September 22 Philadelphia Daily News:
“Here’s Andy Reid on Monday, Sept. 13, when asked about the possibility of Michael Vick supplanting Kevin Kolb as the Eagles’ starting quarterback: “That’s not what’s happening . . . Well, let me say it again. I know I’m using poor English. Kevin Kolb is the No. 1 quarterback.”
Here’s Andy Reid on Tuesday, Sept. 21: “I’m obviously here to announce that Michael Vick will be the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles.”
In what might have been the most unReidlike turnaround of the Reid era, the Eagles’ coach announced yesterday evening that he was drawing the curtain over those careful plans he made to have Kolb succeed Donovan McNabb, at least for now. Vick’s play has been so impressive in six quarters of work, since Kolb suffered a concussion in the opener against the Packers, that Reid feels he must go with the hot hand, he said.
“This isn’t about Kevin Kolb’s play at all,” Reid said. “You’re talking about Michael Vick as one of the best quarterbacks right now in the National Football League, and I think that’s the important thing to focus on.”
As good as Vick has been – Reid pointed out that he is the NFL’s fourth-ranked passer, with a 105.5 rating, after 2 weeks – it is only 2 weeks. Kolb was the Eagles’ starter for 2 weeks a year ago, and he became the first QB in NFL history to throw for more than 300 yards in each of his first two starts. Yet Reid did not make Kolb the starter then, ahead of McNabb. Kolb’s passing numbers in those games: 55-for-85, 718 yards, four touchdowns, three interceptions. Vick’s numbers this season: 37-for-58, 459 yards, three TDs, no interceptions.
Reid said last night that the difference is, Vick had a much greater previous body of work than Kolb; presumably, that means Reid feels he can be sure he will get more performances like Sunday’s, when Vick survived a porous offensive line to lead the Birds to a 35-32 victory at Detroit. Though Reid did neatly avoid efforts to get him to say last night that Vick had the job for the rest of the season.
Outside Philadelphia, where most people know Vick as a former superstar and think Kolb’s name is pronounced “Cole-ub,” this has been the direction the Eagles seemed likely to take from the time Kolb’s first incompletion fell to the Linc turf. If you know Reid, if you followed the team’s painstaking decision process in trading McNabb, then signing Kolb to a contract extension through 2011 that included a $10 million-plus signing bonus, if you followed everything Reid said about Kolb through the spring and summer, then this is stunning.
“Are you sure, or are you just messing with me?” wideout DeSean Jackson asked, when the news broke during his weekly segment on Comcast SportsNet’s “Daily News Live.””
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