The Philadelphia Eagles had been defined by their slow pace at choosing a quarterback until Aug. 20. The Eagles and new coach Chip Kelly seemed content to let Michael Vick and Nick Foles battle the entire preseason, and not choose an opening night starter until days to spare. But Philadelphia finally felt the urgency to choose Vick on Aug. 20, instead of delaying this predictable decision for another few weeks.
Although Vick and Foles had virtually similar numbers and few incompletions in their first two games, Foles needed to be decidedly better to stay in the race. Yet although Vick had become the obvious pick, nothing suggested that Kelly would make it official this quickly.
The Eagles may have felt a need to hurry up because their third preseason game with the Jacksonville Jaguars is on Aug. 24. Traditionally, the third preseason game is when the regular season starters get their most playing time, before completely taking the last game off. Since Vick and Foles have only had a few drives per week so far, Philadelphia needed to give them extended playing time at some point.
With Vick now officially the No. 1 starter, the Eagles can play him for a half against the Jaguars and see if he can stay hot for 30 minutes at a time. After that, they’ll see if he can stay hot and healthy for 60 minutes against the Washington Redskins on Sept. 9. But since Vick probably won’t play in the preseason finale with the New York Jets on Aug. 29, Foles should have a lot of time in that game to prove himself further.
The Eagles know that Vick isn’t someone who traditionally plays 16 games a year. As such, Foles should expect to see regular season action at some point, even if it isn’t right away. Yet Philadelphia is entrusting Vick to stay upright and efficient most of the way, despite having been burned on that gamble in the last two years.
Vick never took that gamble with Kelly before, and it seems to have made a difference in the last two weeks. But now that Kelly and the Eagles are done pretending the quarterback job is up for grabs, will Vick make sure they never have to rethink their decision?