PHILADELPHIA - Eagles quarterback Michael Vick is still a ways away from being able to play football again.
Vick, who suffered a concussion against Dallas on Nov. 11, entered Phase 2 of the NFL's five-step concussion recovery program Friday after spending more than a week in the initial phase. He was spotted in the team's weight room at the NovaCare Complex on Friday afternoon, pedaling a stationary bike.
Unless Vick makes dramatic progress over the weekend, rookie Nick Foles will make his second straight start against Carolina at Lincoln Financial Field on Monday night.
Although coach Andy Reid did not rule out Vick for the game Friday, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and several players were talking as if Foles will be in the lineup against the Panthers. Vick, who sat out a 31-6 loss at Washington on Sunday, still must pass a battery of physical and mental exams conducted by head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder and be cleared by an independent neurologist before he will be allowed to play again.
"I'm excited about this ballgame coming up," Mornhinweg said. "The second start for a quarterback is normally a little better than the first one. But we all have to help him. I've got to help him, the (offensive) line has to help him and the receivers have to help him. We've got to cumulatively get it to the next level so Nick can have some success."
Foles wasn't very successful against the Redskins.
The third-round draft pick completed just 21-of-46 passes (46 percent) for 204 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions. He also fumbled twice, though the Eagles recovered both of them.
"I'm hoping I'll be a lot more comfortable out there (against the Panthers)," Foles said Wednesday. "I feel like I learned a lot from the last game. I messed up and I'm not going to make any excuses. I need to get better. I know what I did wrong and I'm going to improve on it."
In six-plus quarters since replacing Vick against Dallas, Foles has connected on 43-of-78 passes (55.1 percent) for 423 yards with one touchdown, three interceptions and a lost fumble. His efficiency rating of 58.9 would rank last in the league, but he doesn't have the necessary pass attempts to qualify.
Foles will have the additional pressure of playing on the national stage of ESPN's "Monday Night Football."
"It's going to be up to us to help keep Nick calm out there," tight end Brent Celek said Friday. "This will be his first start on 'Monday Night Football' and it's going to be important for him to be cool and not think about all the hoopla. I don't think he'll have any trouble with that, though. All the outside stuff didn't seem to bother him at all last game. He was pretty calm and collected out there."
Foles likely will be among three rookie starters on the Eagles' offense against the Panthers, joining right tackle Dennis Kelly and running back Bryce Brown.
Brown, a seventh-round pick, will replace Pro Bowler LeSean McCoy, who sustained a concussion in the fourth quarter against the Redskins and is still in the first phase of the recovery process.
Brown will start a regular-season game for the first time since his senior year at Wichita East High School in Kansas in 2008. He was a freshman backup at the University of Tennessee in 2009, sat out 2010 and played in just one game at Kansas State in 2011 before quitting the team.
"You all know how I feel about Bryce," Mornhinweg said. "My expectations are very high for him. He's very physical, fast, tough and smart. I'm expecting him to do very well. He's a fine player."
Gilyard gone, Salas in
The Eagles claimed wide receiver/punt returner Greg Salas off waivers from New England on Friday and waived wide receiver/punt returner Mardy Gilyard. Gilyard had missed the last three games with a strained hamstring. He served as the Eagles' punt returner against Detroit, averaging 7.5 yards on two returns with three fair catches. Salas caught 27 passes for 264 yards as a rookie with St. Louis in 2011. He was traded to New England on Sept. 1, 2012 and was signed to the Patriots' practice squad. He played in one game for the Pats.
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