Shake them quarterback dice, as Chip Kelly rolls a 9 for this week's preseason game starter…
Mike Vick and Nick Foles split the reps during open practice at Lincoln Financial Field this past Sunday.
Vick spent most of the day with the second unit. Foles took the majority of the reps with the ones as he prepares to start this Thursday against the Carolina Panthers.
Both Vick and Foles benefited from some great catches on Sunday, as well as suffered from a number of drops.
It's interesting to watch the "open competition" QB drama as orchestrated by the Chippah. But he's not fooling me. Vick is the hands-down better athlete and superior quarterback. Why prolong this charade?
Perhaps the reason is to drive up the value of both Vick and Foles for possible trade prospects? I don't know, but I doubt it.
During Vick's third series with the second team, he launched one over the middle to Greg Salas. The ball was tipped by David Sims, then nearly intercepted by Trevard Lindley, before Salas managed to grab it right before it hit the ground. It was probably the play of the day and yet another strong moment for Salas, who appears to be a near lock to make the team now.
Foles wasn't as lucky, as he saw Clay Harbor drop two of his passes in team drills.
One area where Vick outplayed Foles was in redzone practice. Vick got the Eagles in on his first series, hitting Jason Avant in the back of the endzone. Avant was open after he badly beat DeMeco Ryans in coverage.
Foles had his three pass attempts fall incomplete in the redzone. His last one, a pass to Chris Polk on the goaline, was dropped.
Speaking to reporters after practice, Kelly said he saw plenty of things he liked from all of his quarterbacks against the Patriots.
"Footwork, where their eyes were, how they carried out fakes," Kelly said. "I thought the first two (Vick and Foles) played really well. I thought Matt (Barkley) did a good job once he calmed down."
Kelly may have been impressed by Barkley on Friday, but he didn't show it on Sunday as the rookie once again ran solely with the third team.
I think Kelly already knows who his starting QB is going into Week 1 in September (sans injury).
This dice game is just for show—and player motivation.
If Kelly thinks he's fooling anyone, it's certainly not me and it's certainly not the players.
Speaking of rolling the dice, one guy I did not give enough "Shake" in my post-game review was Damion Square, the 6-2, 293-lb. UDFA rookie DT from Alabama.
Square went into Friday night's game fighting for a spot.
"I gave up on guessing how Damion went undrafted, and why those things happen," Kelly joked. "I'm just happy we have him."
Square finished the game with just one tackle, but made enough of an impression on Kelly to be mentioned as one of three players that caught his eye when watching the tape.
"He's a real good technician," Kelly said of Square. "Comes from a great program. Had a real good skill set coming in, and it shows. But he also has something extra, I think his work ethic and tenacity are two things that every single day he just brings it. It's almost like every day is game day for him, which is what you want. I think for some people, it's a cliché, but for him, it's not. So I've been really impressed with him. He's really pushing to make this team."
Rookies Bennie Logan, Damion Square and second-year player Vinny Curry- three players who have flown under the radar- all had strong games on Friday night against the New England Patriots. Together they combined to finish with six tackles and three sacks, easily the best production of any unit on the team.
Their play has left head coach Chip Kelly excited about the unit as a whole.
"That is one of our strengths on the defensive side of the ball," Chip Kelly said following Sunday's practice. "When you throw Soap [Isaac Sopoaga] and [Clifton] Geathers in the mix and [Cedric] Thornton, I think we feel like the D-line is starting to round into shape as a strength for us over there."
Bennie Logan had a strong game against the run Friday night, something he was known for at LSU. The 6-2, 309 lb. rookie finished with three tackles but was also able to put some pressure on the quarterback. His performance had him running with the defensive starters on Sunday, the first time he has done so in camp.
As for rolling the dice in preseason and trying to shake things up?
Tony Granieri, the ESPN Monday Night Football spotter, emailed me this interesting note:
"Over 100 undrafted rookies played in the NFL’s regular season in 2012 and over 30 made it onto teams that participated in the post-season. Those guys made their names known to their respective coaching staffs during the preseason last year. These games absolutely do matter. This is where depth comes from and special teams contributions [are developed]. The NFL season, after all, is most times a war of attrition. How many healthy bodies will your team have come December and January? No doubt there will be holes to fill. A third TE, a backup safety, a swing interior lineman…sometimes, it’s an undrafted player that helps to save a sinking ship. Think about all the injuries we’ve seen so far through training camp. Dennis Pitta, Jeremy Maclin, Bryan Buluga….unproven, no-name guys will get an opportunity to fill those voids during the preseason."
Tony's point is made—let the dice roll…
Just not at QB… Chippah, name Vick your starter, and be done with it.