Did Andy Reid Use Donovan McNabb's Injury as an Excuse to Play Kevin Kolb?

Bob Cunningham@BCunningham215Senior Analyst IApril 9, 2010

When Donovan McNabb got hurt in Week 1, most of Philly cringed at the thought of Kevin Kolb becoming the starter. I think even most Kolb supporters were very uneasy about the notion of Kolb starting and finding a way to lose both of those games due to his inexperience.

The reports were mixed as to whether or not McNabb would be able to play against the New Orleans Saints the following week, but McNabb felt like he could play and most, including Brian Westbrook, thought he would play. Westbrook even went so far as to say there's "no way" McNabb would miss any time.

However, as we all know, that was not the case. Andy Reid kept saying he wanted to see McNabb's rib get "sticky" before he inserted him as the starter again. McNabb, by most accounts, was ready to go but Reid refused to let him back until he was fully healed.

This could just have come as a result of Reid's faith in Kolb to full in for McNabb during those two weeks and a way of protecting McNabb for the rest of the season, but is it possible that Reid wanted Kolb to play as a way of seeing what he truly had in his young quarterback?

Think about it: Reid had gotten to see Kolb play in the preseason and every day at practice, but outside of throwing him to wolves in Baltimore back in '08, he never got to see him in a true game situation.

He was never able to see how his former second-round draft pick would perform when it was game-time and everything was on him. Now, with McNabb's injury, he was afforded that chance.

So, instead of allowing McNabb to come back and fight through the pain like he wanted to do, he used the whole "We want you 100 percent before you come back" shtick to keep McNabb on the bench and get some starting experience for Kolb.

This, I believe, could have been the deciding point in what Reid was going to do with his quarterbacks at the end of this season.

I'm sure he understood that McNabb gave his team the best chance to win in the 2009 season, and that sitting him would kill his trade value, but watching Kolb start those two games could have shown Reid all he needed to see in order to make his decision.

He still might believe that McNabb is the better quarterback (that, to me, is obvious), but the games showed him that Kolb has what it takes to develop into the same caliber of player that McNabb is and was.

Had Kolb gone out and looked terrible, is McNabb sitting in Washington right now or is Kolb jettisoned off to a quarterback-needy team like the Buffalo Bills for a conditional mid-round pick?

Again, it could have been exactly what Reid said it was and nothing more than a way of protecting McNabb for the long haul, but it's certainly got to make you wonder what Reid was thinking and exactly how long this move had been in motion.