PHILADELPHIA — Michael Vick took a pay cut and had to compete for his job when he returned to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Part of the choice had to do with the up-tempo offense mapped out by new Eagles head coach Chip Kelly.
“I just thought,” Vick said, “this was the best opportunity, the best fit for me.”
Turns out, Vick was the best fit for Kelly.
With his first chance to put his stamp on Philadelphia’s offense, Kelly named Vick the starting quarterback on Tuesday, giving the veteran the nod over Nick Foles after a sterling effort in the preseason.
“He’s our starter for the season,” Kelly said. “It’s not a one-game trial basis.”
There wasn’t a lot of suspense with Kelly’s decision, which was announced after practice on Tuesday, and after the coach met with both players. About the only surprise was the timing — Kelly had hinted he might not name a starter until closer to the opener. But Kelly, in his first season after coaching at Oregon, ended the mystery and will have Vick taking the snaps when Philadelphia opens the regular season at Washington Sept. 9.
“I’m not surprised at all,” Vick said. “I told him, ‘Thank you, I appreciate it and I won’t let you down.’”
Vick has been solid in two preseason games, and Foles, in his second season with the Eagles, has struggled to grasp Kelly’s multifaceted offense. Vick has thrown for 199 yards this preseason and will take a 113.2 quarterback rating into Friday’s game at Jacksonville (0-2).
Foles has been sacked six times in two games, and has a quarterback rating of 65.5, after showing flashes as a rookie last season while Vick was injured. Vick played in just 10 games last season, while Foles topped 340 yards twice as a rookie.
The Eagles (1-1) are coming off a 4-12 season, coach Andy’s Reid’s last, and haven’t made the playoffs since they won the NFC East at the end of the 2010 season.
“We had a good amount of tape, a good amount of us seeing them on the field,” Kelly said. “And seeing them in a lot of different situations, and wanted to put a guy in place, if we could, in enough time to get us to prepare the season.”
Kelly has only shown flashes of his up-tempo offense in the first two preseason games and defenses already seem tired and confused while the Eagles are moving the ball with ease. The first-team offense led by Vick and Foles has four touchdowns on eight-plus possessions in two games. One drive ended with an end-zone interception and two others ended with fumbles.