A day after Nick Foles and Matt Barkley expressed confidence in their abilities to lead the Philadelphia Eagles, it was Michael Vick’s turn to do the same.
”I’m confident in myself and I’m very confident. That’s the only reason why I’m standing here,” Vick said Tuesday. ”I believe in me. I know what I can do. I know I’ve got a lot of years left to play this game.”
Rookies, quarterbacks and a few other veterans took the field for the first practice under coach Chip Kelly. The rest of the team arrives Thursday and then the quarterback competition really gets going.
Of course, Vick and Foles have been competing throughout mini-camps and other offseason workouts. And don’t rule out Barkley, who said Monday he’s here to win the job.
”There is an open competition,” Barkley said. ”I absolutely feel like I’ve got to be a part of it. I’ve got to challenge myself, just like any other guy on the team. Your mindset has to be that you’re in the race to start. You’ve got to have that mindset. I’m in a competition regardless of what everyone else is saying.
”You just have to practice that way.”
Foles started six games last year after Vick was injured, going 1-5 on a team that finished 4-12. He completed 60.8 percent of his passes for 1,699 yards, six touchdowns and five interceptions.
”I’m not here to be a backup. I’m here to be the guy,” Foles said. ”I don’t think we play this game to sit on the bench. We play it to play, and I’m here to play.”
Who will be the starter when the Eagles open the season at Washington on Sept. 9 has been the biggest question since Kelly arrived in Philadelphia. Kelly is a long way from making that decision.
”We’ll have a starting quarterback named before we get our game plan in for the Redskins,” Kelly said.
Vick has missed 11 games because of injuries over the last three seasons. He finished last year with 2,362 yards passing, 12 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, and also lost five fumbles.
The 33-year-old Vick took a significant pay cut to return to Philadelphia to compete for the No. 1 job. He’s trying to regain the level he performed at in 2010 during his breakout year. He had career highs in yards passing (3,018), completion percentage (62.6), touchdowns passing (21), touchdowns rushing (9) and passer rating (100.2) that season.
”The most important thing, like my coach told me, is that we have to come out here and we have to compete every day. We’ve got to give it everything we’ve got,” Vick said. ”From now on until my career is over, until I stop playing the game of football, I’m going to compete every day and I love that part about football. I love the competition aspect and I love what I do.
”I love the game that I play. That supersedes everything.”
Barkley, a fourth-round pick out of USC, rewrote the conference record book during a school-record 47 starts over four seasons, becoming the Pac-12’s leader in touchdown passes, yards passing, completions and total offense.