October 12 Philadelphia Daily News columnist Les Bowen:
“FOR ME, the most interesting thing that happened Sunday night, amid the Eagles’ frantic, frazzled outlasting of the San Francisco 49ers, was Andy Reid’s lecture to the media about Kevin Kolb’s maturation process.
Reid started out taking issue with a questioner who stated the premise that we saw a different Kolb Sunday night than we’d seen previously. I sort of understood why Reid bristled; some of the Kolb criticism, particularly after the Redskins game, was way over the top (more on that later). Reid was rejecting the notion that Kolb suddenly stopped being “scared” or even overwhelmed, in calmly leading the Eagles to victory, despite King Dunlap offering up the worst left-tackle performance in recent memory and Brent Celek frequently fighting the ball and losing.
“With a young quarterback, that’s what you’re going to see – I mentioned that from the beginning,” Reid said. “There’s going to be a maturation process that takes place when he plays. You just don’t step in, in 1 year, and set the world on fire. That’s not how this thing works. That’s the reason why Michael [Vick] moved into that spot – it cuts that maturation process down when another guy is playing as well as Michael is playing.”
Except, just about everybody crowded into that dreary little room under the stands at Candlestick Park understood there was going to be a maturation process when the season started. This year was going to be about finding out whether Kolb could play, and if returns on that were encouraging, about getting him experience toward a Super Bowl run next year and thereafter. It was Reid who changed the parameters by making Vick the starter. Now, we really don’t know what the season is about, especially with Vick still unsigned past this season.
What is Kolb maturing toward, exactly? A trade somewhere after the season? (And how does Vick playing well cut that maturation process down? Kolb matures from watching Vick?)
What we do know is that when Reid casually benched his hand-picked Donovan McNabb successor, he opened the floodgates. The people who wanted to see Kolb fail, because they were angry about how McNabb was treated, or something, were given validation from the head coach. Suddenly, in the popular discourse, Kolb wasn’t just struggling with inexperience and a porous line, he was “scared.” This was as hateful and unfair as all the “puking” scorn directed at McNabb.
Funny, Kolb didn’t look real scared to me when he tucked the ball and sprinted 19 yards up the middle on third and 18 Sunday night. Or in completing the first nine passes of his first-ever road start.
Everybody heard Reid declare afterward that Vick will remain the starter, but Vick is unlikely to play this week against Atlanta. If Kolb plays well and wins again – huge “ifs” – and he still can’t get the job back, the mystery of what this season is supposed to be about will only deepen.
Maybe Andy can explain that in his next lecture.”
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