PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Nick Foles officially remained No. 2 on the depth chart, even as he talked like a starter.
Facing a crush of media in front of his locker, Foles sounded every bit like the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback who will make his first career start Sunday at Washington, not an injured Michael Vick.
“I’m ready,” Foles said after running the first team Wednesday. “I’m excited to just play again. Like I said before, my prayers are with Mike, I just want Mike to be healthy. But it’s my time to go out there and just play and do everything I can for this team and help in any way possible.”
Vick’s status atop the depth chart is a mere formality. He did not practice or even come to the Eagles’ practice facility again Wednesday as he recovers from a significant concussion suffered in last week’s loss to Dallas. His headaches are subsiding, for now, but the veteran still needs to complete the mandated concussion testing this week.
Foles, a third-round draft pick out of Arizona, ran the offense in front of A-list actor Bradley Cooper and remained confident he can help the Eagles end their miserable five-game losing streak.
“I’m going to do my job right now until he gets healthy,” Foles said.
Because Vick had not started his concussion testing, he has not officially been ruled out of Sunday’s game. Coach Andy Reid declined to say when Vick’s status would change. Reid, however, did add Vick had improved.
“Michael’s in a good place,” Reid said. “He’s hurting a little bit from the concussion, but he’s in a good place. I haven’t tried to overburden him right now.”
Vick suffered a concussion after consecutive punishing hits in the second quarter of a 38-23 loss to the Dallas Cowboys
Foles was 22 of 32 for 219 yards with a touchdown and an interception in relief of Vick. Those numbers weren’t enough to help the Eagles avoid their fifth straight loss, a first in coach Reid’s 14 seasons. Reid also discussed Foles as if he’d start against fellow rookie QB, Robert Griffin III.
Philadelphia and Washington, both 3-6, are tied for last place in the NFC East.
“He’s going to handle it like he’s going,” Reid said of Foles. “Whether he does or not, we’ll see how that works out.”
Vick was diagnosed with a significant concussion and told to stay home and rest. Reid stressed several times on Monday just how badly Vick was hurt.
Asked if he expected Vick to play again this season, Reid said, “I think so. We’ve just to see. I don’t know that. He hasn’t done any of the tests so far.” Reid said head trainer Rick Burkholder would discuss Vick’s condition later this week.
Foles was quick to credit Vick as a mentor and an inspiration on the field.
“I’ve learned a lot from him and the guy’s a tough dude,” Foles said. “One of the toughest guys I’ve ever seen. He gets hit, he gets right back up. He gets hit, he gets right back up and he keeps firing.”
Vick got up every time for another snap except the one time he didn’t — and now Foles is poised to prove he’s the right guy for the job Sunday … and the future.
With little to play for this season, the time could be right anyway for Foles to take over and see if he can start to prove he’s the QB of the future. Vick struggled most of this season and is no longer the dynamic playmaker he was in Atlanta and early in his Eagles tenure. Foles’ performance down the stretch could be a factor in evaluating if Reid deserves to return for a 15th season, though that appears a long shot.
“I have a lot of confidence in him,” Reid said. “That’s why I brought him here.”
Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, who will play after suffering a strained back against Dallas, said the team believed in Foles. Unlike some teams, like the New York Jets this week, there is strong support for the backup quarterback.
“He can throw the ball in places, put the ball in certain places, not most guys can do in this league,” Maclin said. “When he got into the preseason, the poise that he showed, it’s not what most rookie quarterbacks show.
“I was impressed with that.”
The Eagles were impressed with Cooper, star of “The Hangover,” who mingled with players and posed for pictures before practice. Cooper was at the facility as part of a promotional tour for his new movie, “The Silver Linings Playbook.” Cooper, raised in northeast Philadelphia, plays an Eagles fan in the film — one who surely wouldn’t love this disaster of a season.