Who has the advantage at quarterback after two preseason games? It's a great question, and it's one that head coach Chip Kelly has been asked hundreds of times since the start of the spring practices.
Each time when he's been asked, Kelly has basically said the same thing: He's allowing the competition between Michael Vick and Nick Foles to play itself out, and in the end the winner will emerge by the performance on the field.
Through two preseason games, both Vick and Foles, and Foles and Vick, have been terrific. And, truthfully, Kelly needs more time before he names a starter.
"Put your pens down if you think we're naming a starting quarterback in this room right now," said Kelly to reporters after the game, and after he had faced a handful of "When are you going to name a starting quarterback?" questions.
"I think we have two guys who can play football in this league. I think it's a good situation, the way both of those guys are playing."
Foles started against Carolina and completed 6 of 8 passes and moved the offense almost at will. On the offense's first drive, the Eagles moved from their 5-yard line to the Carolina 8-yard line in 11 plays, and Foles was terrific. He escaped pressure when it was there. He found tight end Zach Ertz for 15 yards. A couple of completions to Jason Avant picked up 21 yards. Twice Foles made throws on third down to keep the drive alive.
But on a second and 4 from the Carolina 8-yard line, Foles, in the shotgun, allowed the snap from center to get past him, and after picking up the football, he turned around, felt pressure tried to throw the ball through the end zone.
"Something happened and it didn't get there," said Foles.
Instead, it was intercepted by cornerback Josh Thomas, ending the drive.
Foles came back, however, and used his legs to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead. A 6-yard run set up the Eagles on a third-and-4 from the Carolina 33-yard line and then two LeSean McCoy runs gained 26 yards to the Panthers 7-yard line. On first-and-goal from the 7, Foles rolled left when no receivers came free and ran 7 yards into the end zone for a touchdown and some good feelings.
That was it for Foles. His night was over.
"Too many mistakes and the turnover is something that we're always working on," said Foles. "We're working on things. I know I have a lot of work to do and that's my approach."
Next up was Vick, early in the second quarter. He found his groove right away with a couple of completions to McCoy to move the ball from the Philadelphia 20-yard line to the 33. Then McCoy and Chris Polk got the running game going and Vick found Avant for 15 yards. A few plays later, though, Polk fumbled the ball away, ending the drive.
Later in the second quarter, Vick controlled a drive with the Eagles ahead, 7-6. Boom, he went to DeSean Jackson twice for 28 yards. Then Riley Cooper caught a pass for 22 yards to the Carolina 24-yard line. A throw to McCoy gained 3 yards, and then Vick ran left for 14 yards, ran right for 6 yards and then capped the drive by handing off to McCoy for a 1-yard run and a touchdown.
"It felt great out there, and you see what this offense can be if we don't make mistakes. I feel like I can stay in a rhythm, stay in a flow, out there," said Vick. "It's a great offense. We have a lot more to grow in it."
Vick and the offense got the ball back with 24 seconds remaining in the half at the Philadelphia 37-yard line. A throw to an open Jackson was incomplete and nullified by a Carolina offsides penalty. Then right tackle Lane Johnson was beaten for a sack. A short pass to Polk gained 9 yards, and on the final play of the half, Vick heaved the ball down the field and his pass was intercepted, his only incomplete throw of the night.
Vick finished 9 of 10 for 105 yards and the interception. Foles was 6 of 8 for 53 yards and he also ran twice for the 13 yards and the touchdown.
It's about as even-steven as it can be after two preseason games and Kelly is in no rush to name a starter.
Is there much more to say about it? Kelly knows he has two quarterbacks in Foles and Vick who can go out and win games and move the offense effectively. The quarterback competition rages on, and so does the conversation.
- Cedric Thornton had a nice game inside along the defensive line with some quickness off the line of scrimmage. He and Damion Square and Bennie Logan are three of the young defensive linemen the Eagles are counting on to contribute.
- Did LeSean McCoy look great, or what? He had 8 carries for 47 yards and a score. He also caught 3 passes. Don't think McCoy is done for the preseason, though. Kelly wants to get him more work in the offense.
- Loved seeing what Ertz can do with the offense. He's very athletic, has good hands and runs his routes well. He is an extremely promising rookie.
- Riley Cooper contributes in so many ways -- he's a good, physical receiver, a strong blocker and he plays special teams well.
- Brandon Boykin is on the verge. He's really improved his game in coverage and his return skills are outstanding. Boykin is having the best summer of any cornerback on this roster.
- Matt Barkley had some good, and some not so good, in his time on the field. He gets the ball out quickly, but he missed Derek Carrier a couple of times, throwing behind the tight end and ended up 8 of 14 for 72 yards.
- Dave Fipp is doing an outstanding job on special teams. The Eagles are much improved in coverage and in the return game. And think: DeSean Jackson could be the punt return man. Dangerous, indeed.
- The defense responded to a week of criticism with a strong game of tackling. Cornerback Cary Williams didn't challenge as much as anticipated in coverage, but he is going to be fine. He's a terrific athlete and when he's healthy, he will help the secondary.
- I thought Nate Allen did fine, but he's being pushed by rookie Earl Wolff, who made a fantastic play behind the line of scrimmage. Does Wolff earn more time next week?