Eagles coach Chip Kelly today ended the long-running competition between Michael Vick and Nick Foles to quarterback the Eagles this season, Kelly announcing that Vick is the starter, for the Sept. 9 season opener at Washington and the season.
Kelly said his decision, reached in a staff meeting yesterday, ended a thorough evaluation process.
"I met with all the quarterbacks this morning. They all understand the plan and know where we are going forward," Kelly said. He said Foles, the second-year QB from Arizona, was "outstanding" when the news was conveyed. The timing of Kelly's announcement is a surprise, but not so much the substance, given that Vick has completed 13 of 15 passes in the preseason and played flawlessly.
Kelly seemed to want to reinforce the notion that Foles has to be ready if Vick gets hurt -- he referenced the Redskins' situation with Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins -- but he also declared "this is a one-QB operation," and said he doesn't want Vick, 33, looking over his shoulder.
Kelly noted that he had 16 spring practices, 20 training camp practices and two preseason games to evaluate Vick, Foles and rookie Matt Barkley. "We wanted to put a guy in place, if we could, in enough time to get us prepared for the season," he said. "We didn't want to let this linger, but I think it also expressed itself on the field."
He said Vick and the starters will play the first half, more or less, of this Saturday's preseason game at Jacksonville.
"The one thing we all learned from this group is that I think we've got two guys, and maybe even three guys that can play in this league. It was a healthy competition ... I think they both made each other better," Kelly said. "I was really happy with how those guys handled the situation, 'cuz it can at times get testy, it can at times -- it's one guy competing against another, but I thought it was a healthy competition and it brought out the best in both of those guys."
Kelly said Vick told him he would respond by looking at it as an ongoing open competition, and continue to improve.
Kelly said he did not make an announcement to the team.
"It wasn't where one guy went north and the other guy went south. I think both of them upped their games," Kelly said. "At this point in time, Mike's ahead."
Vick is scheduled to meet with reporters after practice at NovaCare.
"He really has fun," Kelly said of Vick. "He enjoys playing this game. It's great to be around guys that love playing football."
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