The quarterback watch at One Novacare Way this week could last up until kickoff Sunday between the Eagles and Buccaneers as Chip Kelly is leaving all options ont he table in the wake of Michael Vick's week five hamstring pull. Photo Courtesy: USA TODAY
The early indications at the beginning of the week were that Nick Foles would make his first start of the season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in relief of Michael Vick who is recovering from a hamstring pull.
However, as the week has drawn on so has the speculation that Vick may be able to suit up after all after a week's worth of limited work in practice.
On Thursday, head coach Chip Kelly left the door open for anything to happen when the ball is teed up at 1:00 Sunday afternoon at Raymond James Stadium.
"12:59." Kelly said when asked be a reporter Thursday at the Novacare Complex how long he could wait to name a starter. "No, I mean, really, we'll see how it is as we go into it. Again, we're never going to put [Mike] in harm's way and we're always going to do what's best for the team. The good thing is we still have three full days. We've got Thursday, Friday and Saturday of training to really get a full evaluation of where we are with this whole thing."
However, the head coach went on to explain that he would not put Vick in harm's way if he is not 100 percent.
That is a sentiment Vick echoed.
“Yes, I’m preparing as if I’m going to play. I prepare every week as if I’m going to play,” he said, “even if I’m the backup. I’ve just got to get ready, got to stay mentally involved, stay in tuned with the game plan and what we’re doing.”Would he go at less than 100 percent? Probably not.
"I think it's important to be 100 percent," Vick pointed out. "This type of injury, if you do anything out of the ordinary you can prolong the recovery process."
With all of that in mind, Foles has said all along that he is preparing for this game as if he is the starter, and has been seen taking extra reps with receivers each day after practice. The second-year Arizona product finished 16-25 for 197 yards and two touchdowns against the Giants Sunday.
Many of questioned whether or not Foles has the ability to not only win the starting job but emerge as the quarterback of the future. Kelly didn't dismiss that notion Thursday.
“Yeah, I have,” Kelly said when asked if Foles has the ability to be a full time starter in the NFL. “I think Nick has the ability to be a starter in this league. We’re excited about him. If the opportunity presents itself on Sunday I’m excited to see Nick out there.”
This showdown with the winless Buccaneers can go a long way towards keeping the Eagles atop the NFC east, regardless of who is at quarterback. But, for Foles, this could be his best opportunity to seize the starting job in the event he gets the nod under center.
But, if we take Kelly at his word, we may not know for sure who will be quarterbacking this team until right before kickoff Sunday.
Matt Lombardo is the Editor-In-Chief of Eagledelphia and also an on-air personality on 97.5 FM The Fanatic in Philadelphia. Join the conversation and follow Matt on Twitter.
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