By Kevin McGuire
The quarterback controversy is alive and well in Philadelphia. After Eagles starting quarterback Mike Vick left Sunday afternoon’s game against the New York Giants with a hamstring injury, Nick Foles took over on offense and put together a good overall performance. Entering this upcoming weekend’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it is still unclear who will be lining up under center and leading the offense.
“Mike’s day to day,” Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly said during his Monday press conference. “He had an MRI and they said he has a pulled hamstring, so we’ll see where he comes back from that.”
Since Vick is day-to-day, Foles will be taking over the first team reps whenever Vick is unable to take his reps. Vick has a history of being injured, so it may have been a matter of “when” and not “if” he would get hurt, but having an option like Foles ready to go shows why the Eagles did not feel a need to make any trades during the preseason involving the loser of the quarterback competition. But can Foles now go out and win the starting job from Vick?
“Yeah, there’s always open competition,” Kelly said. “So if Nick goes out there and throws 100 for 100 and throws 27 touchdown passes, then, yeah.”
As far as Kelly is concerned though, Vick will remain the starter and will slide back in to the starting line-up whenever he is ready to play at full speed. Foles would have to be the second coming of Joe Montana to make a case to remain the starter.
“I’m not going to put him out there if it’s going to hurt him,” Kelly said. “That is the biggest thing. When he was in the game and he went back in, they thought he was good to go back in. I watched him try to get away from the rush, and that wasn’t fair to Mike. I’m not going to put him in that situation, so we’ll see how he is.”
The future of the Philadelphia quarterback situation remains somewhat foggy. Drafting Matt Barkley in the fourth round may have been more of a gamble than initially perceived, Vick is winding down the final years of his career and Foles is good but has not shown any hint of potential greatness. This leaves the future of the position likely to still be playing football on Saturdays, and there could be a number of options worth considering in the upcoming NFL Draft. But for now, the focus must remain on Vick and Foles.
Hamstring injuries are different for everybody in sports. Sometimes they heal quickly while other times they can linger. The hope is that Vick recovers rather quickly because his versatility in the offense makes for an ideal player to lead Kelly’s offense. That said, Foles has been a much more accurate and consistent passer in his time on the field dating back to last season. Foles performed well in the preseason but ultimately fell short of converting on red zone opportunities compared to Vick before the decision had been made. If Foles is going to play, he will need to continue to show he is capable of leaving the field with six points on the scoreboard instead of three or zero.
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Kevin McGuire is a Philadelphia area sports writer covering the Philadelphia Eagles and college football. McGuire is a member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. Follow McGuire on Twitter @KevinOnCFB. His work can be found on Examiner.com.