Chip Kelly Likes What He Sees From His Quarterbacks
By Joseph Santoliquito
Philadelphia, PA (CBS) —Chip Kelly completed his first full day of training camp with a full Eagles squad, and as predicted going in, all eyes were on quarterbacks Michael Vick, Nick Foles and Matt Barkley.
A glut of media followed their every move, as well as a special, small contingent of select name-tag wearing fans that were allowed to watch Vick, Foles and Barkley throw at the NovaCare Complex.
A few things were certain: Kelly appears as if he plans on running the read option, which may give the quarterback edge to Foles, with a lot of rolling out and reliability on the feet, which may give the edge to Vick.
It’s too bad Kelly can’t merge the best qualities in each to comprise one quarterback. One starting quarterback.
Both Foles and Vick looked sharp. And Barkley was practicing drop-back steps, and the proper way to peel off when handing off between reps. The three commanded the middle field of the NovaCare Complex and commanded all of the attention.
“It’s early? What day is this?” Kelly said. “I just want to see those guys go out there and compete and watch film, really what decisions they’re making, where are they putting the ball? Are they accurate? Did they make the right decision? Sometimes not throwing the ball is the right decision because everyone was covered. We’re not turning the ball over, and we’re protecting and giving ourselves the opportunity to take another snap.
“It’s not a one sentence, it’s not a one paragraph. It’s more than that. There’s a lot that goes into it, and we’re going to make sure we take our time in the evaluation.
“But until we put full pads on and those guys are live, we’re not going to find that out. So we’re not going to make any decisions that are going to be based on practice in the NovaCare. We need to get into Lincoln and have people tee off on them and go after them.
“There’s a lot of quarterbacks that can stand back there and look pretty when they’re wearing the red jersey. You take the red jersey off and it’s live, they’re different guys. We’re going to have to see those guys in the heat of battle.”
The quarterbacks also rotated practicing with the first team. When someone commented they saw rookie tight end Zack Ertz with the ones, Kelly answered back, “If your turn comes, you’re going to go. If it happens to be with the ones, it happens to be with the ones.”
In other words, don’t make out, or try to make it more than it is. Vick did start with the ones, followed by Foles with the twos and Barkley with the threes.
Kelly is looking for mobility from the quarterback spot, but you get the sense he’s putting a greater emphasis on being smart with the ball. He said he was pleased with the condition of the players, which told Kelly, “they were serious.”
But Kelly admitted he didn’t want his quarterback, no matter who it is, taking hits, which spurred another Kelly catchphrase if his quarterback takes off and some room in front of him, he better get a “touchdown, first down, or get down.” He also addressed another issue, how the quarterbacks have accepted this open competition.
“The way I hoped they would,” Kelly said. “They understand it’s a competition, and the best guy is going to win it. All through their careers, they’ve had to compete. I think there’s a little bit even more satisfaction when you actually go out and win something than when something is handed to you.
“The great thing about them, one of the best qualities about those guys is they’re unbelievable competitors. It’s a healthy competition. They’re both pulling for each other. They know at any moment, if one guy’s named the starter, the other guy better be ready to go. He’s a chinstrap away from going in. They still have to both prepare, and all of them have to prepare like they’re going to be the starter because you don’t know how it’s going to shake itself out.
“I think it’s a real healthy competition, and those guys have really embraced it. That’s what makes those guys special. It’s a fun thing to watch, to be honest with you.”
One other observation is that the defense seems way, way behind the offense.
Joseph Santoliquito is a contributing sports blogger for CBS Philly.