Eagles Wake-Up Call: Timeline For QB Competition

By my unofficial count, the Eagles had five periods during Tuesday’s practice where the offense went up against the defense.

During three of them, Michael Vick was the starting quarterback, and Nick Foles ran with the second team. During the other two, roles were reversed, and Foles was the starter.

The QB competition – and yes, it is a competition – is in full swing, but Chip Kelly and his staff are nowhere close to choosing a winner. In fact, they don’t even have a leader in the clubhouse just yet.

“We haven’t had those discussions,” Kelly said. “It’s can we get a ton of reps, get them on tape. That will go through training camp and what not. When you have to make an important decision on who a starter is going to be in some position, why should we jump to conclusions? Why do we need to name a starting quarterback in May? I mean, we’re going to take the full amount of time that we have to make a thorough evaluation of what we do.”

Practice right now is a bit choppy. No one who watched the offense Tuesday would mistake the Eagles for a well-oiled machine. The tempo is new. The scheme is new. The entire process is new.

It’s not unusual to see a lot of pointing and gesturing and confusion before any given play. That’s all part of the learning curve.

But at some point this summer, Kelly expects things to go a little smoother. Players will know where they’re supposed to be lined up. When they see the hand signals on the sideline, they’ll know what play is being called. That will be the best time to evaluate the quarterbacks.

In other words, don’t expect a winner to be crowned any time soon. Maybe some time during the preseason. Maybe in the days leading up to the opener. Maybe we won’t know until the offense takes the field for the first time on that Monday night in Washington.

“When you make big decisions like that, I don’t think you want to make a rash decision,” Kelly said. “You want to give everybody the opportunity to see what they [can] do. Right now, we haven’t done a thing in front of officials. We haven’t done anything except we’ve had three days of voluntary mini-camp before the draft, and today was our seventh OTA.

“So none of us have had any thoughts of, ‘Hey, we’ve got to get a guy named by a certain point in time. It will play itself out. It will play itself out over the course of time when we’ve had an opportunity to make a thorough evaluation. It is a big decision. When you make a big decision, you have to take your time and let it play itself out on the field.”

WHAT YOU MISSED

Here are my full practice observations from yesterday’s session.

T-Mac has an update on the cornerback situation. Cary Williams is running with the twos, but doesn’t seem worried.

Jason Peters and Kenny Phillips were absent from practice.

The latest depth chart outlook post zeroes in on the Eagles’ tight ends.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

According to ESPNBoston.com, the Eagles and Seahawks have the largest coaching staffs in the league at 24 members apiece:

Perhaps it’s coincidence, but the three largest staffs in the league are led by former college head coaches (Greg Schiano, Pete Carroll and Chip Kelly). With a roster that approaches (or even exceeds) 100 players at the college level, a larger staff is needed to oversee the team. That trio may have seen the value in a bigger staff and taken that mentality to the NFL level, even though rosters shrink down to 53 players during the regular season (they’re currently at 90 players).

Jimmy Kempski of BloggingTheBeast.com thinks the Eagles might have the best group of running backs in the NFL:

“I’d have to say, if Felix Jones is healthy, this is best group of running backs in the league,” said Caplan. “Adrian Peterson is the best back in the league, but (from) one to three tell me a team that’s deeper than this.”

Caplan poses a good question. Are there any teams more deep and talented at RB than the Eagles? Personally, I’d trade all three of the Eagles’ backs for Adrian Peterson in a heartbeat, but Peterson aside, I think Caplan makes a strong case.

COMING UP

More from OTAs, including a look at where Mychal Kendricks fits.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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