PHILADELPHIA - Eagles coach Chip Kelly still hasn't picked a starting quarterback for Sunday's game at Tampa Bay.
And he's apparently in no rush to announce whether Michael Vick or Nick Foles will be leading the Eagles' offense against the Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.
"The good thing is we still have three days to make a decision," Kelly said before Thursday's indoor practice at the NovaCare Complex. "I don't have to make one until 12:59 (one minute before kickoff) on Sunday."
The mystery will be solved once the Eagles know if Vick has sufficiently recovered from a strained left hamstring suffered last Sunday against the New York Giants.
He practiced on a limited basis for a third straight day on Thursday, though his workload gradually increased each practice. He went through only individual drills on Tuesday, participated in seven-on-seven drills Wednesday and added some reps in the team portion of practice on Thursday.
"I feel pretty good, I'm making progress," Vick said after practice. "I feel 10 times better than I did (Wednesday). If I had to, I could play Sunday. I'm preparing as if I'm going to play, but I do that for every game. I don't know what's going to happen. I'm expecting to work out on the field before the game and then we'll make the decision."
A sore hamstring could affect Vick's ability to both execute Kelly's read-option offense and escape Tampa Bay's intense pass rush. The Eagles own the league's top-ranked rushing offense with an average of 186.6 yards per game. Running back LeSean McCoy - the league's leading rusher with 514 yards - is the biggest factor, but Vick has also contributed. He leads all NFL quarterbacks in rushing with 307 yards and on 33 carries.
Even if he is healthy enough to play, it's doubtful he will be at full speed.
"I have to listen to the player and Mike's always been honest with us about how he's feeling," Kelly said. "I talked to him in the weight room (Thursday morning) and he said he felt good. We just have to see what happens. We're not going to put him in harm's way, and we're going to do what's best for the team."
Kelly has no qualms about starting Foles.
The second-year player performed well in relief of Vick against the Giants, throwing a pair of second-half touchdown passes in a 36-21 victory.
"If the opportunity presents itself on Sunday, then I'll be excited to see Nick out there," Kelly said. "I feel like you need two quarterbacks in this league and I feel like we have two quarterbacks. Nick has certainly proven he can be a starting quarterback in this league."
He proved it last season.
When Vick was sidelined with a concussion, Foles took over and wound up starting six games for the Eagles as a rookie last season.
He earned his only victory at Tampa Bay, where he threw two touchdown passes and ran for another in a 23-21 victory. Foles' 1-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jeremy Maclin with no time remaining enabled the Eagles to snap an eight-game losing streak.
"I remember we faced a lot of adversity in that game, but the guys kept fighting," Foles said Thursday. "That's something I'll always remember. Our team's toughness really stood out in that game."
But the Eagles have a completely revamped offense this season.
Upon replacing Andy Reid as coach in January, Kelly scrapped the West Coast offense in favor of the high-energy attack he used at the University of Oregon.
Foles lost his preseason duel with Vick for the starting job, but was still able to pick up the offense and would have little trouble running it against the Buccaneers.
"My mindset all week is that I'm going to start on Sunday," Foles said. "But I always prepare that way, whether I'm starting or coming off the bench or whatever. I'm just going to keep working and progressing and leave it to the coaches to decide who gives us the best oppportunity to win."
Extra points: Safety Patrick Chung participated in Thursday's workout and could get some playing time against the Buccaneers after sitting out two games with a shoulder contusion. Rookie Earl Wolff and Nate Allen are expected to start at safety. Wolff, a fifth-round draft pick, was a college teammate of Bucs rookie quarterback Mike Glennon at North Carolina State.
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