As the Eagles enter their fourth week of Training Camp and with the regular season now less than one month away, the question of who will be the starting quarterback is intensifying. Three preseason games remain, and all that is known is Nick Foles will start against the Carolina Panthers on Thursday night.
Michael Vick was sharp against the Patriots as he completed four of five throws for 94 yards and heaved a picture-perfect touchdown pass to wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Despite Vick's impressive outing, Foles does not feel any additional pressure to deliver a superlative start of his own.
"No, I just need to go out there and play," Foles said. "I need to go out there and execute the offense and put points on the board. That's always been the ultimate goal. Just learn from the last (game) and move forward, just take these practices and get better. It's the same way I've approached everything I've always done. I'm not changing anything. I'm going to keep doing the things that I've done my whole life that got me here, and that is just work as hard as I possibly can and take it one play a time."
In addition to mentioning his comfort level playing at an up-tempo pace, Foles stressed the importance of having a short memory and not letting previous miscues affect future snaps.
"I think the most important thing is, when you (have) turnovers or three-and-outs or anything, you have to come back on the next drive and have a short memory," Foles said.
Foles practiced what he preached, directing the offense on a 10-play, 66-yard touchdown drive immediately following his first-quarter fumble on Friday night. He also acknowledged that no matter what happens, he cannot turn the ball over and has to either "take the sack or throw it away" when the pressure is bearing down on him. As for what Foles is working on in particular these days:
"Footwork, just the attention to detail, staying on rhythm with the plays," Foles said. "Don't try to hold onto a route too long if it's not open, go on to the next route, go through your read progression. Sometimes you stick on one route and then the other route is closed, so you miss him."
Michael Vick is receiving fewer first-team reps this week, but that is not changing his mindset.
"Things are pretty much the same," Vick said. "I came out with the same concept, trying to get better each and every day. Don't take any snaps for granted, put your best foot forward ... and treat every snap like it's your last. That's my mentality."
Vick appeared unaffected by and understanding of head coach Chip Kelly's decision to have him run the second-team offense. He knows the move is not final. Vick is instead focusing on what he can control, and what he needs to do on the field to improve both himself and his teammates.
"I'm just coming to play," Vick said. "I'm coming to have fun. I'm coming to lead the team, regardless of who I'm out there with. I'm coming out to try to be the best that I can be. That's all you can do in this situation. It's not a bad thing at all. We all hear the play, play football. We're all here to be the best we can be and be as persistent as we can be. These games will bring something out of you."
Matt Barkley sits third on the Eagles' unofficial quarterback depth chart and rallied to put forth a strong overall performance against the Patriots on Friday night. He felt he showed a "good progression throughout the game" and feels confident that he is grasping and executing the offense the way Kelly wants. Even so, Barkley knows he still has a long way to go and is working on improving certain parts of his game:
"I think just being more meticulous with my reads and just going through them in a quicker yet calmer fashion," Barkley said. "Just to be more systematic and complete every ball."
The quarterback competition is far from over, but it will be decided over the course of the next few weeks as the Eagles march forward toward their Monday Night Football matchup against the Washington Redskins on September 9.
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