Even after Nick Foles' seven-touchdown performance against Oakland, Chip Kelly has still yet to officially name a starter for Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers. The Eagles head coach is still waiting to see how Michael Vick progresses with his hamstring injury, and on Wednesday Kelly updated the overall health of his team, including that of No. 7.
"Mike is limited," Kelly said. "He's progressing and we'll see if he can get a little bit more in, but he didn't take any reps yesterday. Earlier when it had happened (the first time against New York) he got some reps in seven-on-seven, but right now he's just throwing in individual drills.
"I think (the injury is progressing), but it's one of those things where everyday you kind of get an update on where he is. I know he's working extremely hard at it and doing everything that he possibly can, but he hasn't taken any reps this week."
For now, Foles is taking the reps with the ones while Matt Barkley sees snaps with the second team. According to Kelly, the goal is to bring Vick back into the fold only when his health permits.
"You can't rush him back and you have to make sure that he's healthy when he goes, because it doesn't help anybody if Mike goes out there and can only play a limited amount of snaps, because then you're right back where you started," Kelly said.
The other biggest injury questions right now for the Eagles revolve around two defenders, Cedric Thornton, who dealing with a knee issue, and Bradley Fletcher, who suffered a pectoral injury against Oakland. Kelly expects both players to be back on the practice field Thursday, under the watchful eye of the Eagles training staff.
"(Thornton) is good," said Kelly. "He should go today, full. We'll see if he gets all the way through, but I anticipate him but I anticipate him going through all of practice today … (Fletcher) was limited yesterday, but we'll see if that gets ramped up today."
Kelly hopes to have his full arsenal available for Sunday's game against a very good Packers team. Green Bay's explosive offense typically garners the most attention, but Kelly sees another facet of their game as being difficult to overcome- their ability to stop the run. The Packers boast the fifth-best rush defense in the game, holding opponents to just 94.5 yards per game.
"When they get into fist-fight games and they get into base defense, they've got some pretty good-sized guys," Kelly said. "Obviously Clay (Matthews) has been out and little bit and (Nick)Perry has been out, but when you bring in Mike Neal who is a 290-pund outside linebacker and put him next to (B.J.)Raji, next to (Ryan)Pickett, and next to (Johnny)Jolly, with A.J. Hawk in the middle and (Brad) Jones, they've got a pretty formidable group.
"It starts with that defensive line, because even if they're in nickel and they have Pickett and Raji in there, they can eat up a lot of blockers. They're really skilled. They use their hands extremely well, and they protect their linebackers and kind of let their linebackers run side-to-side, because usually Raji and Pickett and if Jolly is in there, they're usually tying up more than one blocker."
One way that Kelly and the Eagles offense can neutralize Green Bay's big bodies up front is by airing it out on offense. In the past, Foles' ability to get the ball deep has drawn criticism, but Kelly believes that his quarterback has proven time and time again that he has no problem with going over the top.
"That's what I've seen since the first day that I got here and he started through balls for us," Kelly said. "That's never been a concern of mine … I think he's got great touch and great accuracy. He's a big guy and he's got a big arm.
"We've always believed he could make those throws, and I see him make those in practice all the time, since we got here on day one. It's not like all of a sudden he started throwing the ball deep and you're like "Wow, look what Nick can do". We've seen it as a coaching staff- he can rip it. He's a big strong dude and he can let the ball sail for a pretty good distance."
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