QBs far apart as Eagles, Pats practice together

Tom Brady picked the secondary apart in a scrimmage. Tim Tebow
looked sharp firing passes against backups during another drill. In
between, Ryan Mallet completed his share of throws.

All this against the Philadelphia Eagles at their practice
complex.

While the New England Patriots clearly have no questions about
their quarterback situation, Michael Vick and Nick Foles continued
competition for Philadelphia’s starting job. For the past two days,
they’ve faced New England’s defense during joint practices before
Friday night’s preseason opener.

Who starts for the Eagles remains unknown. Coach Chip Kelly
still hasn’t named a starter, although Vick probably will take the
first snap. That doesn’t mean much, however. There’s a long away to
go before the first regular-season game at Washington on Sept.
9.

”They’re both going to get reps so whoever takes the first rep,
let’s not anoint them as anything,” Kelly said Wednesday.
”Someone’s got to be the first guy. We’ll have a plan as we go
through and we’ll sit down as a staff, how many number of reps are
those guys going to get and go from there. We do have to have
someone start the game, but I wouldn’t say that the guy who starts
the game is going to be the starter overall or in general as we get
going on Sept. 9.

”How do we divvy up Mike’s and Nick’s snaps? We’ll try to make
that as even as possible. That’s kind of our thought process as we
go through this.”

If Kelly needs help making a decision, it’s not hard to find a
worthy opinion. Former Eagles coach Dick Vermeil, who led St. Louis
to a Super Bowl title, picked Vick. So did Philadelphia’s two-time
Pro Bowl wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Patriots linebacker Rob
Ninkovich faced both quarterbacks the past two days and he also
goes with Vick.

”Vick’s body of work speaks for itself,” Ninkovich said. ”His
release is one of the fastest in the league. He just flicks his
wrist and the ball’s out. He’s shown the past few years that he has
the accuracy that everyone was questioning in years past. Then I
put on the tape of him scrambling and it still seems like guys are
standing still when he’s running.

”The running element is definitely something that changes your
mindset as a defensive end or a pass rusher because not only do you
have to make sure that you are getting to the quarterback but you
have to be aware of the rush lanes and that’s the hardest
part.”

Jackson predicted before camp that Vick would win the job, and
he hasn’t backed off that statement.

”It’s still the same,” he said. ”Both are doing a great job.
It’s really hard to tell who is separating himself. They’re both
doing a great job making sure the offense is run the right way.
Everything is proven in training camp. The reason I say Mike is
because of his experience level.”

Vick said being the starter is ”not something that we take for
granted,” and ”we understand what’s at stake.” By many accounts,
Vick has looked better than Foles in camp.

”I feel good about where I’m at,” Vick said. ”You can’t get
complacent in this game. There’s always things to work on in every
practice regardless of how good it may seem.”

Foles threw several crisp passes against the Patriots, including
a few touchdowns and looked sharp in 7-on-7 drills.

”It’s a great experience to go against someone else and get
different looks in a practice situation,” he said. ”We’re able to
do different scenarios and get our individual work in.”

Rookie Matt Barkley came into camp trying to compete for the No.
1 spot, but he appears headed for third-string duties.

NOTES: Kelly said the Eagles are looking into possible reasons
why they’ve already had three players sustain season-ending ACL
tears on the practice field. ”We’re going to look at it and try to
figure out, obviously, is it preventable? Is it something that we
can make sure doesn’t happen? But I don’t have any information,”
Kelly said. ”I know we’re looking at it. But a lot happens any
time we have injuries. Our doctors and trainers are trying to
figure that part out how the overall scope of everything we do. But
it’s something that we certainly are looking at right now.” …
The Eagles placed WR Arrelious Benn on injured reserve a day after
he became the third player to sustain a season-ending ACL tear.
They haven’t made a corresponding roster move yet. … The teams
will hold a joint practice again Thursday limited to situational
plays. It is slated to start at 12:30 p.m. EDT.

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