Kelly’s Quarterback Competition Is Underway

There was one sequence during Chip Kelly‘s blindingly fast practice Monday where all five quarterbacks dropped back at once. Five receivers running five different routes down the same stretch of field. Music blaring in the background.  Five QBs side-by-side. Five snaps, five reads, five throws. Five balls darting through the air simultaneously.

As Kelly promised, there were plenty of reps to go around as OTAs got underway at the NovaCare Complex. That’s what happens when you are moving non-stop for two straight hours. Players rotating in and out. One play rolling right on top of the other. Enough throws to tire out multiple arms.

Still, there needs to be order amid the controlled chaos, even in what the head coach has termed a wide-open quarterback competition. When  individual drills gave way to team exercises, it was Michael Vick that was typically the first signal-caller in, followed by Nick Foles and then Matt Barkley. Foles got a healthy amount of work with the first team, though, and Kelly made the case afterwards that the reps with the ones were virtually split between Vick and Foles.

“Count them up. Someone charted them, I would imagine,” said Kelly. “[Vick] and Nick switched to different groups, so that’s what we did…I mean, it could have been 48/52. but we’ll count them up.”

Foles said that as far as he knows, a starting quarterback may not be named until we are on the doorstep of Week 1.

“Hey, with Chip, anything is possible,” he said.

The read option was certainly on display Monday, whether it was Vick, Foles, Barkley, Dennis Dixon or G.J. Kinne running the show. As you might imagine, Vick and Dixon looked the most at home on these plays.

“It’s part of our offense. It’s what we do,” said Vick of the option element. “You might see it, you might not. But it looked pretty good.”

But picking a QB cannot be tied to mobility alone. That is all the clearer after watching this offense up close. The system demands quick decision making. You are rushing to the line, getting the play off, making a read and releasing the ball. Being able to process the information quickly and execute consistently is paramount.

“That’s what your measured on — your consistency,” said Vick. “That’s one thing Coach Kelly stressed to us — how consistent can you be, day in and day out?”

For  Barkley, this has to be a lot to process. He said that he is accustomed to high-energy, music-filled practices, which perhaps helps with the learning curve. But he is charged with the task of mastering this supersonic offense on the fly while adapting to a new environment. For Day 1, he seemed to hold his own.

“I’m getting it. It’s a new language but that’s what you practice for and you study for,” said Barkley. “I’ll get it.”

Barkley believes he can get onto the field this season. Vick considers this his team. Foles is gunning for the starting job. Right now there are enough balls to go around. But eventually, someone will pull away from the pack.

“It’s up to Chip. We don’t worry about it,” said Foles. “Every day we’re here working. I think we have a great quarterback room, a great quarterback coach [in Bill Lazor] and we’re all working together to push each other to be better players. Whoever ends up being the quarterback of this team, the other guys are going to cheer him on.

“Each guy on this roster wants to start, but you’ve got to go to work, and it’s up to the coaches.”

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  • southy

    Foles put that really well. I’m excited. Can’t wait ’til TC.

  • GEagle

    The real QB battle will take place in camp and preseason. OTA’s will give some preconceived notions, and maybe earn you more reps in day one of camp…but nothing really matters In terms of the real Qb competition until camp, and that dynamic probably magnifies itself when it’s year 1 of a brand new coach, who is drastically different in every way from the past regime..The Final roster will have around 20 new players, and we are implementing brand new schemes…OTA’s are for Learning the scheme, and your teammates/coaches. THe better you do in OTAs, the better equipped you will be to compete in TC and Preseason….like everyone, obviously I’m dying to know everything about how everyone looks…but I ally hope the media doesn’t cover this as a daily QB battle that starts in May…leave these players alone, let them learn..Camp aka JUDGEMENT day is around the corner…I have no beef with today’s coverage…I’m just hoping things quiet down for a little and Vick,Foles and Barkley are left alone for a while so that they canes prepare for the real battle..
    I heard Vick had a beautiful ZR run, but on the whole, Vick was holding the ball longer than the young gunz

    • cliff henny

      com’on man, we all know it’s day 1 of 100 for ‘vick vs foles’. dont fight it, you’re going to get daily updates

      • GEAgle

        cant compete til you know what you are doing…Cant know what your doing enough to really have a competition at this, I mean some people are reporting that Dixon looked the smoothest today lol

    • BrickSquadMonopoly

      Well you heard it so its probably smoke screens everything except the beautiful ZR run…that part was probably true

  • Hmm…I wonder what the point is of having 5 QBs throw at the same time when you only have one set of eyes.

    • Joey

      They tape everything.

    • Mike Flick

      They do have cameras, and film practices.

    • Chris

      my guess was film…they will probably go back and study the difference in mechanics for all five guys executing the same exact play. The more likely scenario is that Chip has thought of something way more intelligent than anything I could come up with, but just a guess

      • cliff henny

        you are correct. there’s no in between play coaching like we’re used to. it’s just 2 hours of plays, teaching is done in film room.

        • GEagle

          yes and NO…yesterday they would run 4 high paced workouts in the row, then shut the music off and break off into positional “teaching” sessions, then the music comes back on, and they do another 4 high paced sessions..then a break for another teaching period..and do on, and so on

  • nicksaenz1

    so this whole rushing to the line, calling plays and audibles there thing… i’m assuming that’s going to leave roughly 15-18 seconds on the play clock when the QB is likely ready to have the ball snapped. does this mean that i’m not going to have my mid first quarter heart attack because the offense inexplicably called/wasted a timeout? if so, i’m excited

    • theycallmerob

      if that’s the case, you must be some kind of medical marvel, having survived dozens of heart attacks to date. I’d lay off the cheez wiz this year if I were you.

      • cliff henny

        he might be like my first car, a ’72 pinto. went to get oil changed, they said no, cause it was only thing holding engine together. Nick might only be held together by cheezwiz

      • nicksaenz1

        picture Chris Farley in the Super Fans. “That makes about a baker’s dozen, Bob.”

    • Septhinox

      If there are moving that fast, just taking the entire play clock will almost be like a timeout.

      • Dr. Rick

        True dat.

  • cliff henny

    watching PTI (about only show i can stand on ESPN) had segment saying Kelly’s taken all fast food out, no more taco and burgers, all organic. cant see how this is major deal…these guys are professional athletes, with unlimited resources, they should be eating healthy. shoot, give me Hardee’s lunch and the rest of the day is shot

    • GEAgle

      So much change, yet so much of it makes a whole lot of sense…From the food, to the smoothies, to the practice style..everything makes sense so its very hard to be skeptical.Chip said something that really eleviated my only concern: “Obviously we cant practice this way during the season, but in the offseason this is I think the best way to practice”..BEAUTIFULL!!!
      1)I love the concept of Music, not only designed to keep the energy flowing, but also is said to be simulating the chaotic/loud game atmosphere..having to overcome chaos and stay focused, while also getting in ridiculous physical conditioning, is something I cant see much fault in…
      To have everyone get a good amount of reps on film, is the best way to minimize mistakes in your evaluation…For all the players to get a decent amount of reps on film, while practicing at an insane pace, in simulated gameday chaos, in a very efficient manner, day in and day out starting in May…is very exciting…Its crazy to see how different every thing is, yet so simple, common sense based changes. I understand if a fan isnt excited about 2013, but I dont see how you can not be excited about our future

    • nicksaenz1

      mmmmmm hardee’s.

  • Good review Tim, A lot of any QB’s decision in the option will depend on the QB’s to running back exchange. The basic decision to release or not release the ball to an intended running back, or keep the ball as if it was an intended play fake is key in being able to take advantage of the Defensive End’s route to the quarterback, and that DE being out of place and off balance to defend either a bootleg, dive or quick pass into a vacated area of the defense.

    Each option play will always allow for either of those exchanges with the intend being to gain positive yards to move the chains for an offense. The home run is going to be determined by how effective offensive linemen are in getting to the second tier defenders opening a crease for their ball carriers.

    The purpose of the read option is to gain an advantage in an area vacated by the defense at the snap of the ball leaving more offensive players to exploit a particular area.

    Think Green Bay vs 49ers, and Mathews vacating his area to rush the QB the 49ers exploited Mathews area all day as the 49ers receivers took the Green Bay DBs and Safeties for a ride across field.

  • the Pious Passer and the Jailbreak Kid!!! what a battle of Angel vs Devil!!!

    however, like most false prophets, Barkley will be the one who ends up creating choas and leaving the team pointing fingers at each other!!

    not only did he throw his coach (Kiffin) under the bus after Kiffin had him on a pedastal for four years, but his lack of leadership was so severe, a group of FRESHMAN called him out after the Bowl game vs GA Tech!! he stood around laughing and goofing off as his back up had a total mental meltdown during game!!!

    take it from me, i saw every game the Pious Passer ever played and he NEVER led a 4th Qtr comeback in FOUR FULL SEASONS!!