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


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.


”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


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.

Online: http://www.pro32.ap.org/poll

Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter: