COMMENTARY | The quarterback competition in Philadelphia still is largely unresolved after two preseason games. Mike Vick and Nick Foles each played a full quarter leading the offense in Thursday night's preseason game against the Carolina Panthers. Each led a touchdown drive and each threw an interception. Vick's interception came on a last-second desperation heave to close out the first half, while Foles was picked off on his first drive of the game in the back of the end zone.
Aside form the fashion of the interceptions thrown by the two quarterbacks battling it out for the starting quarterback job in Chip Kelly's offense for the 2013 season, the two were fairly even for most of the night. Foles managed the hurry-up offense well and completed passes to four different receivers to different areas of the field. Foles even ran some plays that may have been familiar to Oregon football fans, with a bit of an option twist.
Foles got the start for the Eagles against the Panthers and his first drive started on the Eagles' five-yard line. Immediately Foles was in charge of guiding the turbo offense down field with help from the running game and accurate passes that were mostly easy for his receivers to haul in. The drive ended with Foles missing a snap, picking up the football and rushing an errant pass to the back of the end zone, where it fell in the hands of the Panthers secondary.
The second possession for Foles started in much better field position, taking over at the Carolina 39-yard line. After running back LeSean McCoy provided a highlight reel run to put the ball inside the 10-yard line, Foles found room to run on the left side of the field and he had just enough to elude a pursuing Luke Kuechly for a seven-yard touchdown run. Foles was done after one quarter, at which time Vick had his opportunity to prove his worth.
Vick showed good composure in the pocket and never looked to be forcing much on his first possession in the second quarter. The key play for Vick may have been a 3rd and 12 completion to Jason Avant for a first down following a holding penalty moments earlier. Avant was Vick's second option on the play, with the veteran receiver working his way to the left side of the field for the first down. The first drive led by Vick ended in a turnover, like the first drive led by Foles, but this one was not Vick's fault. Running back Chris Polk, who I suggested was a player in need of showing improvement, lost a fumble to end the promising drive.
Vick would get two more possessions before halftime. Vick completed the first pass attempt intended for DeSean Jackson down the right side of the field for a first down with under three minutes to play in the half. Two plays later saw Vick find his receivers for two more first downs as well. Vick typically stared down his primary receiver out of the snap, but he often looked for his second options on the drive. He also relied on McCoy coming back to help him out on one play. After the two-minute warning Vick also started mixing in his running abilities to move the Eagles down field when protection broke down in front of him.
Vick would get one extra possession than Foles but with little time remaining there was not much Vick could take advantage of on the final possession of the first half. A desperation heave had no chance of reaching the end zone and was picked off. While it hurts his quarterback rating, Kelly will be more likely to be pleased with most of what he saw from Vick.
The Eagles turned the football over three times in the first half, but only one will really count against a quarterback. That charge goes to Foles, who turned the football over inside the red zone. While he did respond well by scoring a touchdown on his next possession, it is those mistakes that will start to create a separation in the competition heading in to the third preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Kevin McGuire is a Philadelphia area sportswriter and member of the Football Writers Association of America. You can follow McGuire's Eagles commentary on Yahoo! and on Twitter @krmcguire. Interested in college football? Follow @KevinOnCFB.
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