By Joseph Santoliquito
Philadelphia, PA (CBS) — Chip Kelly announced that Michael Vick was “day-to-day” after an MRI revealed a pulled left hamstring and the Eagles’ coach said he was unsure whether or not Vick would start at Tampa Bay on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Kelly did not substantiate a published report that stated Nick Foles was going to be the starter against the winless Buccaneers. Foles came on for the injured Vick late in the second quarter to complete 16 of 25 passes for 197 yards and two touchdowns in the Eagles’ 36-21 over the vacuous New York Giants on Sunday.
“We have not made any decision on who our starting quarterback is going to be [against Tampa Bay],” Kelly said. “The Mike I know will work extremely hard at rehab part of it and we’ll see how it goes along. I’m not going to predict the future; I don’t know where we are with that. I’m not going to put him out there if it’s going to hurt him. That’s the biggest thing. I’m not going to put him in that situation. So we’ll see how he is.
“We’ll do the same things offensively with Nick that we did with Mike. We didn’t have to deviate much from what we’re doing. We’ve had enough time with both of those guys. There are obviously some things Nick does a little different than Mike does.”
Kelly said he didn’t know if the Eagles running attack slipped as much as it was his play calling. He also addressed the Eagles inability to score touchdowns in the red zone. Alex Henery was a perfect five-for-five kicking against the Giants, but Kelly wants touchdowns, not field goals.
Foles had two TDs in the red zone in the second half against the Giants and Vick has been 5-for-19 passing (26-percent) in the red zone for 38 yards with one TD and a 57.1 passer rating this year. Rated against other NFL quarterbacks in the red zone, only Chad Henne (25 percent) has a lower completion percentage and Henne (33.3) and Carson Palmer (40.2) have lower passer ratings.
About the disparity between Vick and Foles’ effectiveness in the red zone, “I do know this, we caught the ball better in the red zone,” Kelly said. “As a team, we need to overall do a better job in the red zone. We still kicked five field goals on Sunday. We need to be sevens instead of threes.
“I think what stood out for me is where we are as an offense. I still think we’re inconsistent offensively. I think Nick was inconsistent at times when we could have delivered the ball and should have had some more plays. I think every game we still left a lot of yardage on the field. But Nick and Mike both understand what we mean by not turning the ball over. That’s two-straight games without turning the ball over from either quarterback.”
Kelly said the Eagles have to clean up the penalties. The Eagles had three false starts against the Giants.
Kelly does see safety Nate Allen improving, things are beginning to slow down for him and he’s been much better at route recognition. Kelly also stressed that Brandon Boykin will remain in the Eagles’ nickel package.
Kelly hinted that receiver Jeff Maehl could get more playing time. He could spell more Riley Cooper, which means he has to improve his blocking.
Joseph Santoliquito is a contributing sports blogger for CBS Philly.