Published June 06, 2013
| Sports Network
Philadelphia, PA – Thursday marked the end of the Philadelphia Eagles' offseason workouts and the veterans will now have seven weeks to take a breather before heading back to the NovaCare Complex for training camp.
The regime change in South Philly has made OTAs and minicamp a little more meaningful this spring with reporters assembling to catch a glimpse of Chip Kelly and what college football's mad scientist is going to unleash on the NFL.
After attending five or so of his scaled-down offseason sessions, about the only thing I can tell you about Kelly is that he has an eclectic playlist on his iPod and he likes things up-tempo at all times.
If you are looking for a glimpse into who is going to be underneath center for Kelly on Sept. 9 in D.C., can't help you. And neither can anyone else.
About the only thing we do know is that Kelly would like to have Robert Griffin III or Colin Kaepernick piloting his offense. Or perhaps Cam Newton or Russell Wilson, but none of those tailor-made fits is options for Philadelphia.
Chip's choices are Michael Vick, the soon-to-be 33-year-old turnover machine who still has the athleticism to whet Kelly's appetite but not the decision- making skills, along with two pure pocket passers, second-year man Nick Foles and rookie Matt Barkley, a pair of players who could develop into sharp decision makers who get rid of the football with alacrity but offer no threat in the read-option Kelly is enamored with.
My take on Kelly is he is either a brilliant poker player who can keep things close to the vest with the best of them or he currently has no idea who is going to be his quarterback against the Redskins and RG3.
The talk about an open quarterback competition that most of us scoffed about after the Birds restructured Vick's deal and brought the veteran back for another season became a reality in the offseason workouts.
Take Tuesday, for example. Vick got the first four repetitions in team drills followed by four for Foles, who was thought to be the odd man out when Vick was brought back into the fold, and four for Barkley, the one guy Kelly actually put his stamp of approval on by drafting him in the fourth round this past April.
The next stop on the carousel was then Foles, not Vick. In fact, Foles spent the rest of the day getting the first rep with the ones, at least during the so-called "live" periods -- as live as you can get without pads. Heck, Kelly's old friend from Oregon, journeyman Dennis Dixon, even got some love with the first team
"It will play itself out," Kelly said when discussing the quarterback situation earlier this week. "It will play itself out over the course of time when we've had an opportunity to make a thorough evaluation. It is a big decision. When you make a big decision, you have to take your time and let it play itself out on the field."
There are a lot of cliches in football, but one that has always rung true is the adage about two quarterbacks -- If you think you have two signal callers, you really don't have any.
If you have three, you are just aiming at the dart board and crossing your fingers.
"I think I am doing pretty good," Vick said when asked about the competition. "I don't know (where I stand.) That is up to Coach to decide what is best for this football team, but as of right now, I am very pleased with my progress."
Don't feel bad, Mike, none of us know where you stand, least of all your actual competition.
"I just have the same mentality I have had all along," Foles explained when talking about his part is this duel. "Every day, you want to go out there and compete like you are the starting quarterback, regardless. Look, we're in the National Football League and it's such an exciting thing just to be out there competing."
The only real question in Philadelphia now is whether Kelly is playing darts or poker.
"We're not going to make any rash decisions on any position or anything like that," Kelly said. "We haven't even put the pads on yet. When you put the big boy pads on and get out there hitting, there are a lot of times where a guy can come out of nowhere and surprise you."
Kelly will not be able to split repetitions evenly among three quarterbacks when the real bullets begin to fly, so the answer to Philadelphia's quarterback quandary will quickly start to come into focus shortly after the team reports for its first full training camp practice on July 26.
For now, Vick remains the slight favorite to enter the Beltway as the team's starter come September, but Foles or even Barkley could easily wrest away Vick's tenuous hold on the job.
"It has been great," Vick said of the offseason practices. "It has been very competitive. It has been us coming out here, practicing with an attitude, on edge, and just trying to get the most out of ourselves and out of the position."