Sizing Up the Philadelphia Eagles' QB Competition One Week into the Preseason

Brad GagnonFeatured Columnist IVNovember 1, 2016

After the Philadelphia Eagles lost their preseason opener to the New England Patriots Friday night, Eagles head coach Chip Kelly suggested that it would probably take all four preseason games to finalize the quarterback depth chart in Philly. 

And based on what we were able to see from Michael Vick, Nick Foles and Matt Barkley on Friday, it's easy to understand why Kelly believes this competition could last through the Eagles' preseason finale against the New York Jets on Aug. 29.

Vick and Foles took only 21 total snaps (nine for Vick, 12 for Foles), while Barkley performed well with a 37-snap sample size, albeit against second- and third-team New England defenders. 

Vick completed four of his five passes and threw a 47-yard touchdown strike to DeSean Jackson. He made no significant mistakes. However, he came a little too close to an interception on his lone incomplete pass. 

On that play, Vick spent far too much time locked in on eventual intended receiver Jason Avant, who was working from the left slot after motioning across pre-snap. 

Vick appeared to be looking Avant's way right from the snap...

And it doesn't seem as though he looked elsewhere, giving Adrian Wilson a chance to get a jump...

One more split second of hesitation and that's a pick...

Meanwhile, Foles did have a turnover, which was the only major black spot on a solid evening. He completed five of his six attempts, also leading the Eagles on a touchdown drive. And while a strip sack never looks good on paper, it's hard to put it all on Foles.

This is the pocket he had coming out of a play-action fake...

And this is what he was dealing with one second later...

Of course, that's no excuse to fumble. Foles was trying to make a play and had the ball jarred loose by Chandler Jones before releasing. Tough break, although somewhat avoidable. 

Vick wasn't sacked at all, but he took an average of 3.02 seconds per snap in the pocket, while Foles took only 2.74 seconds, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). And the fact that Foles took off and scrambled once for 10 yards certainly helps the sophomore quarterback's cause.

Barkley took only 2.51 seconds to throw. Jones and the rest of that strong New England front seven was out of the game at that point, but so was the regular Philly offensive line.

As a result, it's tough to properly get a feel for how effective Barkley actually was. The fact that he only completed 11 of his 22 passes probably means he won't be gaining opportunities earlier in games anytime soon. Things could change, but this is a two-horse race until Barkley gives Kelly a reason to truly consider him. 

I still believe Vick probably has a small edge in this competition, but the margin has to be miniscule. Eager fans certainly would prefer to get some answers soon, but this thing will likely span the month of August.