PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Michael Vick took a slight lead over Nick Foles in the Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback competition, while Tom Brady looked like himself on the opposite side.
Brady led the New England Patriots to a pair of 80-yard TD drives on his only two series, and Tim Tebow saw extended action in a 31-22 preseason win over the Eagles on Friday night.
Vick threw a 47-yard touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson, but the new-look Eagles kicked off the Chip Kelly era the same way they ended Andy Reid’s long tenure — with another loss.
Foles also led the Eagles to a TD drive, staying right there with Vick as they battle for the starting job.
Here are five things we learned during New England’s victory over the Eagles:
1. TOM BRADY DOESN’T NEED BIG-NAME WRs: Brady has a new group of receivers after the team’s top five receiving leaders from last season are gone or injured. It didn’t matter. The two-time NFL and Super Bowl MVP finished 7 of 8 for 65 yards and one TD. Kenbrell Thompkins was Brady’s top target, catching four passes for 23 yards. Rookie Aaron Dobson had two catches for 35 yards. Brady was most pleased with the team’s first drive when he handed off all six plays for 80 yards.
“It started with what we did up front,” Brady said. “(Stevan Ridley) runs 62 yards, incredible. To hand the ball off, and get the ball in the end zone, that was just great. It’s our challenge to be a tough football team, and to run the ball like that? Great start.”
2. CHIP KELLY ISN’T NAMING A STARTING QB SOON: Kelly praised Vick and Foles equally, even though Vick looked better and played against a first-team defense. Kelly said he’s not leaning toward either guy and isn’t planning to pick one until the Eagles start preparing for their regular-season opener at Washington on Sept. 9.
“Both got us in the end zone. I was pleased,” Kelly said. “They played pretty well. Both rose to the occasion. I was excited with the way they played.”
3. EAGLES WILL KEEP IT SIMPLE IN PRESEASON: Kelly isn’t going to show off his up-tempo offense in the preseason. Though the Eagles ran several no-huddle plays and moved quicker than most, this was hardly the offense Kelly ran at Oregon. The fast-paced, hurry-up style that helped the Ducks average an astounding 44.7 points per game in four years may or may not work in the NFL. We’ll have to wait until the games count to make that determination.
“We didn’t do a third of what we normally would do,” Vick said.
4. THE PATRIOTS CAN RUN THE BALL: After finishing seventh in the NFL in rushing offense last year, the Patriots might even be improved. LeGarrette Blount had 101 yards rushing on 11 carries in his first game for New England, including a nifty, 51-yard TD run in which he reversed direction twice on the play. The former 1,000-yard rusher with Tampa Bay complements Stevan Ridley, who had 92 yards on the ground.
“We’re special,” Ridley said. “We’re off to a good start. You can’t really ask for more.”
5. TIM TEBOW STILL HAS WORK TO DO: Tebow made his New England debut after backup Ryan Mallett left with a head injury late in the second quarter. He was 4 of 12 for 55 yards and ran for 31 yards on four carries.
Though Tebow adds a new dimension for the Patriots because he can run the option, he has to improve his passing skills.
“It’s fun, and I’m comfortable with it,” Tebow said of the hurry-up offense. “You have to stay on your toes, there’s a lot of moving parts out there. We still have to get some things down, and that’s something that we’re still working on.”
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