Vick or Foles, Eagles offense keeps moving

Michael Vick is the speedy, elusive, strong-armed quarterback.

Nick Foles is more of the classic pocket passer.

Despite obvious differences in the skill sets of his top two

quarterbacks, Chip Kelly insists the Philadelphia Eagles run the

same offense no matter which player is under center.

”We do the same things offensively with Nick that we did with

Mike, and I think that’s the beauty of those guys,” Kelly said.

”There are some things that Nick does different than Mike does.

But it’s not like we’re going to be an I-formation team if Nick’s

in the game.”

Foles will make his second straight start Sunday when the Eagles

(3-3) host the Dallas Cowboys (3-3) in a battle for first place in

the NFC East. Vick had been playing well before injuring his

hamstring late in the first half against the New York Giants on

Oct. 6.

Foles has filled in nicely, leading the Eagles to two wins and

sparking a full-blown quarterback controversy in Philadelphia.

Kelly hasn’t diffused it by refusing to say whether Vick will

regain his starting job when he’s healthy.

Strong arguments could be made to support either side. Vick has

thrown for 1,185 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions, and

has 307 yards rushing and two more scores. Foles has completed 67.2

percent of his passes for 542 yards, six touchdowns, zero

interceptions and has a passer rating of 127.9.

Vick led the Eagles to 11 touchdowns and 10 field goals on 54

drives for an average of 1.96 points per drive. Foles has led them

to seven touchdowns and three field goals on 22 drives, an average

of 2.64 points per drive.

”Nick moves a little bit better than some people give him

credit for and I think Mike operates from the pocket a little bit

better than some people give him credit for,” offensive

coordinator Pat Shurmur said. ”They both function equally well in

our offense and they both have been efficient. They both can do

anything we want them to do for us to be successful on

offense.”

But anyone who watches football knows they have different

styles, right?

Kelly has everyone in the organization sticking to the same

story. Opponents are more inclined to give an honest opinion.

”I would like to see Foles,” Cowboys defensive tackle Jason

Hatcher said. ”Vick is like a rabbit. He’s all over the place.

Foles is more like a stationary guy in the pocket. Both of them are

awesome quarterbacks.”

Vick appears more suited to operate Kelly’s zone-read offense

because of his superior scrambling ability. When he’s on the field,

the Eagles seemingly have a more dangerous rushing attack because

opponents have to defend against Vick and LeSean McCoy. But, McCoy

had 116 yards rushing in last week’s win at Tampa Bay.

With Foles, the Eagles have been more efficient in the red zone.

Foles is 5 for 9 for 37 yards with three touchdowns and a rushing

touchdown inside the opponents’ 20. Vick is 5 for 19 for 38 yards

and one score. But he had one of his passes dropped in the end zone

by James Casey and another dropped by Brent Celek inside the 5.

Some of Vick’s critics say he struggles on a short field because

he’s only 6-foot and has trouble seeing over linemen. Foles is

6-foot-6, so he has no problems in that area.

”The passes that we threw in the red zone, we would have called

the exact same passes if Mike was quarterback,” Shurmur said. ”We

expect them to execute and be efficient. You don’t call certain

plays for a tall quarterback and certain ones for a guy that’s not

as tall.”

Receiver DeSean Jackson has caught red-zone touchdown passes

from Foles in consecutive games. He had only two scoring catches of

15 yards or less from Vick in four-plus seasons together.

But Jackson credits that to playcalling – not the

quarterback.

”I always felt like I can be a threat regardless of where the

ball is on the field,” Jackson said. ”I have a coach that

believes in me out there and likes to call my number.”

The situation hasn’t affected the friendship between Vick and

Foles.

”I love Mike,” Foles said. ”We have a great relationship and

we don’t worry about it. We know that the most important thing is

for the Philadelphia Eagles to win, no matter who is at

quarterback.

”We’re going to support each other.”

Vick showed up with Foles for an unscheduled tag-team news

conference after Thursday’s practice instead of each player

speaking to reporters individually.

”Regardless of what happens, it’s all about rooting for one

another,” Vick said. ”Whatever comes out of it, it’s going to be

all good for the both of us. I love Nick and that friendship is

there, and it won’t go anywhere regardless of what happens.”

Online: AP NFL site: http://pro32.ap.org/

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