NFL Preseason Preview - Philadelphia (1-1) at Jacksonville (0-2)
By John McMullen, NFL Editor
(Sports Network) - A number of quarterback competitions wrapped up this week
but the winner in Jacksonville won't be on display when the Jaguars host the
Philadelphia Eagles in preseason action.
Jags first-year head coach Gus Bradley announced Monday that Blaine Gabbert
will be under center when the Jaguars open the regular season on Sept. 8.
However, the Mizzou product will not play the rest of the preseason because of
a hairline fracture in his right thumb, suffered in the team's 37-13 loss to
the New York Jets on Saturday.
Gabbert won't need surgery to repair the damage, though, and expects to be
fully recovered in time for the Week 1 contest at home against the Kansas City
Gabbert, who had been battling Chad Henne for the starting position,
punctuated his case for the job before suffering the injury against the Jets,
finishing with 165 yards and one touchdown on 13-of-16 passing.
Henne was not nearly as impressive, completing just 4-of-10 throws for 30
yards with an interception.
Gabbert, Jacksonville's 2011 first-round pick, started the first 10 games in
2012 before a right forearm injury ended his season. Henne started the final
Eagles rookie coach Chip Kelly also decided on a signal caller this week,
giving veteran Michael Vick the nod over second-year man Nick Foles.
"We've evaluated the situation and Michael Vick is going to start for us
against the Washington Redskins (in Week 1)," said Kelly on Tuesday. "I met
with the quarterbacks this morning and they're all on board."
Kelly added that the decision is not just for the club's season opener:
"He's our starter for the season. It's not a one-game trial basis."
Vick has completed 13-of-15 passes for 199 yards with a touchdown and an
interception in two preseason games, while Foles has connected on 11-of-14
passes for 96 yards with an interception and rushed for a score in last week's
win over Carolina.
"We had 20 practice opportunities and two preseason games," said Kelly in
justifying his decision. "We felt like we had a good amount of tape and a good
amount of seeing them on the field. Over time, we let it play itself out."
Vick is entering his fifth season with the Eagles and has started 35 games
over the past three years. Last season, he played in just 10 games in 2012
because of a concussion and completed 58.1 percent of his passes for 2,362
yards with 12 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Foles, as a rookie last year, played seven games and started six. He threw for
1,699 yards with six touchdowns and five interceptions as the Eagles finished
a dismal 4-12 season that cost Andy Reid his job as head coach.
"It was a healthy competition," Kelly concluded. "I think it made both players
better. They both played at a high level, I just think Mike played a little
The Eagles and Jaguars have met twice previously during the preseason, with
the Birds winning both contests.