Eagles-Buccaneers Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated October 09, 2013
Though it's unclear if Michael Vick will start, the Philadelphia Eagles might not need him to pull out a victory against the scuffling Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With his starting job possibly on the line if he doesn't play, Vick hopes to overcome his ailing hamstring and lead the visiting Eagles to consecutive victories for the first time in 20 games Sunday against the winless Buccaneers. The veteran quarterback pulled his left hamstring late in the second quarter of a 36-21 win over the New York Giants last Sunday while running out of bounds on a 13-yard scramble. Before going down, Vick completed 6 of 14 passes for 105 yards and ran seven times for a team-high 79 yards. Backup Nick Foles came in and connected on 16 of 25 attempts for 197 yards and two touchdowns, sparking a debate over who should start for the Eagles (2-3) at Tampa Bay (0-4). Vick has been able to throw and jog this week, but didn't participate in team drills during practice Tuesday or Wednesday. "It's day to day," coach Chip Kelly said. "We'll see how it goes." Although Vick is expected to get the nod if he's healthy, Kelly left open the possibility that Foles could win the job if he plays and performs well. "There's always open competition," Kelly said. "So if Nick goes out there and throws 100 for 100 and throws 27 touchdown passes, then, yeah (he's the No. 1)." After completing 62.3 percent of his passes for 631 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions in his first two games, Vick has hit 46.5 percent for 554 yards with one score and two picks in his last three. Foles was 1-5 as the starter last season after Vick sustained a concussion in November. The only win came at Tampa Bay, completing 32 of 51 passes for a career-high 381 yards with two touchdowns in a 23-21 victory Dec. 9. Though Vick certainly has more mobility, Foles has been more effective in the red zone this season. Vick is 5 for 19 for 38 yards and one score inside the opponents' 20-yard line, while Foles is 2 of 3 for 11 yards and two touchdowns. "My expectation is to work great (in practice), get a lot of work in, study the film, and whatever it is on Sunday, I'll be ready," Foles said. Whoever gets the start will try to guide the Eagles to consecutive wins for the first time since opening last season 2-0. They should have a good chance to get that done against a Tampa Bay team looking to end its worst start since losing its first seven in 2009. Coming of their bye week following a 13-10 loss to Arizona on Sept. 29, the Buccaneers are hoping rookie quarterback Mike Glennon can show some improvement and provide a lift for one of the NFL's worst offenses. The third-round draft pick completed 24 of 43 for 193 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions - both in the fourth quarter - in his first career start. He also was charged with a second-half fumble on a handoff that Doug Martin was unable to hold. "I thought he handled the operation of the game very well - protections, reading plays out," said coach Greg Schiano, whose Buccaneers released former starter Josh Freeman last week. "He had a couple of balls, I think, he'd like to have back at the end of the game." Tampa Bay is 31st in the NFL in scoring (11.0 ppg) and total offense (274.8 ypg), but might be able to get things turned around against a Philadelphia team that ranks 30th in points allowed (31.8) and 31st in total defense (434.0). It would certainly help to get Martin back on track after he was limited to 45 yards on 27 carries by the Cardinals. Martin, third in the league at 85.5 rushing yards per game, ran for 128 and a touchdown on 28 carries in last year's meeting. Philadelphia's LeSean McCoy, leading the NFL with 514 yards rushing, also hopes to rebound after finishing with 46 last Sunday on 20 carries. Leading receiver DeSean Jackson, who had seven catches for 132 yards and a touchdown, may face his biggest challenge of the season as he goes against three-time All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis. "I don't think he can run with me. I don't think he's as fast as me," Jackson said. "... We're not going to make it into a one-on-one battle, me versus Revis. It's the Eagles versus Tampa Bay. At the end of that game, as long as we're winning, that's all that matters to me." The Eagles have won both meetings with the Buccaneers since 2007.
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