PHILADELPHIA - Whenever Eagles quarterback Michael Vick took a break during Thursday's organized team activity (OTA) at the NovaCare Complex, Mike Kafka was next in line.
The third-year veteran is getting the first shot to replace Vince Young as Vick's primary backup for the upcoming season.
"It's been great so far," Kafka said after Thursday's workout. "As many reps as I can get, the better off I'll be. It's all about gaining experience out there, making plays and learning from your mistakes."
Considering Vick's injury history - he missed three games in both 2011 and 2012 with rib injuries - backup quarterback could turn into a key position for the Eagles again this season.
One of the reasons the Eagles failed to make the playoffs last season was Young's lack of consistency. After leading a dramatic drive that secured a victory over the New York Giants on Nov. 20, Young stumbled in lopsided losses to New England and Seattle.
He ended the season with four touchdown passes against nine interceptions.
With Young now with Buffalo and 2010 backup Kevin Kolb in Arizona, Kafka is competing with NFL veteran Trent Edwards and rookie Nick Foles for the No. 2 job behind Vick. Edwards, who did not play in the NFL last season, was signed as a free agent. Foles was a third-round pick in last month's draft.
"I didn't mind when they drafted Nick at all," Kafka said. "Whatever they do to make the team better, I'm all for it. I think Nick is great. He's smart and has a very strong arm. And Trent has a lot of experience, so we'll see what happens."
So far, there hasn't been much of a competition. Kafka, a fourth-round draft pick in 2010, was one of the most impressive players in the first week of OTAs while Edwards struggled mightily and Foles received limited opportunities.
The offense ran smoothly when Kafka was under center and the 6-foot-3, 225-pounder also demonstrated improved arm strength on some deep passes and sideline routes. He attributed the increased velocity on offseason workouts in Arizona and in Philadelphia.
"I think he has a better feel of the overall offense," coach Andy Reid said Thursday. "He's been up every day working, so it's just getting timing down with different receivers. We've got a wide variety of receivers out here and obviously we're a timing and throwing offense. It's just a matter of him getting his timing down."
One of Kafka's advantages is his knowledge of the Eagles' offense. The Northwestern University graduate spent the previous two years learning Reid's version of the West Coast system as taught by Reid, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and quarterbacks coach Doug Pederson.
The 24-year-old endured mixed results as a relief passer last season. When Vick suffered a concussion at Atlanta on Sept. 18, Kafka completed 7-of-9 passes for 72 yards and was a dropped pass away from earning a victory over the Falcons.
The following week, he took over when Vick hurt his hand against the Giants and threw two interceptions in a loss.
He figures to get a lot of playing time in the preseason while the Eagles figure out his future. They could keep him around and cut Edwards or try to trade him as they did with A.J. Feeley and Kolb in previous seasons.
"Right now, I'm just concentrating on these workouts," Kafka said. "But I'm hoping to get some playing time. There's no substitute for being out there on the field in live action.
"That's the best way to improve."
Extra points: The Eagles named former Bills and Steelers executive Tom Donahoe as their senior football advisor as part of some changes to their scouting and personnel departments.
Donahoe was the Steelers' director of football operations from 1991-99 and general manager and president of the Bills from 2001-05.
The Eagles also added Ed Marynowitz as assistant director of pro scouting, Jake Hallum as senior scout, John Middlekauff as West Coast area scout, Dan Hatman as pro scout, Alex Halaby as special assistant to general manager Howie Roseman and Jake Rosenberg as manager of football administration.
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