The first question on the minds of Eagles fans this preseason continues to be Who will be the starting quarterback ''
It's the natural almost necessary point to ponder whenever there is not a clear cut No. 1. Michael Vick and Nick Foles both played well in Friday's 31 22 loss to the New England Patriots the first of four preseason games that will ultimately decide the starter for the Sept. 9 season opener against the Washington Redskins.
Instead of worrying about the starter in Week 1 shouldn't our focus be on the man in Week 8 or Week 17 Unless everything goes right for the Eagles which would be an unexpectedly welcome change from the last two seasons this isn't a Super Bowl team let alone a realistic playoff contender.
If that's the frame of reference for this season then the starting quarterback should be Foles the second year QB from Arizona instead of Vick the 12 year veteran who is on essentially a one year contract with the Eagles.
Of course that would mean new coach Chip Kelly is writing off this season as a dress rehearsal for 2014 and beyond. Certainly the way he approached his first NFL draft in April assumes a long stay in Philadelphia.
But going with Foles from the start even for the understandable purpose of evaluating whether he can carry the franchise or whether the team should draft a QB in the first round of next year's draft. could be bad for business. Would owner Jeffrey Lurie stand for a season of exhibitions
The fans might to a point because they understand that Vick isn't the future. We don't know if Foles or for that matter fourth rounder Matt Barkley could be. And while Kelly aggressively moved to address some major deficiencies in the defense the way that Tom Brady and the Patriots effortlessly shredded the defense on Friday night is a scary sign. So is the season ending knee injury to Jeremy Maclin the team's most well rounded wide receiver.
PennLive photographer Paul Chaplin summed it up so well before Friday night's game If Vick is the difference between a 9 7 and 7 9 season then by all means go with him. A 9 7 season could mean playoffs which is the first marker of success. But if Vick makes the Eagles a 7 9 team instead of 6 10 with Foles then let's see what the kid can do.
I suspect that Kelly has already thought this out as a possible scenario. Of course the inevitable injuries especially to the game but battle scarred Vick will impact the decision making process.
So far there isn't a clear cut edge which is why Kelly said after Friday night's game that he will likely use all four preseason games before naming his starter. The impression here is that Vick who has played well in camp looked sharp against the Patriots and has said all the right things will be the choice unless Foles overwhelms us all in the next three weeks.
But if Kelly has an eye on the future Foles can expect a tap on the shoulder about midway through the season.