Head coach Andy Reid made one of the toughest decisions of his 11-year tenure with the Eagles: trading Donovan McNabb to the Redskins and turning to Kevin Kolb. But Reid believed it was time to make the change for many reasons, and he's not about to go away from it now, even with Kolb nursing a concussion from Sunday's game. Michael Vick, who was strong in Kolb's place, might believe he's best suited to start, but Reid wisely has said he'll go back to Kolb when he's healthy.
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Kolb took snaps with the first team the entire offseason and has been groomed to take this job for the next five years minimum. A slow preseason and a rough debut — the Eagles had zero passing yards through the first 28 minutes — are not going to change that. When he's medically cleared, he's the starter.
Of course, the fact that Vick played so well complicates the matter slightly. Vick came in for Kolb in the second half, and with the benefit of receiving extended reps in practice, was able to come alive with 175 yards passing and 103 rushing for the game. The extra work he gets by being a specialty-play QB on this team helped get him ready to play on such short notice.
Vick was solid but did make mistakes. He should have run (how often do we say this?) on a 3rd-and-goal when the Eagles were down 27-17 in the fourth quarter. He had a clear running lane and Nick Cole paving the way in front of him; it would have been a clear touchdown, it appeared. Instead, the Eagles settled for a field goal to cut the deficit to a touchdown. Vick also was stopped short on the game-clinching 4th-and-1 the first play after the two-minute warning and Green Bay was able to kneel down to run out the clock.
There also were some throws Vick misfired on where there were plays to be had. But all in all, it was an excellent relief appearance.
It's not hard to understand why Vick was so confident. "I feel like if I was out there for four quarters, we might have had a chance to win," he said.
But he should know he'll return to the bench when Kolb is ready to go. How long of a leash will Kolb get? I think fairly lengthy. So far, he has had one half of bad football, something every starting QB had at some point last season — and it came against one of the league's top defenses from 2009. Reid has invested way too much in him, and benching his starter could have drastic effects, especially if McNabb does well in Washington.
The key date now is Week Four. As if the first Eagles-Redskins matchup of the season wasn't hyped enough already. If Kolb is back and plays well, it will go a long way toward silencing the suddenly vocal critics.