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.