Kelly lets Philadelphia's QB controversy build
(AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)
By ROB MAADDI
AP Pro Football Writer
PHILADELPHIA (AP) Get ready for another week of Michael Vick or Nick Foles.
Given ample opportunity to squash a quarterback controversy, Chip Kelly chose to be evasive. So, the debate continues for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Foles filled in nicely for an injured Vick for the second straight week, leading the Eagles (3-3) to a 31-20 win over winless Tampa Bay on Sunday. Next up is a showdown with Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys (3-3) at home. Sole possession of first place in the NFC East is at stake.
Will Foles start again or will it be Vick?
Kelly fielded 11 straight questions about his QBs during his Monday news conference without giving any definite answers.
"Until we know what the health is, I'm not saying what anybody or anybody is," Kelly said. "All our decisions on who is going to play is based on health."
Vick strained his left hamstring late in the second quarter of a win at the New York Giants last week. Foles stepped in and threw for 197 yards and two touchdowns. The second-year pro was even better against the Buccaneers, passing for 296 yards and three TDs and running in for a score.
Before he was injured, Vick was playing well, too. He's thrown for 1,185 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions, and has 307 yards rushing and two more scores.
"All of our decisions are made on what's going to give us the best opportunity to win," Kelly said. "And we have to put healthy guys on the field and make sure we can get a scheme together that's going to help us beat the Cowboys."
Issues like this can divide a locker room with teammates choosing sides. Vick and Foles have both said all the right things and been supportive of one another.
"I don't see any divisions or one side going one way or another side going another," Kelly said. "Mike wasn't 100 percent on Sunday, and Nick did an outstanding job. And I said when this whole thing started, we were fortunate that we had two quarterbacks and it showed already this season that you've got to have two really good quarterbacks to win in this league and that's what I feel we are right now."
Running back LeSean McCoy made it seem that Kelly told the team Vick is the starter when he's healthy.
"Mike is the starter, Coach Kelly made that clear, but if he needs Nick to step in and make some plays then he'll do that," McCoy said after the win in Tampa Bay. "Mike's the guy we go with, he's the starting quarterback, no matter what the town says or what the outsiders want. It's Coach Kelly's call and that's the call he's made."
But Kelly disputed McCoy's statement.
"I have no idea what he's talking about," he said. "Me and LeSean, we didn't talk about anything like that after the game so I don't know where the reference of after the game, I said that, so I don't know."
Vick was limited in practice last week, but he was active against the Buccaneers as the No. 3 quarterback. Hamstring injuries are tricky and running is a major part of Vick's game so perhaps an extra week of rest would help.
Kelly has no reason to rush Vick back since Foles has played so well. The Eagles have saved their season, have won consecutive games, and there is a feel-good vibe surrounding the club.
So the coach has every reason to play it smart.
Foles has completed 67.2 percent of his passes for 542 yards, six TDs, zero interceptions and has a passer rating of 127.9.
"I think Mike's legs are a big, important part of his game and that's part of the decision in terms of what he is and what he can do and his effectiveness," Kelly said. "Just how does he run around and how is he in practice, can he execute the way we need him to execute."
Vick will get his first chance this week to prove he's ready to go when the Eagles return to practice on Tuesday.
NOTES: LT Jason Peters, S Patrick Chung and RB Chris Polk each have shoulder injuries and aren't expected to practice fully on Tuesday. ... Eagles signed WR B.J. Cunningham and released TE Emil Igwenagu.
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Updated October 14, 2013