The Philadelphia Eagles had been efficient with Michael Vick running Chip Kelly’s offense. But the Eagles third preseason game with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Aug. 24 would be the most extended look at the supposedly new Vick. As it turned out, a full half with Vick at the helm had more speed bumps than the handful of series in the past two weeks.
While the Eagles pulled out a 31-24 victory, they were down for much of the first half with Vick in charge. The Jaguars got to Vick more than the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers did, since they had more opportunities. He threw an interception and was sacked twice, while going 15-for-23 for 184 yards and a touchdown.
The fear was that since Vick had officially won the starter’s job over Nick Foles, he would take his foot off the gas more than in the previous two weeks. He certainly hit a few more walls, as he and the Eagles had to settle for field goals in three second quarter drives. Philadelphia’s only touchdown drive was after a Connor Barwin interception deep in Jacksonville territory, with Vick connecting in the end zone to Riley Cooper a short time later.
Vick rushed seven times for 53 yards and didn’t get hurt, which will always be a win-win in every Eagles game. Nevertheless, the occasionally shaky throws and the inability to get touchdowns instead of field goals looked more like the Andy Reid-era Vick, instead of the new Vick Kelly needs to create.
Foles later showed Vick up by going 10-for-11 and leading a 99-yard drive at the end to beat the Jaguars. If Kelly hadn’t made his final choice in Vick earlier in the week, these results would have fueled Philadelphia’s quarterback controversy to new heights.
As it stands, Foles still has just a handful of incompletions this preseason and has a winning drive to boot, while the first signs of the old Vick have reappeared. Yet given that the Eagles played Vick in a whole half for the first time, he was bound to come down to earth somewhat. The question is whether he will have a harder crash in a 60 minute game, with the answer still 15 days away and even more uncertain.