Source: Nick Foles will start against the Panthers

INQUIRER STAFF WRITER

Nick Foles will make his second consecutive NFL start on Monday night with Michael Vick still recovering from a concussion, a league source said Thursday.

All signs on Wednesday pointed to the rookie quarterback getting the nod once again. Foles took all the practice repetitions as Vick was sidelined once again and unable to partake in any strenuous activity.

Andy Reid said that Vick was still in Phase 1 in the league’s protocol for return from a concussion. The Eagles coach added that Vick was “getting close to Phase 2,” which would involve exercise challenges.

Vick is scheduled to undergo another ImPACT test sometime this week, Reid said. He had one on Monday but he remained below the baseline, according to the Eagles. Once Vick passes the test he will then be examined by team doctor Peter DeLuca and then an independent neurologist before he’s cleared to play.

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  • After Wednesday’s practice, Foles was asked if he would feel more comfortable – if he did in fact start again – after struggling in his debut against the Redskins on Sunday.

    “I hope a lot,” Foles said. “There is a lot to learn from that game: You can’t have turnovers, I missed some throws that you need to hit, accuracy, and just keeping the rhythm of the game.”

    The Eagles haven’t had a rookie quarterback start two games in a row since 1999 when Donovan McNabb finished the season for Doug Pederson. It was Andy Reid’s first season with the team. Some are predicting this will be his last with the Eagles 3-7 and likely to fall short of owner Jeffrey Lurie’s “substantially” better than 8-8 ultimatum.

    While the playoffs are unrealistic, the Eagles are mathematically alive. Still, Reid must decide when Vick returns – which could be next week – if he will stick with his designated starter or go with Foles to show Lurie and the front office what they have with the rookie.

    “I told you before, Michael is the starting quarterback and that’s the way we work it until [he’s healthy],” Reid said Wednesday. “Until he gets healthy then we can’t do anything.”

    Vick has now had two concussions in the last two seasons. He suffered one against the Falcons last September, but returned the following week. He had never missed a game because of a head injury in either the pros or college before Sunday.

    Eagles head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder was asked last Friday if Vick ever had a concussion during his six seasons with the Falcons.

    “I don’t want to go on with what he had in Atlanta because it’s not my records,” Burkholder said. “I have some information from them but it would be inaccurate for me to say how many he had there.”

    Vick has missed seven games since becoming the Eagles’ starting quarterback in Sept. 2010. He has taken many hits this season, more than any other quarterback, according to various sources. Pro Football Focus estimated that Vick endured 70 hits in nine games in just the pocket alone.

    Vick isn’t the only concussed Eagle. LeSean McCoy suffered a concussion in Washington and did not not practice Wednesday. He was also in Phase 1. McCoy’s chances of playing Monday night against the Panthers appeared slim.

    The running’s back’s headaches had subsided by Thursday, a source close to McCoy said. If he can’t go, rookie Bryce Brown will earn his first career NFL start.

    Foles made an assortment of mistakes in his first start, snot all of his doing. The Eagles’ battered offensive line was on its fifth configuration against the Redskins. The same five – left tackle King Dunlap, left guard Evan Mathis, center Dallas Reynolds, right guard Jake Scott and right tackle Dennis Kelly – will start this week.

    “I feel that the line was blocking their butts off,” Foles said. “It’s our job as the quarterback, if somebody does come in, to make guys miss … [and] avoid the sacks and get the ball out.”

    Several of Foles’ receivers dropped passes. He finished 21 of 46 for 204 yards with two interceptions and no touchdowns. Somehow starting receivers DeSean Jackson (two catches for five yards) and Jeremy Maclin (no catches) were hardly part of the offense.

    “That’s just how it happened,” Maclin said. “Yes, there were plays where I felt like I could have gotten the ball, but what receiver doesn’t feel like they can get the ball throughout the course of the game? Hopefully, we can prevent that from happening again.”

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