Birds coaches: seriously, we dunno QB

It's hard to find an NFL coach with more experience coaching young quarterbacks than Pat Shurmur, the Eagles' new offensive coordinator. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

The Eagles’ offensive coordinator and the quarterbacks coach say they, too, want to know who the starting quarterback will be. And no, they don’t secretly have a notion about a favorite.

“I’m from Scranton. I’ve got a lot of friends who want to know. I can’t even get (away) to my parents’ house,” quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor said Thursday, at a morning media session with Eagles’ assistants. “Somebody came to service the security system, or it might have been the plumber. He was like, ‘OK, now that I’ve got you here, just tell me, who’s it going to be …’ I said, ‘I don’t know!’ ”

“I think people, if you really asked them, they would bet their money that we know but won’t say. I think they feel that coach (Chip) Kelly has got the master plan on how he’s dealing with this. I told one of our coaches this morning when we were sitting at breakfast, I can’t wait to play preseason games … I’m excited for practice and for the competition against the defense, but I can’t wait until it’s real football, just playing the preseason games, selfishly, to watch the quarterbacks play.”

But doesn’t he rank them, in his head, at least?

“Daily, it changes, because they’re competing,” Lazor said. “Daily, I feel like it’s my job to come off the practice field and prepare an evaluation, whether I’m asked for it by the head coach or not – ‘How did it go today? What if you had to say today? What’s the trend? Who’s rising? Who’s falling? Who’s struggling? Who’s getting better?’ ”

Lazor said the overall scorecard so far is “unbelievably even ... you would have thought I rigged it.”

Kelly has said he needs to see live practice and preseason games before deciding among incumbent Michael Vick, 2012 rookie Nick Foles and the guy Kelly drafted in April, Matt Barkley.

“This thing has not played out,” said offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. “We’d like to think it’s going to become obvious at some point, before we start our preparation for the Redskins (in the Sept. 9 season opener).”

“I’ve learned a little bit more about each guy” through spring work and the two days of training camp practice held with mostly rookies, Shurmur said. The rest of the team reports today, with full-squad practice starting tomorrow. The Eagles wear pads and hit for the first time in Sunday’s public practice at Lincoln Financial Field.

“Michael, I’ve got a great deal of respect for. He’s a very tough guy, very competitive. He’s got an outstanding skill set. His ability to throw the ball is amazing, and I still think he can do a lot of things with his legs. And he’s a very veteran guy that’s been through it. There’s value there, there really is. And I’ve seen him improve.

“Nick Foles, one thing about Nick is that he’s got a quiet confidence that I like. I prefer that, because nothing seems to rattle him, which is good. He displayed some toughness last year as well. He throws the ball very well, he’s very accurate. I’ve seen him improve as we’ve gone through the training sessions.

“And then Barkley, you see him doing things – he’s making what looks to me like bigger improvements, because he’s going through it for the first time. He’s a very talented guy. There’s no reason to think he can’t be a starter in this league.”

Shurmur said he feels Vick can get the ball out quickly – something that has not been a big part of what he was asked to do for much of his career. He said he has “no issues” with Foles’ ability to run, which has been much debated. Shurmur said “there’s no question Matt can make all the throws necessary to become a starter in this league” as he comes back from that serious shoulder separation last November at USC.

Lazor said he didn’t feel the need to talk to Vick, after Vick said last month he doesn’t enjoy splitting first-team reps with Foles, and that he would prefer to see a starter named by training camp.

"I feel like our players at quarterback are handling the situation perfectly," Lazor said. "I can just imagine how bombarded they are with questions about who the starter will be. I feel like the players are handling it just right. They're being themselves, they're being honest. The competitors that they are, their attitude that they want to be the guy is coming through, and I want nothing less. I feel like any comments that I've heard or seen of Michael have been honest, they've showed his desires, and they've also showed, I believe, that he's a team player ... I haven't felt any need to correct any of them.'

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