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McNabb Left Town, But Controversy Hasn’t: Is this really Kevin Kolb’s Team?

September 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Last week, as a passenger in my friend’s car, talking about our predictions for the Eagles this year, I said I thought Michael Vick would wind up starting at least four or five games for the Birds this season.

The questionable competence of our offensive line led me to believe it would be difficult to keep Kevin Kolb healthy. If Donovan McNabb, with the body of a middle linebacker, couldn’t stay healthy over the last couple years, it didn’t bode well for the more diminutive Kolb.

Sure enough, 30 minutes into the season, Kolb was knocked out of the game, literally, with a concussion. Granted, the injury could be blamed as much on the chemical imbalance of Clay Matthews as the lack of protection, but the bottom line is that it didn’t take long for Kolb to be sidelined.

Now, after Week 1, Michael Vick has already seen significant time on the field as the team leader, not just a gimmick who steps into the game for a hot sec to make the defense play guessing games.

Who cares how he did it? Michael Vick made the Eagles better in Week 1.

So here we are, with the Donovan McNabb hullabaloo behind us, yet this team and its fans have made absolutely no escape from controversy. In fact, it is a multilayer cake of controversy. Not only is there a debate about the starting QB position, but Eagles fans are struggling with the internal dilemma of rooting for Vick.

During one of Vick’s impressive runs for a first down on Sunday, my buddy yelled at the screen “Run you dog killer run! I’m a dog lover, but if you come back and win this game for us, I forgive you for everything!”

For the record, this friend suffers from a similar imbalance as Clay Matthews. Nevertheless, his comments raise an interesting issue.  Might Kolb be on a shorter leash than Vick now?

There’s no question Vick performed admirably. This entire city, as usual, was psyched for Week 1—the beginning of a new era, and a great first week matchup. But the game was beyond lackluster until Vick resurrected it and almost pulled off the improbable comeback.  His play became relevant in a way unseen up to that point in his Eagles career.

He also forced us to wonder if his talents and style of quarterbacking, as opposed to Kolb’s, would be better suited to the circumstances now surrounding this team.

If the initial issue with the offensive line was a sore spot on the Eagles opening-day body, it has now become a full-blown open wound, as Jamaal Jackson and Leonard Weaver are done for the year.  Pass protection is only going to get worse from here, and the question becomes how detrimental that will be to Kolb’s development.

After what we saw in the opening game, it seems Vick’s athleticism and ad lib ability could very well give the Eagles a better chance to win games this season. But many believe this year is not about winning games, it’s about Kevin Kolb getting his shot.

Yet, would it be worth considering a postponement of his development one more year if he’s just going to take shot after shot and not be given much chance to deliver his own?

Is this how the Eagles pictured Kevin Kolb's development?

It could be beneficial to let Vick take the team for now until improvements are made to the O-line. An article I read made an interesting analogy to David Carr’s career in Houston, one which was pretty much derailed before it started because he unsurprisingly couldn’t figure out how to win games with his ass buried in the turf every second.

Vick’s ass moves too quickly for anyone to bury it. On Sunday, he showed he can be a No. 1 QB.  He may have an unorthodox style that many continue to poo-poo, but success is the barometer. I laugh in the face of all those who, even after Sunday’s performance, talk about how the guy can’t be taken seriously as a quarterback in this league.  They say he wasn’t accurate or Green Bay’s defense let up because they were leading. Give me a break. I look around and see Jason Campbell, Derek Anderson and Trent Edwards starting games. Anyone who can’t even as much as equate Vick’s caliber to those guys clearly couldn’t pass the NFL concussion test.

The Packers head coach even said after the game that Vick adds another dimension to the game and called him a dynamic player. They simply had no answer for him—until the very last play.  That I blame on the Birds’ coaching staff for calling the one play that everyone watching the broadcast and everyone in the stadium—including the Packers D—thought was coming.

As much as things have changed for this team, Sunday reassured us the coaching will remain a familiar presence in our Eagles life this year. Play-calling will continue to be suspect, and clock management will continue taking years off our lives. One of the timeouts was literally pointless!!!! The clock was stopped for a measurement and a timeout was still taken!

Andy Reid admitting for the 340th time that he's got to do a better job. When does he plan on actually doing that?

Moreover, Reid and the Eagles brass will not go back on their plan for Kolb this season.  They’ve earned a reputation as the smug team in town, never properly adjusting to new circumstances as they arise.  Honestly, in this case, they probably shouldn’t renege on their commitment to Kolb.  It’s now or never for him. It’s his fourth year in the league, not his first.

If this is indeed the choice, then Vick has to go.  He is too skilled to be a backup. Period. The way Reid has forced his incorporation into “Kevin Kolb’s offense” is the team’s own admission of that.  Vick will get the nod in Week 2 because of Kolb’s injury. If he performs well again and wins the game, his value will be at the highest point it’s been in years. One has to think another team bitten by the injury bug, or an 0-2 start, would be willing to work out a deal for Vick, perhaps for a promising offensive lineman that could step in to keep the bullies off Kolb’s back.

If the metamorphosis of Mike Kafka from third-string to backup is too frightening, the Eagles can surely bring in a free agent veteran who will be a clear No. 2, there in case of injury. But without losing Vick from the playbook, the so-called commitment to Kevin Kolb is a farce.

If types of quarterbacks could be made into smoothies, the veteran scrambler and young pocket passer combo would not be socially acceptable. But for now, the Eagles continue to shove this nauseating concoction down our throats.

It’s a good time for the Eagles to make a choice, but they’ll likely just keep calling timeouts to think it over.

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