Fans in Philadelphia are sweating right now. After two impressive starts, Michael Vick left Sunday's game against the Redskins to a rib injury.
Some Eagles fans may be pining for Donovan McNabb. Some may be worried about Vick's long term status. I'm here to say fear not Philly fans, this injury may be a blessing in disguise.
You may not like Michael Vick for his off-field discretions, but any football fan can enjoy watching Vick on the field. He's unlike any quarterback in NFL history. He's got a rocket arm and a sprinters legs. He's quick, agile and elusive.
Only one problem. Scrambling QB's don't win championships. Looking back at the best mobile quarterbacks, none of them have done damage in the post-season. Not Randall Cunningham. Not Fran Tarkenton. Not anybody.
In fact, due to Vick's scrambling nature, he led the league in sacks taken going into the weekend (although Cutler shot past him during last night's affair). Vick's an exciting player and a dynamic athlete; but don't expect any rings from him.
At 26 years old, Kevin Kolb is the future of the Philadelphia Eagles. He's 6'3 with a terrific arm and good chemistry with his young receiving core. He's an accurate passer who the Eagles brass trust entirely.
In fact, they trust him so much that they shipped Donovan McNabb to a division rival over the off-season. Similar to the situation Aaron Rodgers inherited, Kolb is trying to replace a legend and it may take some time. Imagine if Rodgers was replaced when he struggled early. Like in his fourth game when he threw three interceptions against Tampa Bay.
Fans may have questioned whether or not Rodgers was the right man for the job, but three years later, he has established himself as one of the league's premier passers. Is Kolb the next Rodgers? Maybe not, but there's only one way to find out...let him play.
Before Philly fans go searching for a bridge or tall building to jump off, take a deep breath and step back off the ledge. Kolb was your opening day starter, and even though Vick filled in admirably, the plan was always to have Kolb behind center.
Despite Vick's production, this latest development has allowed the Eagles to return to their opening day strategy. Maybe that's not a bad thing.
The Jacksonville Jaguars allow 27.8 points per game -- good for third worst in the league. The Lions? Sixth worst at 26.5 per game. Consider the fact that the Packers game-planned for Kolb and not Vick and you realize MV7 was the beneficiary of a weak schedule.
Putting up points against the Jags and Lions is like beating your kid brother in one-on-one. Glad you won, but are you really going to brag about it? If Kolb had gotten the call against the Lions, I'm sure he would have approached the three hundred yard mark. Likewise against the Jaguars, who by the way are allowing over 300 passing yards per game.
Vick has looked good, I will admit that. But then again, against that competition you'd be hard pressed to struggle.
As a rookie running back, LeSean McCoy split carries with an oft-injured Brian Westbrook. On the season he managed 155 carries for 637 yards and four touchdowns.
This season, his improvement has been readily apparent. McCoy's yards per carry are up from 4.1 to 5.5, he has already equalled his touchdown count, and he's already more than halfway towards his reception figures from a year ago.
In short, McCoy is primed for a breakout season, that is, if the Eagles decide to feed him the rock. McCoy has 50 carries in four games as the premier back -- good for a measly 12.5 carries per game.
With Vick out of the picture, McCoy should see his carries increase exponentially, and the running game can flourish. That way when Vick comes back, the offense will have added an entirely new dimension.
The Eagles are sitting on a 2-2 record, putting them in a three way tie for first place in the NFC East. With tough non-divisional games against San Fran, Atlanta and Tennessee scheduled before their bye, there is a lot of pressure on Kolb.
For such a young quarterback, these could be defining games. Will Kolb rise to the opportunity? Or will he fall flat on his face? As the franchise quarterback, it is important to see how the young gun handles adversity.
If he fails? Perhaps the experiment is over and Vick will retake the keys to the offense. But if he succeeds, you have a young and mentally tough quarterback for years to come. If I'm a member of the Eagles brass, I'm excited to see if my young QB is ready for the big time.
Kevin Kolb is 26 years old. Since being drafted out of Houston in the second round of the 2007 draft, Kolb has played effectively albeit sparingly.
In two starts last season, Kolb threw for 391 and 327 yards respectively. If you keep shuffling him back and forth from the bench to the field, you're bound to stunt his growth. We've already seen that Kolb has the skills to be a top-tier NFL quarterback. Now he just needs the opportunity.
A year on the bench behind Michael Vick would do KK4 no good. You don't learn much watching a player who thrives when improvising. You learn when you watch somebody who controls the line of scrimmage through audibles and hot routes.
Players don't improve sitting on the sideline, they learn by doing. Don't stunt Kolb's growth, let him do his thing.
When Michael Vick was brought in, a large reason was for his value in the wildcat formation. Miami's success with this formation made other teams look for ways to exploit it, and Vick seemed the perfect fit.
He can run like a halfback, but has the added advantage of a howitzer hanging off his left shoulder. When Vick returns from injury, his added experience as a starter will give the team confidence in their wildcat formation.
Adding a dangerous wrinkle to an already dangerous offense could make the Eagles tough to beat moving forward.
Does anybody remember what happened to the Steelers a few years back? Some kid named Ben Roethlisberger took over as the starting quarterback and the defense was enraged.
They wondered how they would win with this rookie quarterback at the helm. That season, the defense stepped up and the Steelers went on to a 15-1 record.
Are the Eagles bound to repeat history? Probably not, after all, they already have two losses. But with all the attention on the offense, now seems like a perfect time for the Eagles defense to step up.
With play-makers like Asante Samuel, Nate Allen and Trent Cole, this defense could surprise people. They just need the right motivation.
Lost in the shuffle of Vick's production is the fact that Kevin Kolb is a far more accurate passer than the former Falcon QB. For all the excitement Vick brings to the field, he doesn't have the vision and precision passing of the younger Kolb.
Although tentative against the Redskins, Kolb is an extremely deft passer as evidenced by his career 61% completion percentage. Vick's injury may hurt right now, but Kolb is the better long term solution.