Sep 132010

Eagles QB Kevin Kolb runs for his life Sunday

September 13 Philadelphia Daily News: 


There, we did it. We found one thing close to what most people expected to see coming into yesterday’s 27-20 season-opening Eagles loss to the Green Bay Packers at Lincoln Financial Field. 

The Birds weren’t supposed to be quite as good as the Aaron Rodgers-led Packers, and indeed they weren’t, a verdict that remained at least a bit uncertain until Andy Reid sent in a Michael Vick run up the middle from the shotgun that Green Bay pounced all over on fourth-and-1 from the Packers’ 42, the first play after the 2-minute warning and the last Eagles‘ snap of the afternoon. 

But seldom has a plucky comeback from 17 points down to lose a close game to a favored opponent seemed less satisfying. The Eagles, who entered the day with their injury ledger completely clean, lost starting fullback Leonard Weaver for the year to an ACL tear early in an absolute disaster of a second quarter, 15 minutes that might have changed the course of the season. 

Later in the second, center Jamaal Jackson, who’d worked so hard to come back from last year’s ACL injury, left the game with a biceps tear that almost certainly will sideline him for the rest of 2010. Then, still before halftime, quarterback Kevin Kolb and middle linebacker Stewart Bradley suffered concussions, even though both initially – and incredibly – were allowed to return to the game. 

It seems unlikely that Kolb or Bradley will play next week at Detroit, though Reid did not speculate. 

The opening of the Kolb era, a little more than 5 months after the Eagles traded Donovan McNabb to Washington, could hardly have gone worse. The Eagles were wearing their classic kelly green uniforms as part of the celebration honoring the 50th anniversary of the 1960 NFL Championship team, but offensively they spent the first half looking more like the Eagles of the late ’60s. 

The fourth-year quarterback was under pressure most of the first half, often forcing passes to an ordinary-looking DeSean Jackson, who didn’t catch any of them, and Kolb couldn’t make a play that would have backed the Packers off. 

Then Vick, his 30-year-old backup, came in and turned the tables in the second half, so completely that you can be sure some elements of the fan base will be clamoring for Vick to take over the job now, whether Kolb recovers quickly or not. 

The money postgame quote came from Vick – the quote that will set the talk-show phone lines humming today: 

“I still feel like I can play at a high level. I feel like if I had been out there for four quarters, maybe we would have had a chance to win the game,” Vick said, after completing 16 of 24 passes for 175 yards, a touchdown, and a 101.9 passer rating. He also ran 11 times for 103 yards, including a 31-yard scramble, making him the third quarterback in NFL history to rush for more than 4,000 yards, along with Randall Cunningham and Steve Young. 

In fairness, the question, from Daily News columnist Sam Donnellon, was couched along the lines of whether Vick felt he’d taken a step toward becoming a starting NFL quarterback again in his most extensive action since 2006, looking, perhaps, to that day when some other team will trade for him. Vick was saying he thought he proved his effectiveness, his value. Vick was not asked if he thought he should be starting ahead of Kolb. But he said what he said, and it sounded like it sounded, and off to the races we surely will go.” 

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