MIke Vick's The Eagles Starter? Trying to Rationalize The Irrational

Matt Goldberg@@tipofgoldbergCorrespondent ISeptember 23, 2010

DETROIT - SEPTEMBER 19:  Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles scrambles for a first down during the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on September 19, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan. The Eagles defeated the Lions 35-32.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

So, this was the Kevin Kolb era some Eagles fans had attached so much promise and emotion to?

A few preseason starts, one regular season start, two quarters of mediocre play, a concussion, and then an announcement from head coach Andy Reid that Kolb would profit from a fourth season as a backup.

Now that I've had 24 hours to digest this news (granted, the Phillies and other life have fractured my attention somewhat), I'd like to offer my take, and without the use of a slideshow.

However, I will list 14 questions I've been asking myself, and my attempts at cogent answers.

1. Didn't Kevin Kolb look terrible this year? Well, he sure didn't look good.  The man who held the keys to this kingdom for  15 minutes or so struggled in the season opener. Even before the hit that led to his concussion, he looked pretty poor in that first half against Green Bay, and even worse than his 5-10 for 24 yards indicated.  Heck, one of his completions was a tipped pass to OL Mike McGlynn, and he had at least two other interceptions dropped.  But again, this was just one half of one game.

2.  Didn't Michael Vick look great?  Yes. Vick surprised me by how well he played in the second half against Green Bay, and throughout the game in Detroit. He was nimble of foot, threw the ball accurately and made some very good decisions with the ball.

3.  Whatever happened to that old sports axiom that a player should not lose his starting position because of an injury?  There's a reason that this is a sports axiom, because it is not only fair to the player(s) involved, but sticking to this philosophy makes others believe that you not only stand for fairness but that you believe in your plan.

4. Shouldn't Reid be applauded for adjusting his game plan to go with the hot hand (Vick?)  Yes, and no.  It is true that Reid has been accused of being mule stubborn, and he is not known for making great halftime, or other in-game, adjustments. But there is a significant difference between changing it up mid-game to throw off an opposing defense and making what feels like a knee-jerk decision to change who holds the most important position on your team.

5. But what if the players asked for Vick to be their starter? It's terrific that the players have full confidence in Vick, just as they professed full confidence in Kolb.  It's hard for me to believe that Kolb would have lost the confidence of his teammates that quickly. That doesn't make sense to me.  And if the players were wavering in their support of Kolb, that's where Reid should have stepped up and stood by the injury axiom, and his depth chart of just a few days ago?

6. Was the decision made by others above Reid?  Unfortunately, I don't have an insider's perspective on the Eagles' inner workings.  While I'm not a conspiracy theorist (well, I don't believe in the single bullet theory either), I do understand why many other columnists and sports talking heads are asking this question.

7. Should we be upset that Reid announced this on Tuesday rather than Monday?  I'm not that upset about this aspect, although the tone of Andy's remarks did change quite a bit between Monday and Tuesday.  In the final analysis, I'm much more concerned about the decision itself.

8.  But isn't Vick the better quarterback to play behind our shaky offensive line? So far, it seems that way, but didn't the Eagles manage to win 11 games behind that same poor O line last year?  And weren't fans screaming that new Redsklns QB Donovan McNabb took too long to make decisions and held the ball way too long.  Wasn't it just yesterday (almost literally) that everyone felt  that Kolb would make quicker decisions and throw the more accurate short pass than our former franchise QB?  Just asking.

9. But don't you (truthfully) just not like Michael Vick?  Not really the case, but I'll explain quickly.  I loved MV when he entered the league and thought that—even if unconventional—that he was a terrific QB in Atlanta.

Like many others, I was disgusted by the crimes that he committed, but was okay with his getting a second chance. That's in the past, although I would not criticize any Eagles fan who still holds those heinous acts against him and can't root for him.

Now, the offseason Guadalajara nightclub accident where his co-defendant mysteriously got shot has had me shaking my head in disgust—disgusted by his poor judgment (and maybe more), and disgusted that both the Eagles and the NFL just swept it under the rug, and did not even suspend him.

10.  Given your feelings, is that why you're against Michael Vick being named the starter?  No, it's apples and oranges.  Now, the release of McNabb and the way he was "killed" for years by Eagles Nation, and the non-stance on Vick's apparent second-chance violation, has made me much less of an Eagles fan this year, to put it mildly.

But this is the football franchise that I have all but bled for, for many years, and I am also capable of looking at this as (only) a football decision.

11. So why, again, do you oppose this as a football decision?

For three reasons.  A) A player should not lose his starting position due to an injury—an injury that only caused him to miss a game and a half;  B) 2 quarters of Kolb and 6 quarters of Vick is not enough of a basis for such an important decision; C) This year was supposed to be about finding out if Kolb is truly the franchise QB of the future

12. But let me ask you again:  doesn't Reid owe it to his football team to (as he likes to say) "put them in the best position to succeed"?  Yes, but who is to say definitively—based on such small evidence—that Vick does this rather than Kolb?  I also think that Reid  owes it to his players to be a resolute leader that appears to have a smart, winning plan in place.

13. So now what?  Until further injuries or philosophical reversals, it looks like Vick is our starting quarterback and Kolb is the backup.  We shall see how it all turns out.

14.  Don't you have any creative, out-of-the-box thoughts on this?

Sure.  I'm thinking that with the Vick wildcat offense now out of the playbook as a change-up, Andy will need a new wrinkle.

Reid will utilize his relatively immobile QB (Kolb) here and there to keep opposing defenses on-balance.  He'll call it (what else?) the Domesticated Cat.  Would you believe the House Cat?

This has been just another tip from The Other Tip of the Goldberg


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