Nick Foles is balancing expressions of confidence with being as bland as possible about the quarterback competition. He acheived that on Monday by stating he's not in Philadelphia to be a backup, but insisted that no one is ahead at this point.
“I’m not here to be the backup. I’m here to be the guy," Foles said on Monday when he checked into training camp. "I don’t think we play this game to sit on the bench. We play to play. And I’m here to play.”
Foles split first-team snaps with Michael Vick during minicamps. He appeared to have a strong spring, although he does not believe he took the lead.
“No, I feel like we’re still competing, and there is no lead. There’s never a lead," Foles said. "That was the spring, that was an opportunity for the team to get better. I had a solid spring. There was a lot of stuff I needed to correct in the spring. I looked at it like a work in progress."
The Eagles' quarterback competition has become one of the NFL's hottest offseason topics. Players on the Eagles have been asked for their opinions, and some have been more vocal than others. DeSean Jackson told ESPN last week that he thinks Vick will win the job. Foles said he does not think he has been underestimated, and he has no issue with Jackson or Jackson's opinion.
“It doesn’t bother me," Foles said. "I love DeSean. I don’t worry about it. There’s nothing to worry about."
Quarterback competitions have the potential to split the team, but Foles insisted that the players will support the starting quarterback regardless of who it is. He also said he remains supportive of Vick, who is a close friend, even though Vick is his chief competitor to win the job.
“Mike is one of the talented athletes to ever play the game," Foles said. "I love Mike.”
He also said the starting quarteback must prove he can win. Foles should hope the coaches don't take the past into account. Foles went 1-5 as a starter last season. Vick has won 56 regular-season games in which he's started.
But Foles also said he's grown since last season, especially this point last year. He impressed during camp one year ago, and he expects to be even better in 2013.
“Night and day, I’ve grown a lot throughout the last year," Foles said. "I had great coaches last year to really tutor me as a rookie, and great quarterbacks to really help me along. You go into the offseason, and you continue to work hard and continue to excel."
Contact Zach Berman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @ZBerm.