If Dick Vermeil were coaching the Eagles, he’d go with Michael Vick at quarterback.
Of course, Vermeil is 76 now and he isn’t coaching the Eagles, hasn’t in three decades. But he was watching Chip Kelly’s training camp practice with the Patriots Wednesday, and it was an obvious question to ask him.
“It doesn’t make any difference what I think. I don’t see ‘em every day,” Vermeil said by way of disclaimer. “I’ve seen Michael Vick play a lot over the years, and I just kind of believe when it all boils down … if I were going to bet on it, I would bet on him.”
Vermeil was not dismissive of Nick Foles, who started six games as a third-round rookie in 2012.
“I saw him play a lot last year. He was pretty far along for a rookie. I’ve seen rookies that were drafted very high and had great papers and all that kind of thing not play very well,” Vermeil said.
What did Vermeil think of Wednesday’s practice, with no tackling to the ground and one padded session, plus a tightly regulated evening walkthrough? Remember, Vermeil’s first Eagles training camps were legendarily tough.
“It’s different,” he said. “It’s all good, if it works. There’s no one way you have to do it. Training camp is like in-season these days.”
But then Vermeil recounted how he recently gave an earful to union officials at an NFLPA event over the restrictive workout rules imposed by the 2011 collective bargaining agreement.
“My first two years (as an assistant in the ‘70s) with the Rams, we never took the pads off during the season,” Vermeil said. “If all these NFLPA rules were the best way to coach a team, the Landrys, the Gibbs, the Belichicks and the Parcells, the Bud Grants, would have been doing it that way a long time ago. But the game is to a point now where I think you can keep it going at the level that the other style brought it to, and brought the fans into the stadium and everything else.”
Hitting aside, teams spend a lot less time on the field, and way less time scrimmaging in camp than they did even a decade ago. Vermeil said that makes it harder to evaluate the undrafted guys scrambling for reps.
“I probably would not have had Kurt Warner under this situation,” Vermeil said. “Where you find (diamonds in the rough) is on the practice field.”
Vermeil said he did indeed deal with some touchy racial situations, ala the Riley Cooper controversy, when he was coaching. He didn’t go into specifics.
“It wasn’t on Twitter, it wasn’t on Facebook,” he said. “It was held within the team.”