PHILADELPHIA — Michael Vick and Nick Foles soon could be in the middle of another quarterback controversy.
Vick is day to day because of a hamstring injury that forced him out of Philadelphia’s 36-21 win at the New York Giants on Sunday, and coach Chip Kelly said Foles could win the starting job based on his performance. Foles threw for 197 yards and two touchdowns against the Giants in slightly over a half.
“There’s always open competition,” Kelly said Monday. “So if Nick goes out there and throws 100 for 100 and throws 27 touchdown passes, then, yeah (he’s the No. 1).”
Vick was injured running out of bounds on a scramble late in the second quarter. An MRI exam on his left hamstring revealed a pull. Kelly denied reports that Vick already has been ruled out for next Sunday’s game at Tampa Bay (0-4).
“I don’t know if he’ll play,” Kelly said. “We’ll see how he goes through the rehab process. The Mike I know, he’ll work extremely hard at the rehab part of it, and we’ll see how he goes as the week goes along. We have not made any decision on who our starting quarterback is next week.”
Vick has played well for the most part this season. He’s thrown for 1,185 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions. His passer rating of 90.6 is the second-highest in his career, but his completion percentage of 53.8 is his second-worst. Dropped balls aren’t his fault, however. Vick also has run for 307 yards and two TDs.
Foles has 246 yards passing, three scores, zero interceptions and a 122.4 passer rating in parts of two games. The second-year pro was 1-5 as a starter last season after Vick sustained a concussion in November. His only win was on the road against the Buccaneers.
“If someone comes in and puts on an unbelievable performance, you have to take it all into account,” Kelly said.
Aside from the highly unlikely scenario in which Foles goes 100 for 100 with 27 touchdowns, how does Kelly measure an “unbelievable performance”?
“I don’t know,” Kelly said. “If Nick plays this week and does an outstanding job, that would be great for everybody involved.”
Who would be the starting quarterback was the biggest question from the day Kelly replaced Andy Reid in January. Vick beat out Foles after a long battle that ended after the second preseason game.
The two quarterbacks have contrasting styles. Vick, who had 79 yards rushing against the Giants, remains one of the league’s top scramblers. Foles is more of a classic pocket passer.
Still, Kelly insists he doesn’t alter his game plan for either quarterback.
“We run the same,” he said. “We do the same things offensively with Nick that we did with Mike, so we didn’t have to deviate much from anything in terms of what we’re doing, and I think that’s the beauty of those guys. We’ve had enough time with both of those guys. We’ve all been here since April, so we have an understanding. There are some things that Nick does different than Mike does. But it’s not like we have to say, ‘Hey, we’re going to be an I-formation team on Sunday if Nick’s in the game.’”
Though Kelly’s read-option offense seems more suited for Vick, depends on how defenses play the Eagles. Foles threw more passes than Vick against the Giants because of the way the defense set up.
“They started doing some line stunts up front,” Kelly said. “I think we were trying to take advantage of some of the things they were trying to do with us coverage-wise and get some guys uncovered. We didn’t really run the read-option so I think that’s a big misconception. We didn’t run much before that either.”
If Vick can’t play this week, rookie Matt Barkley would be the backup. Barkley was inactive for the first five games.
“Matt does a really good job on the scout squad,” Kelly said. “I’ve seen Matt improve, and I think the one thing about Matt is he loves football. So he’s around here all the time. He studies all the time. Obviously he’s not going to have as many reps as you would feel really comfortable in with a guy getting thrown into that situation. He’s not going to have the reps that Nick had but I feel comfortable in what Matt can do as a quarterback.”