Michael Vick says that he believes he will be the starter this season, but he is currently splitting first-team snaps with Nick Foles.
PHILADELPHIA — The oldest player on the Philadelphia Eagles’ roster is in a fight for his job as starting quarterback.
Michael Vick, the team’s most grizzled veteran at 32, and second-year pocket passer Nick Foles split first-team snaps with the offense in drills and simulated scrimmage situations.
“I compete with myself more than (I compete) with anyone else,” Vick said.
The tempo of the workout was rapid and ripe with bass, with Kelly blaring 50 Cent, Nicki Minaj, Queen and other hand-selected numbers. The totals more important to Eagles’ fans are those produced in what Kelly labeled on draft day as a “wide-open” competition.
Vick said the quarterbacks are not worried about who is the No. 1 quarterback in May. He plans to stress consistency and making the right decisions while grasping Kelly’s vast scheme.
Foles was only “sprinkled in” with the starting offense last week, according to wide receiver Jeremy Maclin. Maclin said Friday that Vick was ahead of Foles based on the way Kelly had divvied up practice snaps.
“Count them up. Someone charted them, I would imagine,” Kelly said Monday. “He and Nick switched to different groups, so that’s what we did.”
Within his offseason team activity (OTA) schedule, Kelly said the split was planned to be 50-50, but said Foles might have received slightly less work in the first OTA of a planned three-week schedule.
At one point in Monday’s session, Kelly had all five quarterbacks on the 90-man roster — including fourth-round pick Matt Barkley and Kelly’s former Oregon pupil Dennis Dixon — throwing simultaneously. Their footwork and accuracy was critiqued on the fly and the pace of the practice must have felt like fast-forward compared to roster holdovers from the Andy Reid regime and Barkley, who is straight from the college scene.
“Matt has been really good. We’ve had him for three days,” said Kelly, including a weekend rookie minicamp. “Really thought he picked things up quickly. He’s an extremely hard worker. He’s here every morning at 6 a.m. working at whatever it is to work on. I mean, I think he’s got a great football background first and foremost. He started four years in high school and four years in college and that’s kind of rare, so he’s been through a lot. It showed up when he got here. He’s got a lot of experience even though he’s a rookie. I’ve been real impressed with Matt in the three days now going into the fourth day that we’ve had him.”
Vick turns 33 on June 26 and after renegotiating his contract is driven to prove he’s the ideal option for Kelly’s four-plays-a-minute offense. Injuries are the biggest bugaboo for Vick, who was sacked 85 times in the past 35 games and has played every game just once in his career (2006).
“In my mind, in my heart,” said Vick, “I feel like I’m the starter.”
Foles dwarfs Vick (6-0, 215) in the huddle. While the 6-6, 243-pound pocket passer isn’t exactly statuesque in the pocket, he’s not a threat to gouge a defense with his running ability. In six starts and seven appearances as a rookie, Foles completed 60.8 percent of his passes but he also took a lot of hits (20 sacks in 265 attempts).
Almost as important as figuring out who starts behind center is who Kelly can align alongside Jason Kelce. Fourth overall pick Lane Johnson began workouts at right tackle opposite Jason Peters on the left side, and Kelly said that plan is expected to remain.
With Johnson at right tackle eventually — he isn’t running with the first team in OTAs — Todd Herremans moved back inside to right guard and Evan Mathis will be the left guard. The return of Peters from a one-year absence to recover from an Achilles inuury is a boon. But with only one other change in personnel, Kelly has seemingly corrected myriad issues.