaCare Complex hallway, Vick had already expressed some honest frustration about splitting reps with Foles during the camps.

“It’s tough,” he said. “I have to continue to be a professional and put my feelings and emotions to the side, and just continue to compete. But it’s hard. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t, but that’s just what I have to deal with, and I’m going to keep dealing with it until I see otherwise.”

Vick’s remarks that he wouldn’t answer questions at camp pertaining to the quarterback battle doesn’t mean the quarterback plans to boycott the media.

Vick will answer all other questions and speak to the media as often as he usually does, according to a team spokesperson who talked to Vick about those comments made to CSNPhilly.com.

Since joining the Eagles in 2009 after serving a prison sentence for his role in funding a dog-fighting circuit, Vick has been one of the team’s most approachable and accommodating players.

Not since 1997, when Ty Detmer and Rodney Peete entered camp as sparring partners for the quarterback job, have the Eagles opened training camp without a clear No. 1. The advent of social media promises to bring a festival of attention on Vick and Foles. All of their passes will be chronicled, dissected, reported on and discussed through media reports and sports-talk radio.

Asked if the swarm of attention is good preparation for handling the responsibilities that come with being the franchise face, Foles said his attention has to be centered on the team, not handling the media.

“It can’t be on answering every single question,” he said. “We will do that, but at the same time our job is to play well and win games.”

Place Your Bets: NFL draft first-round odds

Place Your Bets: NFL draft first-round odds

So, you think you know where every player will be selected in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft?

Well, here are some odds, courtesy of Bovada, to help you gauge your early predictions for the draft in Philly this week.

Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
We start with McCaffrey, probably the most talked about prospect in Philadelphia entering the first round on Thursday.

Eagles tight end Zach Ertz compared McCaffrey to Darren Sproles. Stanford head coach David Shaw thinks not only would McCaffrey be a good fit in the Eagles' offense, but would also be a great fit in the city of Philadelphia.

Bovada has 2/3 odds of McCaffrey being selected over the 9.5 pick, and has 11/10 odds of him being selected under the 9.5 pick.

CSNPhilly.com's Dave Zangaro has McCaffrey being selected at No. 15 overall by the Indianapolis Colts -- the pick after the Eagles, who are slotted at No. 14 -- in his mock draft.

Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
Fournette has consistently been in the top 10, or sometimes even the top five, of mock drafts.

Many teams covet Fournette for his combination of strength and speed. The LSU product is 6-foot, 240 pounds and ran a 4.51 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine.

Bovada has 2/3 odds of Fournette getting selected over the fourth pick and 11/10 odds of him getting drafted after the fourth pick.

How many RBs/WRs will be selected in first round?
Since Bovada has the same odds for the number of running backs and wide receivers going in the first round, we combined the two.

If you're living under a rock and haven't been following NFL mock drafts since the season ended, there have been three running backs and wide receivers consistently selected in the first round -- WR Mike Williams, WR Corey Davis, WR John Ross, RB Dalvin Cook, RB McCaffrey and RB Fournette.

Here are the identical odds for both position groups:

Over 2.5 with 1/5 odds.
Under 2.5 with 3/1 odds.

How many defensive players will be selected in first round?
This one can get tricky, because you'll have to bank on a few teams getting desperate and drafting some quarterbacks to hit the under.

Over 18.5 with 1/1 odds.
Under 18.5 with 5/7 odds.

How many Alabama players will be selected in first round?
Alabama is the gold standard for NFL players. Every year, the university churns out first-round talent on the opening night of the draft.

In Zangaro's afformentioned mock draft, he has five Alabama players being selected.

Here are the odds:

Over 4.5 with 11/10 odds.
Under 4.5 with 2/3 odds.

Malcolm Jenkins wants the Eagles to take Ohio State CB Gareon Conley

Malcolm Jenkins wants the Eagles to take Ohio State CB Gareon Conley

Malcolm Jenkins allowed himself to get a little selfish on Monday afternoon. 

He wants the Eagles to draft a cornerback. And he wants it to be a Buckeye. 

It's no secret that as the Eagles enter the draft later this week, their biggest need remains at cornerback. With that in mind, Jenkins was asked who he wants the Eagles to pick at 14.  

"I'd love to get a DB," said Jenkins, a proud Ohio State product. "I'd love to get (Gareon) Conley because I don't think (Marshon) Lattimore will be there. We need corners. And I need another Buckeye on the team. Selfishly, I'd like to take him."

It probably is a little selfish of Jenkins to want the Eagles to take a Buckeye with the 14th pick, but that doesn't mean it would be a bad move. Lattimore and Conley, while both fellow Buckeyes, are considered by many to be the top two cornerbacks in this draft class. 

Jenkins said he doesn't know much about the corners in this draft class outside of the Ohio State products, but he knows the class is supposed to be deep. 

What is the difference in talent between Lattimore and Conley? 

"I just think it's two different styles," Jenkins said. "Lattimore is an in-your-face press corner, who is really athletic, can run with anybody. Conley, he can press, but I think he's more of a technician. I think he probably plays zone a little bit better. He reminds me of a Richard Sherman-style player, where when the ball's downfield, he's always in good position. He turns into the receiver, long. It just depends on what you're trying to do."

While the two Ohio State corners are likely to be high draft picks, Jenkins said he thinks safety Malik Hooker is the best of the bunch. Jenkins also said that while watching Ohio State, Conley can get lost in the mix, but "the more you watch him, the more impressive he gets." 

No matter what happens this week, the Eagles are still going to be really young at cornerback next season. Two veteran starters from last year -- Leodis McKelvin and Nolan Carroll -- are gone, leaving a group of mostly really young players. 

It'll be up to Jenkins and fellow safety Rodney McLeod to bring the young corners along. That seems to be a lot of pressure, but Jenkins isn't worried because at least he knows who will be next to him on the field. 

"This is the first year (of) me being here that I've been with the same safety for two years now," he said. "I think having that helps because now you have stability at that position that has to make all the calls, get everybody lined up. So it makes it a lot easier to have some young guys on the outside." 

Jenkins is expecting last year's seventh-round pick, Jalen Mills, to take a big step in Year 2, and he has some familiarity with recently-signed Patrick Robinson, a former first-round pick of the Saints. Then he praised the Eagles' younger corners in the room, including C.J. Smith and Aaron Grymes. 

But still, the Eagles should probably draft a corner or two. 

"There's a lot of competition but we do really need a solid, No. 1 corner just to add some more depth in that room," Jenkins said, "and hopefully we can address that in the draft."