With about 20 minutes left in practice, Michael Vick was inside the NovaCare Complex in his sweats, walking down the hallway toward the cafeteria. While Nick Foles was busy running the offense at practice and preparing for the Packers, Vick was already inside, too hobbled on his injured hamstring to even participate any team drills. Yet head coach Chip Kelly continues to refuse to name Foles his starting quarterback for Sunday.
Even though everybody knows he’s starting.
Asked if he’s ready to announce that Foles will start against the Packers in Green Bay Sunday a week after he tied an NFL record with seven touchdown passes against the Raiders, Kelly answered before the questioner could even get the question out. “Nope,” he said.
Kelly did allow that Vick is still limited to just some individual drills at practice and no 7-on-7 or full-team drills. He said before practice Foles would get most of the first-team reps with the offense and rookie Matt Barkley would get a handful as well.
But three days before Eagles-Packers, he still wouldn’t officially rule Vick out and wouldn’t name Foles the starter. Kelly explained his thinking by saying that if he names a quarterback now, he would just have to change his plans if somebody got hurt on Friday. During the team’s brief walk-through.
“If … somebody gets hurt Friday, we have to adjust it,” he said.
But Vick remains hobbled and appears to be quite a ways away from being able to play football again.
Vick first hurt his hamstring during the Eagles’ win over the Giants on Oct. 6. He tried to play against the Giants on Oct. 27 when Foles was out with a concussion but didn’t make it to halftime before aggravating his hamstring. Kelly was asked if Vick’s hamstring is even improving at this point. “I think it is,” he said. “But it's one of those things where every day you kind of get an update on where he is [and] I know he's working extremely hard at it and doing everything he possibly can. But he hasn't taken any reps.”
Kelly acknowledged that the Eagles need to be careful with Vick, since he aggravated the injury so quickly after returning to action the first time. Vick took off just two weeks before trying to play against Dallas. Sunday’s game in Green Bay will be the second he’s missed since the second Giants game. Vick has now missed 15 games with injuries since he became the Eagles’ full-time starting quarterback early in 2010.
He doesn’t look close to returning. There’s certainly a chance he’s played his last snap in an Eagles uniform. “He came back before and injured it again shortly in the first quarter against the Cowboys, so I think we've got to make sure you can't rush him back,” Kelly said.
“You have to make sure he's healthy when it goes. It doesn't help anybody [if he tries to play hurt]. If Mike goes out there, he can only play a limited amount of snaps because we're back where we started.” As for Foles, he insisted he just doesn’t care if and when he’s named the starter for Sunday. Or permanently. No many how many touchdowns he throws.
“Hey, it’s not my choice,” Foles said. “I’m just excited to play. Honestly, I’m just excited to play. I love playing this game. It’s as simple as that. I love these guys here, no matter what the situation is. I’m fortunate to be in this situation.”
Foles has to be the first quarterback in NFL history to throw seven touchdown passes one week and five days later not even know if he’s starting the next game.
Such is life with the Chip Kelly Eagles. “Hey, I trust Chip with everything,” Foles said Thursday. “No matter what, I’m going to go with him, and I trust him.”
- Reuben Frank, CSN Philly