Michael Vick to start season
"I think I proved I could be consistent every day and be a leader on this team," Vick said. "I'm going to take the same approach, the same mindset. I know how hard I worked over the last four months. It would be a shame if I let up. It would be selfish, to myself and my teammates."
There also is a financial significance of coach Chip Kelly's decision to make Vick, who was paid a $3 million signing bonus when he agreed to his new contract earlier this year, his Week 1 starter. His $3.5 million base salary will be guaranteed and his $500,000 roster bonus will be assured once the season begins, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Ed Werder.
In addition, Vick has playing-time incentives that could provide another $1.5 million: for playing 50 percent of snaps, he makes an additional $500,000; for 60 percent, he makes $700,000; for 70 percent, he makes $1 million; for 80 percent, he makes $1.2 million; and for 90 percent, he makes $1.5 million.
Kelly's decision wasn't a shock to anyone who has watched the Eagles' quarterback competition all summer. Vick has run Kelly's go-go offense with great efficiency, completing 13 of 15 passes (86.7 percent) for 199 yards, one touchdown and one interception -- which came on a Hail Mary at the end of a half.
The surprise was only in the timing of the announcement. Kelly had said all summer that he didn't feel the need to name a starter until he was planning for the Sept. 9 opener at Washington. When he stepped into the media tent before Tuesday's practice at the NovaCare Complex, he was expected only to say whether Vick or Nick Foles would start Saturday night's preseason game in Jacksonville.
Expect Kelly to zig and he zags.
"We've evaluated the situation and Michael Vick is going to start for us against the Washington Redskins," Kelly said. "He'll get the predominant amount of reps today in practice and he'll play, hopefully, our plan is for him to play two quarters in Jacksonville."
Kelly said he met with Vick, Foles and the other quarterbacks on the roster Tuesday morning and informed them of the decision.
"Anytime you get called into the coach's office, you get butterflies," Vick said. Kelly said Foles' reaction was "great." Foles said it took him "a tenth of a second" to get past being disappointed.
Vick Needs to Stop Turnovers
Turnovers have plagued Michael Vick the past two seasons. He'll need to end that trend to be successful in 2013 as Chip Kelly's starting quarterback.
Vick's turnovers, past 2 seasons
|*Minimum 700 attempts|
-- ESPN Stats & Information
"Mike and I had a great battle," Foles said. "Nothing is going to change between me and Mike. We're going to continue to push each other."
Kelly credited Foles for making the decision difficult with his performance throughout OTAs, training camp and two preseason games.
"They both played at a high level," Kelly said. "I just think that Mike played at a higher level."
Kelly stressed that Vick would be the starter and that there would be no rotating of quarterbacks.
"No one is going to be looking over their shoulder," he said.
As for the timing, Kelly said it would enable him and his staff to focus their offensive plan around Vick's strengths and preferences.
"What we do is dependent on who the quarterback is," Kelly said. "Part of getting a guy in place a couple weeks before the first game is finding out what he's real comfortable doing and really getting some feedback from him. Maybe in some situations the quarterbacks aren't going to tell you what they like and don't like when there is an evaluation going on. They may think the evaluation is part of them liking or not liking something.
"We need to put the best game plan together when we play the Redskins."
ESPN NFL Insider Ed Werder contributed to this report.
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