Michael Vick and Brandon Weeden Named Starting QBs for Eagles and Browns
Quarterback battles around the NFL are finally starting to get sorted out, and on Tuesday, two more teams named starters heading into the third full week of preseason action.
The Philadelphia Eagles chose Michael Vick, and the Cleveland Browns decided on Brandon Weeden.
Vick beat out Nick Foles and, to a lesser extent, Matt Barkley to earn the opportunity to guide Chip Kelly's highly anticipated offense in Philadelphia.
For the Browns, Weeden survived a serious challenge from veteran Jason Campbell to keep his spot atop the depth chart. He will look to build off the progress he made in the second half of last season.
Vick always seemed like an ideal fit for Kelly's fast-paced, run-oriented attack. He can keep defenses honest with the legs that have allowed him to rush for more than 5,500 yards and 34 touchdowns in his career.
Furthermore, the increased emphasis on the short passing game should help the dynamic veteran limit the mistakes that had set him back over the past two seasons. But he still has the arm strength to keep opposing secondaries honest—an advantage he holds over Foles.
Three seasons ago, Vick was one of the league's most valuable players. He accounted for 30 touchdowns and nearly 3,700 total yards of offense for the Eagles. Philadelphia hopes the arrival of Kelly's system can get him back on that elite level.
Zach Berman of The Philadelphia Inquirer passed along comments from the team's new head coach, who made it clear he didn't want an ongoing quarterback battle to linger:
I think Mike is ahead right now. I think Nick made it very difficult, though. It wasn't where it one guy went north and one guy went south. I think both guys upped their games. But at this point in time, I think Mike's ahead. And we want to move forward. This is a one-quarterback operation. This isn't going to be someone's going to look over their shoulder, or we're going to alternate by series.
In Cleveland, Weeden secured the starting job with strong preseason performances. Through two weeks, he's completed 72 percent of his passes for 229 yards and three touchdowns. Just as importantly, he hasn't thrown an interception or taken a sack.
Decision-making was a major area of concern after his rookie season, which saw him throw more interceptions (17) than touchdowns (14) in 15 games. He's looked more prepared to handle NFL defenses so far this summer, however, making him the obvious choice.
The Browns drafted Weeden in the first round last year, so it would have been a surprise to see them give up on him after just one season. The good news for the front office is that he went out and won the job; he wasn't simply handed the spot.
Rob Chudzinski, who, like Kelly, is leading an NFL team for the first time, said his starter earned the chance to prove himself.
Coach Chud on Weeden: "I've always believed in guys earning things. He's gone out and he's earned it."— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) August 20, 2013
The timing of the decisions in Philadelphia and Cleveland doesn't come as a surprise. The third preseason game is when the starting lineups tend to get the most action, often playing deep into the third quarter before giving way to the reserves.
Which QB is more important to his team in 2013?
By naming Vick and Weeden as the starters, the Eagles and Browns can focus solely on getting those quarterbacks prepared for the regular season with the first-team offenses. There will be no more rotating reps to give off a competition vibe.
Expectations are higher on Vick's group, which means he'll face more pressure at the outset to prove he was the right choice. But Weeden is coming off a lackluster rookie campaign and must show he can develop into a franchise signal-caller, as well.
The first real test of the new season is just a couple weeks away.
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