May 20, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles fourth round draft pick quarterback Matt Barkley (2) passes the ball as quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor talks with quarterback Michael Vick (7) during organized team activities at the NovaCare Complex. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles Training Camp Preview: Quarterback

Hi Folks, Adam here. I’m a new addition to the Inside the Iggles team. I’m a die-hard Eagles fan from the East Coast of Canada. During the days leading up to training camp I will be releasing some training camp previews where I break down the competition at each position group and offer my prediction as to who will make the 53 man roster as well as who will be the starters. I look forward to discussing all things Iggles with fellow fans!

Jun 4, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick (7) passes the ball as quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor looks on during minicamp at the NovaCare Complex. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Ahh, it’s that time of year again folks. The first Philadelphia Eagles training camp of the Chip Kelly era is right around the corner. With rookies reporting for training camp on Monday, I’m going to spend to a post doing some positional breakdowns and previews to watch during this years training camp.  We’ll start on the offensive side of the ball with the signal caller, and arguably one of the most important and watched battles of the summer.

Quarterbacks
53 Man Roster Prediction:  Michael Vick, Nick Foles, Matt Barkley
Opening Day Starter Prediction: Michael Vick

Since becoming the head coach of the Eagles the first question Kelly was bombarded with was what was he going to do at the quarterback position. After a MVP caliber 2010 season, earning his second $100 million contract, Vick is coming off two extremely sub-par seasons. He was 10-15 as a starter, struggling with turnovers, sacks and injuries. Although still fast, it looked like Vick was beginning to lose a step. Andy Reid’s attempt to turn Vick into a pocket quarterback was a complete disaster, and it look as though both were going to go down with the ship. While Foles wasn’t anywhere near great last season, he did enough to show that at the very least he was serviceable, which was just about the same as Vick.

Jun 4, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles (9) passes the ball during minicamp at the NovaCare Complex. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports




But, whether it was because Kelly did not see enough in Foles to give him the job or just morbid curiosity (or both), Kelly decided to offer Vick another shot, restructuring his deal to around $7 million ($3.5m guaranteed) with the assumption that the quarterback competition was wide open and that nothing would be handed to anyone. Kelly has stayed true to his word in the mini-camp’s so far, splitting reps between Vick and Foles almost equally.

While not too much weight should be put into reports coming out of minicamp, we’ve been hearing that Vick looks like he’s in great shape this year. Vick knows he absolutely needs to stay healthy which he has only showed once in his career. The quarterback is a distributor and game manager whose job is to get the ball in the hands of his weapons. Vick playing hero ball is what causes him to get hurt, take sacks, and turn the ball over. That can’t happen.

Foles seems to have spent his off-season working on his mechanics. One of his biggest knocks last year was his footwork and throwing mechanics. On any intermediate to deep throws, there was never much “zip” on Foles’ passes. From what we’ve been reading, Foles passes have looked much more crisp and accurate. For Foles to win the starting job he needs to continue showing that he has fixed these issues.

Barkley is a bit of an unknown. It’s an extreme long shot for him to win the job out of camp with the two guys in front of him having NFL starter experience. While Barkley does have experience in a pro-style offense, nothing can substitute NFL snaps. Reports are Barkley has been impressive in camp, making audibles at the line and helping his team line up properly. These are all good signs for a rookie, and  means that Barkley is not in over his head this year. There is a chance that if both guys ahead of Barkley struggle late into the season that he could see playing time this year, but I don’t feel there is any need to rush him.

You’ve got to feel a bit bad for Dennis Dixon. Leaving the defending Super Bowl champs to go play for his old college coach, who turned him into a Heisman candidate. After spending years bouncing around on practice squads, it looked as though Dixon might have had a shot landing on at least the 53-man roster. But now, with the addition of Barkley, Dixon may find himself as just a camp body who has experience in Chip’s offense. I think the only scenario that ends well for Dixon is for Foles to win the job and for Vick to get cut, then he may end up being the third guy. Unfortunately for G.J Kinnie it seems as though he is also a camp body.

I feel Vick will win the job. He is hands down the most talented quarterback on the roster and has the experience as a franchise quarterback and


starter. He has a skill set that, if Kelly chooses to implement it, would be great to run the read option. While not as fast as he used to be he is still very dangerous with the ball in his hands. He’s got a cannon for an arm and has one of the best deep balls in the NFL. If Kelly can scheme around Vicks weaknesses he could be effective.

Toughest thing for Vick will be that athletic ability and arm strength are not necessarily the biggest thing Kelly looks for to run his offense. Two of the most important things Chip values in a QB is his ability to make good decisions and reads and not turning the ball over/taking sacks. These are two of the things Vick has struggled with for most of his career and I don’t foresee that changing at 33-years old. This is where the door opens for Nick Foles and Matt Barkley at some point this season. For Foles it might even be in training camp.

All in all this quarterback battle will make for an extremely exciting training camp and I can’t wait to see how this plays out. I hope Chip doesn’t drag on the competition too late into the preseason — but I think it might, as Chip will want to see every quarterback in action during a real game setting before he can truly make a choice.

Get yo popcorn ready! (Sorry for T.O reference)

Tags: Chip Kelly Dennis Dixon Matt Barkley Michael Vick NFC East NFL Nick Foles Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Competition Training Camp

  • Dr Muon Funk

    I would be shocked if Vick is the starter. Not that I hate Vick. He just hasn’t shown good decision making skills ever in his career. That is not the Chip Kelly way. I foresee Foles and even Barkley over Vick.

  • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

    A good point for sure. My thought process behind this was Vick will look better in camp, and for Chip to keep the locker room he needs to stay true to his word that the best man will win the job. I agree that Vick hasn’t been able to show good decision making skills in the in his career and it may end up costing him his job at some point this season, because Chip will not like Vick ride out his cold streaks like Andy did. He will be promptly benched.

    At the same time though, I think Vick can have a good season as long as his weaknesses are kept in mind when Chip game plans. Andy tried to force a square peg into a round hole with Vick as a pure pocket passer. I think Chip can find a balance with Mike that allows him to use his strengths and minimizes his weaknesses.

    Vick operating at full potential (a la 2010) was better than anything Foles showed us last year. While Foles may have a higher ceiling Chip will go with the guy that can win now.

  • Dr Muon Funk

    Adam, You do bring up great points. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what Chips offense really will look like. If it looks like New England’s O my guess Foles will be at the helm but if it looks like a hybrid of Oregon, Vick has a shot.