Hold on to your butts, guys, because I’m about to throw out a wild and crazy notion. Sometimes NFL head coaches — men in a line of work where holding the same position for five years is reason to party down — have a grand plan, and they go ahead and execute that plan regardless of what you and I, or any other Johnny football fan thinks.
But it gets better. If they have enough conviction in their vision, they soldier on with little regard for what their players think. Oh sure, they have an open mind and open ears, but they’re thinking long term, and far beyond the immediacy of a situation.
So in short then, they’re being head coaches, a job in which there’s a goal behind every action. There are reasons why Chip Kelly, the Eagles rookie head coach, hasn’t named a quarterback yet. Most of them are simple, while a few are deeper, and all of them are apparently making a lot of people who wear green jerseys uneasy.
The two men involved in said competition are Michael Vick and Nick Foles, and last week Vick was very forward with his uneasiness regarding the still continuing battle, and I use that word (“battle” or “competition”, your choice) so very loosely. At this point, calling it a competition is just a name, because everything needs to be assigned a title. Kelly is using that status to promote an aggressive and intense practice environment.
When Vick was blunt about his views on the matter, he disturbed a lot of media guys who seek quotes that aren’t boring, and therefore they may never get another non-cliché quote from Vick. That was a rant from another day, though, and what’s important now is that Vick’s views — that he’d like to see a starter named before training camp — are being echoed by others.
Namely, his top wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who evidently isn’t just speaking for himself. Here’s what he said to NFL AM this morning:
“I have been hearing some things about Vick saying that he wants to know. At the same time, the team wants to know too. We need to go into training camp prepared and know who is going to be our starting quarterback. Whether it is [Nick] Foles or Vick, I think they would both do a great job and we will be ready for the season.”
He also noted that so far the first-team reps between Vick and Foles have been nearly split.
Again, it feels like there’s very little true competition here, because despite what Kelly has said about quarterbacks not necessarily needing to be overly mobile in his offense, Vick’s fit is just too damn good. That’s especially true if a quick-strike passing game lowers the difficulty of his throws and minimizes his opportunities to make crushing errors. And it’s even more true if he now knows how to hold the damn ball, which in theory should cut down on his fumbles.
But there’s no reason at all for Kelly to publicly name a starter until a new head coach sees his new players in pads during training camp. If this competition is continuing only to have a competition, and all the extra attention to detail that environment breeds, why end it now long before true practices have started?
There’s always a plan and a motive, and usually it’s hidden.