By Ed Benkin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – One of the greatest debates in Philadelphia since deciding on independence from England is finally over.
After nearly a full off-season of OTAs and training camp workouts, Chip Kelly has named Michael Vick his starting quarterback. The announcement ends months of speculation as to who would be under center for the Eagles this season. Coach Chip Kelly talked to both quarterbacks Monday morning and informed them of his decision. For Vick, the decision served as a validation for his decision to remain with the Eagles this season.
“I chose to come back for one reason,” said Vick. “That was to help this football team win football games. With the new situation and the new coach, I evaluated everything. I weighed my options and I just thought this was the best opportunity and the best fit for me.”
Kelly said Vick and Foles both performed well, but said Vick was ahead of Foles and that it was the right time to name a starter. Vick had voiced his desire after the team’s spring workouts to have the starting quarterback named before training camp. Vick admitted he made a mistake, and said Kelly was fair throughout the entire process.
“He called us in individually and then he called us in as a group,” Vick said. “We appreciate it as players. That’s the way you get the best out of your players and the way you keep your players motivated.”
As Vick settles in as the starter, Nick Foles is now relegated to backup duty. While Foles was hoping to win the starting job, he had high praise for Vick and will keep the same approach to his work on the field as before.
“We’ve kept a great friendship and we’ve pushed each other,” said Foles. “I’m proud of him and I’m going to do anything I can to help make him the best quarterback possible. I’m excited for him and nothing changes in my preparation.”
Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson stated earlier in the off-season that he believed Vick should be the starter. Now that the competition has ended, Jackson believes Vick could be ready for a monster season.
“I honestly think he fits this offense the best,” Jackson said. “He’s able to go out there and still use his feet. He can still throw the ball 80-yards down the field. He still does a great job.”
Kelly said the top unit, which now includes Vick, will likely play at least a half on Saturday when the Eagles play their third preseason game in Jacksonville.