Two quarterback controversies were ended, at least temporarily, on Monday morning. Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly named Michael Vick the team’s starter, while Brandon Weeden has officially won the job with the Cleveland Browns.
Vick had been battling with Nick Foles for the first two weeks of training camp. After performing well during games and in training camp, though, Kelly decided to end the competition hallway through the preseason. Against the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers, Vick has combined to complete 13 of his 15 pass attempts for 199 yards. The signal caller has thrown one touchdown and one interception. He’s avoided getting sacked, being taken down behind the line of scrimmage only once.
Foles was given the starting nod by Andy Reid in 2012 when Vick went down with an injury. The former third-round pick has been efficient in two exhibition contests, but not as impressive as Vick. In seven games last season, Foles completed 60.8 percent of his passes with six touchdowns and five interceptions. According to the first-year head coach, the decision is a permanent one.
"This is a one QB operation ... Mike won't be looking over his shoulder," said Kelly. "We had 38 opportunities for evaluation, I don't think this is a rash decision."
While second-year player Foles will be relegated to a backup role, the 2012 season saw several rookie quarterbacks excel in their seasons as NFL starters. Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson all led their teams to the playoffs. Even Ryan Tannehill showed some good signs and helped the Miami Dolphins get better. Brandon Weeden, though, had the worst season of any rookie that started at quarterback.
The Cleveland Browns quarterback entered the NFL at 28 years old, but still looked like he didn’t belong in many of his 15 games. Weeden finished 29th in the league with a 72.6 passer rating. His 14 touchdowns and 17 interceptions were a main reason why the Browns won just five games. In his regular season debut, he managed just a 5.1 passer rating, the worst ever by a rookie since 1960.
The 28th overall draft pick has impressed, though, this preseason. He’s recorded a 127.7 and a 137.8 passer rating in his two exhibition games, while throwing for three touchdowns and no interceptions. It also helps that Cleveland doesn’t have a young quarterback to give him much competition. Veteran Jason Campbell has performed well, but after being drafter eight years ago, the Browns want to give Weeden a chance.
"Brandon has earned this job," said head coach Rob Chudzinski told reporters. "He's gained my complete trust."
Both the New York Jets and Oakland Raiders have still yet to officially name their starting quarterbacks for 2013. Mark Sanchez and Matt Flynn appear to be the favorites with two preseason games remaining.
The Jets drafted Geno Smith in the second round, but injuries have derailed his quest to start in Week One. He completed six-of-seven passes in New York’s first preseason game, but wasn’t able to play last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars. If Sanchez does get the nod in the next few weeks, though, he could still lose it early in the regular season.
Terrelle Pryor is the biggest competition to Flynn. The third-year man out of Ohio State, however, only completed one pass in the team’s second game against the New Orleans Saints. In the same contest, Flynn had a 117.7 passer rating, despite getting sacked five times.