Chip Kelly Is Getting What He Wants From Quarterback CompetitionBREAKING NEWS, Eagles, News, Quarterbacks Friday, August 16th, 2013
The Eagles got more quality play from Michael Vick and Nick Foles, last night during the Birds 14-9 win over the Carolina Panthers. This means Chip Kelly’s quarterback project is working. His quarterback competition is forcing both Vick and Foles to play their best football.
So far this preseason, Vick has completed 13 of 15 passes for 199 yard, one touchdown, and an interception which was a Hail Mary at the end of the half last night. Foles has completed 11 of 14 passes for 96 yards with a costly fumble and interception. He played very well except for those two mistakes. Vick has yet to turn the ball over in the preseason.
Everybody has been so focused on the competition for the starting quarterback position, that we have failed to acknowledge the way it has forced both quarterbacks to raise their level of play. I think this competition has been Kelly’s way of forcing Vick in particular, to play the game on a higher level.
Kelly is getting what he wants and he has no intention of stopping his plan now, since it’s getting such excellent results.
“I told you since Day 1 we’re not going to make any rash decisions,” Kelly told reporters last night after being asked if he was ready to name a starting quarterback. “You can put your pens down if you think I’m going to name a starting quarterback in this room right now.”
Remember that Kelly said he resigned Vick because of his skill set. He didn’t say it was because of the way Vick had played the last couple of years.
Anyone with eyes can see that Vick’s tremendous arm and foot speed fit Kelly’s system and have the potential of making the uptempo offense more potent, as long as he is making good decisions, taking care of the football and staying healthy.
The first year Eagles coach looked at the tapes of a year ago and saw Vick playing poorly and turning the ball over time and time again. Still this didn’t erase the potential Vick has in this offense.
Vick had flourished when he came off the bench for Kevin Kolb during the 2009 season. He was a candidate for the NFL MVP award that year, when he under the pressure of trying to get off the bench and prove to the nation that he could still play. So Kelly probably decided that the veteran quarterback needed some pressure.
So Kelly decided to provide that pressure for Vick through competition. He wasn’t going to allow him to be comfortable, like he had been under Andy Reid during the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
When the mini-camps came to a close, Vick complained publicly about Kelly’s insistence that the quarterback competition go on throughout the offseason and training camp, but the rookie NFL coach didn’t flinch. He probably cheered behind the scenes when Vick made the public statement, because this showed the competition was doing what he wanted, making the veteran quarterback uncomfortable.
Kelly’s goal is not to make Vick or Foles comfortable, it’s to get better play out of the quarterback position.
The six-foot veteran left hander also complained about the use of the flyswatters during seven-on-seven, but he continued to throw passes into them. Kelly refused to take them down and Vick has started to adjust his throws to get his passes to his receivers, which was the reason Kelly put the flyswatters up there in the first place.
Throughout the offseason, sources were telling me Vick was struggling to pick up Kelly’s system. I saw the practices and I could see he wasn’t separating himself from Foles. At times, he was holding onto the football too long and making poor decisions when he did throw it. Foles was struggling as well, but ever since the Eagles put the pads for training camp Vick’s level of play has gone up substantially.
Vick has accepted the fact that Kelly isn’t going to end the quarterback competition any time soon. It has forced him to be focused every time he comes out on the practice field. The former number one pick has seen the possibilities of what he could do with this offense if he plays at the level of his highest capabilities.
Vick’s improved play has forced Foles to raise his level of play and it’s improved the play the Eagles are getting at the quarterback position, which is what Kelly was after in the first place.
So don’t be surprised if Kelly takes the quarterback competition right up to the end of the preseason and leaves the door open for it to return during the regular season. Whether Vick knows it or not, he performs best under pressure.
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