Eagles head coach Andy Reid said that Kevin Kolb, and not Michael Vick, will be the team's starting quarterback in Sunday's game against the Jaguars in Jacksonville. Kolb struggled in Week One and suffered a concussion that left him out for the second half of that game as well as in Week Two. In his place, Vick put together six good quarters and appears to have support in the court of public opinion.
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It's more understandable that fans want to see Vick after Sunday's game in which he performed well as a pocket passer and made several escapes from pressure, not as much to scramble but to keep plays alive. It was Reid who implored Vick to be a pocket passer, and the results were very good, even if the Lions' secondary is not a true test.
"Michael did some good things," Reid said Monday. "Like I said (Sunday), I am proud of him. … I am just proud of the way he led the football team yesterday. He made some plays that I thought were unique."
But Reid has stuck to his guns, returning Kolb to the lineup, for obvious reasons. One, is that Kolb is healthy. He has passed every post-concussion test the past few days and is not expected to have any issues leading up to the game. And two, Kolb has spent the summer as the team's starter, and all the team's preparations have been with the idea that he would be leading the Eagles for the next several seasons.
Vick is a free agent and almost certainly will play elsewhere in 2011. Kolb is the guy Reid is banking on. He has to know if Kolb is the right man for the job, and the only way either one will find out is by getting him on the field as much as possible. It's not as if Kolb has a four-to-six-week injury and the Eagles have to go to Vick. With both men ready to go, Reid is going with the long-term solution, even if the immediate results are not to everyone's liking.
Kolb's test will start Sunday at Jacksonville. He has an excellent chance to answer some critics against a group that was carved up somewhat by the Chargers. The Eagles might even have better skill-position talent than the Chargers right now, so the excuses are few. Kolb can't look over his shoulder or worry about getting pulled if he throws a pick or is strip-sacked. Reid has given him a great support system by unquestionably reinstating him as the starter. That kind of confidence in this what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league is rare.
Week Three is a big test, but look one week further. Look who's coming to town: Yep, it's Donovan McNabb, the man Reid dealt away and is still answering questions about. Reid and Kolb will face them all over again immediately following Sunday's game, win or lose. It's a game Kolb must make a statement during in order to silence his and Reid's critics somewhat.