On Tuesday, head coach Chip Kelly announced that Michael Vick will be the starting quarterback for the 2013 season. Players did not find out until after practice, but the reaction was consistent. Vick's teammates were proud to see him step up and win the challenge, but at the same time praised Nick Foles for providing a quality backup option for the team. Here's a sample after a trip around the locker room ...
DeSean Jackson: Vick's Leadership Carries Weight
"I think Vick's been here four, five years now, so just being able to go out there, that camaraderie we've built together, us kind of looking up to him like a big brother," Jackson said. "Honestly, he teaches us a lot of things on and off the field, things he's gone through. I've been saying that since day one, he's almost like a big brother figure in our lives. Just really motivates us and tells us things that the average teammate or the average older brother probably wouldn't tell us. He cares about us and he sees the future bright in our careers here in Philadelphia and things like that. With him having a year left on his contract, a year left on his deal, he kind of always stresses that, you know, 'I'm going to do what I can on this last year and see what happens.' I think he's going to give it a great shot. He wants everybody to know that he can still play this game at a high level.
"I feel definitely he's rejuvenated. He came in. He's healthy. He's never complained about being hurt. He's just tough. He's a strong, physical quarterback. For the past years, I know everybody's been beating him up about how many hits and turnovers and things like that he's been taking, but that's a brutal thing to be his size and stature and be getting hit by the big guys like that. So as long as we can protect him as an offensive line and an offense, receivers, whatever we can do to protect him, just make sure he's healthy and make sure he's about to go out there fresh and not really have injuries that are going to mess with his game, I think the sky's the limit for him. He'll do what he needs to do to keep his body and keep his self in great shape. As an offense, as a whole, we have to help his as well too."
LeSean McCoy: Time To Unleash The Talent
"I felt like Mike and Nick have played very well so far, they both look confident. I guess coach picked Mike. Mike's been playing excellent. I think nothing has changed. We're still going to practice the same way, we're going to get to it. We have confidence in both players. Knowing that Mike's the starter now, we can kind of get past this quarterback competition thing and get rolling.
"I think having that competition with Nick drove him to be excellent, to chase perfection every chance he got. And it's the same way with Nick. I think just the preparation, when guys manage the attitude and keeping the offense together. And as you can see, I think the last couple of preseason games we had they both played well. But the good thing is, with two starters I would say - knowing that Mike's the starter - but if anything ever happens, in this league, you know the biggest thing is depth. I think we have a lot of depth at the quarterback position and all over the offense. I think it's a positive thing that we have two good quarterbacks.
"We have tons of talent, it's time to unleash it."
Jason Avant: We Weren't Worried About The QBs
"We realize that both guys are very capable and we're excited to have two guys that are able to execute this offense. And just congratulations to Mike, he didn't throw his head down when coach said it was going to be an open competition. He could have been like, 'Aw, man, I've been in the league this long, I made Pro Bowls and all that type of stuff,' but he took it like a champion and it's made both guys very, very competitive and has brought out the best in both players. I think both of them are starters in this league, and you need two quarterbacks in this National Football League with all of the hits and just throughout the course of a whole season. I think we're in very good position with that position. And just congratulations to Mike, he earned it and I'm very proud of him.
"(Vick) learned what guys need individually to stimulate them and make them become a player, and I think Mike reaches some guys that normal people can't reach, as far as culturally, understanding, being there for them outside of the game. Those types of things say a whole bunch and gives him a voice to tell them what not to do, how to do something, guys receive it better. And also as far as the quarterback being able to have a conversation with him in the locker room is the biggest thing because just the quarterback position in general it's kind of a separate position in most situations, but you can have a conversation and he's humble enough to listen to you and give you advice. I think that's his biggest attribute is being humble enough to hear someone out.
"To tell you the truth, (quarterback was) not a position you worry about because we have guys that are very, very capable of running this offense in a high and effective way. ... Both guys are very, very good players."
Kurt Coleman: We Haven't Seen The Best Of Vick
"I think Mike's a great piece to really be in the fold, but I think Nick Foles did a great job this offseason, this preseason, and I know he's going to prepare well. We got two great starting QBs ready to go, but I'm looking forward to Mike. Mike's a dynamic guy out there and he's looked very efficient this preseason. We're looking for a lot of great things, for this offense to get it going and score a lot of points for us.
"The funny thing is he hasn't even pulled out his running style. He's just been a straight passer, and he's been efficient. You see it out in the preseason games, you see it out at practice, he's just very efficient with his reads, making his throws. He just has that explosive dynamic part that he doesn't show us on the practice field but he does in games when he has to.
"I think Mike has prepared the best he has in years this offseason going into camp, and I think he's looked great as far as mentally being prepared, understanding defenses and understanding this offense and the schemes that they do. It's awesome, it's nice to see him back in to his form and he looks great out there."
Evan Mathis: Time For Offense To Jell
"Now that we have a starting quarterback named, it just helps us get the consistency. We can jell as a group now. We know what group's going to be out there. We can work on our communication and grow at a somewhat faster rate.
"I think now is a good time to make the decision. This whole week we've treated it just like a game week, so it's going to be crucial to the preparation and we'll be able to work all the kinks out this week and be ready moving forward.
"Mike's a natural-born leader, he has tremendous leadership qualities and I think everybody knows the talent that he possesses. He's come out here and he's played really efficient and he's picked the offense up very fast. I think this offense fits him very well. He's been in this league a long time and still has potential, so that's a good thing for us."
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