When shown on the Jumbotron at the first public Philadelphia Eagles training camp practice on Sunday, Michael Vick received a thunderous applause. Clearly, Vick still has his share of supporters among the Eagles fanbase.
It may be fitting to assume that the same can be said about the locker room, especially when players like DeSean Jackson have come out and publicly supported Vick in the quarterback competition.
Of course, winning the starting quarterback job isn’t a popularity contest. The role will ultimately go to the player Chip Kelly believes to be the best fit for the team.
But from what the Eagles showed us on Sunday, it may still be Vick after all, despite all the hoopla surrounding Nick Foles’ accuracy and poise, or Matt Barkley’s maturity.
The Eagles coaching staff seems to believe more heavily in Vick to lead the offense, and this was evident in the number of first-team reps he received. While Foles had his opportunities with the first team, Vick still received most of the playing time with DeSean Jackson, Jason Avant, Riley Cooper and LeSean McCoy when considering both drills and full team plays.
The coaching staff’s decision may have been for good reason. Vick seemed to be the most consistent passer on the field Sunday.
While he had a tendency to dump the ball off to the running back or tight end a bit too frequently, he also showed impressive accuracy in one-on-one drills with Jackson and Cooper. On one play, Cooper was being blanketed by the defensive back, but Vick delivered the ball beautifully into a tight window near the hip where only Cooper was able to get it.
Vick also saw many snaps in the read-option. Kelly devised various designed running plays for Vick, which were met with varying success levels. But it just goes to show that Kelly may view Vick as a valuable asset due to his mobility.
Foles and Barkley, on the other hand, obviously did not see any read-option plays and were instead utilized in standard offensive formations. But both struggled on Sunday.
Foles threw into double coverage far too frequently. In an NFL regular-season game, those may have been interceptions waiting to happen. On one play, Foles had a player open in the middle of the field but failed to deliver the ball accurately, and it was knocked away by the defender. Again, in a real game, that could have been picked off.
Barkley had an impressive deep pass early on but for the rest of the day was very up and down.
Both Foles and Barkley struggled when the pocket began collapsing, escaping pressure far too slowly. They surely would have been sacked in a real game. Vick, on the other hand, was able to escape pressure consistently. On one play, he scrambled to the left and threw into the dirt toward Ifeanyi Momah.
It was not a good play, but at least he didn’t take the sack.
There is still plenty of training camp left, but so far it would seem that Vick has the edge in the quarterback competition based both on his improved passing and mobility.
Dennis Dixon looked great on Sunday. He showed great mobility and completed a beautiful 40-yard touchdown pass to Jackson. Could the Eagles keep four quarterbacks this season?
Momah did not generate separation as consistently as one would like to see for a player of his speed, but he caught the ball fairly consistently. Let’s see if he gradually improves with more playing time.
Brent Celek dropped a lot of passes. His stone hands from last season have seemingly carried over to this offseason. He is not doing himself any favors if he wants to beat out Zach Ertz for the starting tight end job.
Follow Yueh Ho on Twitter @YuehHo
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