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The Eagles kicked off the first day of 2013 Training Camp under rookie head coach Chip Kelly on Tuesday when rookies and selected vets hit the practice field. Don't worry nothing ground breaking happened and not much can really dissect into well because there is only 30 players there and all we saw for an hour was position drills but the continuing talk of camp is the 3-way battle to be the Eagles starting quarterback come Week 1 and competition is new territory for one veteran quarterback.
This year's training camp embarks QB Michael Vick's 11th season playing in the NFL, his 5th in midnight green but this year it has a different feel for the veteran. Not because there is a new head coach and learning a new system, but the fact that he is playing not only to prove everyone that he deserves to be the starting quarteback, but some feel to remain on the 53 man roster. It's only day 1 of camp so anything can change, but Vick seems to have a open mindset about his role heading into this season.
"I'm here to compete but more importantly I'm here to help this team," said Vick. "I heard great things about Coach Kelly. I came back to play for him, that is it. I feel this is the best situation for me. I want to be the starter like we all do but we all have to work and if im not the starter, I will do whatever it takes to help my teammates and do what is right for the team. I'm here to support"
But just because he is willing to step a side and hold the clipboard if that's what Chip Kelly thinks is best, he isn't going out without a fight.
"I’m confident in myself," Vick said. "Like I said, that’s the only reason why I’m standing here. I believe in me. I know what I can do. I know I got a lot of years left to play this game."
In 2012, Vick had one of his worst statisical years in the NFL where he only threw for 2,362 yards and only accomdated for 13 of the Eagles touchdowns in only 10 games played. He has gotten a bad reputation around the league of being injury and turnover prone and the track record shows it. The last two seasons since being the Eagles full time starter heading into the season, he turned it over a total of 33 times(24 ints/9 Fumbles lost) and hasn't started a full season since 2006. But Vick is out to show everyone what he has left in the tank by changing himself even if that meant gaining 4 pounds.
"Can’t you tell? I gained four pounds, four pounds of muscle," Vick said jokingly. " I’ve been doing a lot of curls, lot of bench presses in the offseason, just trying to put my body in the best position possible to withstand the hits. You know, everybody says I’m injury-prone so I’m trying to fight that."
Vick signed a one year contract worth $7 million and could make up to $10 million in 2013 if he makes the roster and reaches certain incentives. Behind him he has 2nd year man QB Nick Foles who played in 7 games(6 starts) in 2012 recording almost 1700 yards through the air with 7 TDs and 6 Ints.
He showed some positives and leadership last season when he lead the Eagles on a 4th quarter game winning drive against Tampa Bay but on the otherside he has issues with his arm strength and long ball accuracy, decision making and honestly does he fit well in Chip Kelly's fast paced run first offense? Only time will tell.
And then we have 4th round pick, QB Matt Barkley being thrown in the mix and some hope the USC product gets the starting job. I feel before the season is done Barkley will start in the NFL because if things don't go well with Vick or Foles, Chip Kelly has to know what he has with Barkley for the future. He just brings that intrigue and mystery that he can be the guy which is sort of the same thing we had last season after we saw Foles perform in preseason. Everyone was ready to annoit him the starter after a couple of impressive preseason games, I think Chip is smarter than that and won't rush the young quarterback.
I know it's just day 1 of Training Camp but this is a different side of Vick we haven't seen out of him in some time now. He seems more energetic and pleased to talk to the media even cracking jokes on Tuesday afternoon. He is bringing more of a positive attitude which is what a leader needs to do to set an example for the young locker room. It just comes to a surprise after he came off as disgruntled at the end of mini camps when he admitted he had issues splitting time with 2nd year man Nick Foles. I guess it's not true in this example, that competition brings out the worst in people at least for now.
Training Camp Notes
-Eagles Head Coach Chip Kelly announced in his press conference that the team's first full padded practice will be Sunday July 28th which is also the first open practice to the public that is held at Lincoln Financial Field.
-Chip was also asked about the quarterback competition saying that right now the depth chart is "written with sand" meaning that it is an open competition and when that decision would be made, he responded with "Prior to the game plan they get ready for the Redskins. He was then asked when the game plan will be set, Kelly jokingly said, "Hopefully before the game."
-The remaining veterans aren't scheduled to report until Thursday afternoon with the first full team practice being held on Friday. But two surprising veterans reported early to Novacare Complex. Center Jason Kelce was in attendance working with the young players and building chemistry with the offensive line and has been getting in extra work throughout the entire offseason. The 3rd year veteran was placed on season ending injured reserve after he suffered a partially torn ACL and a torn MCL in Week 2 against the Baltimore Ravens.
And free agent addition TE James Casey was also practicing with his new team. Kelly said he is happy that Casey and Kelce both want to be here. For Casey it was important for him to get into camp early. "He brings versatility to this offense and So [we’re] trying to utilize that and James. The more times we get a practice opportunity with them, the more times we get a chance to see what he does best and play to his strengths."
-On Tuesday prior to practice kicking off, the Eagles placed RB Matthew Tucker and P Brad Wing on the non-football injury list. Both players failed Chip Kelly's conditioning test. We are informed that both players can be in attendance at camp but can not practice. They had to run with trainers on a seperate field. Coach Kelly said, "Your goal in life is to play in the NFL, you have to get past the condition test to play in it. So ball's in their court.