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Important Game For QBs Vs. Jets

In the 60 minutes that constitute the final preseason game of 2009, the Eagles are going to take every opportunity to connive, cajole, collect and configure an offense that gives quarterbacks Kevin Kolb and Michael Vick a platform for success. If you thought the Eagles would play four quarters of "handoff" football and then high-tail it out of Giants Stadium into the night and, ultimately, into the regular season, you just haven't been paying attention to Andy Reid's Eagles in the last 10 seasons.

Truth is, the Eagles want to see Kolb and Vick in action. Lots of action. In a game that means quite a bit as far as the roster picture goes -- it's fair to say that jobs are up in the air along the offensive and defensive lines, at cornerback, at wide receiver and certainly at linebacker, safety and halfback -- Reid wants to find out as much as he can about his reserve quarterbacks.

Donovan McNabb isn't going to play, and A.J. Feeley isn't expected to, either. Feeley's situation here is uncertain for everyone, but the Eagles know that if he is here this season they have a very, very firm grip on his capabilities. Feeley has had a fine preseason, and he is ready at a moment's notice to play.

Kolb starts this game, which is exciting for him. He'll throw to Jeremy Maclin and Brandon Gibson and Matt Schobel and LeSean McCoy. He has a quality backup offensive line in front of him and a scheme that he knows like the back of his hand. If given a decent amount of time in the pocket, Kolb should have a big, big night.

And it is important that he does so. Kolb's fourth quarter was brilliant against Jacksonville after that first snap when the Jags blitzed Kolb and he was called for intentional grounding out of the end zone and Jacksonville gained two points on the safety. Kolb should have read the blitz and gone to his "hot" receiver and avoided the bad play altogether. After that, though, Kolb was excellent as he led the Eagles to the last-minute victory.

It didn't take long for Kolb to get into his rhythm. He was accurate and the timing on his passes was there and Kolb's throws were extremely catchable. When he has played in the preseason, Kolb has been outstanding in three summers. He has a bright future in this league, wherever that future may be.

"I'm not thinking about that," said Kolb. "I have my focus here, on this game and on this chance. I'm going to go out there and play my best football. That's all I can control."

After Kolb is finished, or maybe during the time he is on the field, Vick will see action. How the Eagles plan to use Vick, of course, we don't know. That he is going to get some sustained work on the field for the first time since December, 2006, is enormously important. Vick did as good a job as could be reasonably expected last week when he completed all four of his passes and ran once for a yard in six snaps with the offense. Vick lined up at quarterback and at wide receiver, providing a glimpse of what is to come for his role in the scheme this year.

Beyond this game, though, we don't know much about where Vick will play for the Eagles, or when. Commissioner Roger Goodell rules soon -- I imagine within the next couple of days, before the roster is trimmed to 53 players on Saturday at 6 p.m. -- on Vick's immediate fate. Goodell said during the time of Vick's reinstatement to the league that Vick would be eligible any time between September 13 for the opening weekend of games to Week 6 of the season. We're all waiting and wondering.

In the meantime, Vick is doing everything right. He is applying himself vigorously in the classroom and on the field. He is working superbly and with tremendous grace and humility within the organization. Everyone who has come in contact with Vick feels that he is thankful for this opportunity to turn his life and his career in the right direction. His team of representatives and the Eagles are making sure to line Vick up in the proper channels within the community.

So far, it has been a great relationship.

On Thursday, we'll get to know Michael Vick, football player, a little bit more. He is going to play the role of traditional quarterback in many instances because the Eagles need to see him in that role .He needs to line up under center and be a true quarterback again, to knock off the rust of two full seasons and then some. He is also probably going to do a little bit of this and a little bit of that as the Eagles explore ways to use him and take advantage of his remarkable big-play ability.

The discovery phase of Vick with the Eagles continues. A good game by both Kolb and Vick would be a great benefit to an Eagles team that should then feel as if its quarterback depth chart is the strongest in the league, bar none. Reid is going to have them out there, tossing the ball around, striking down the field, running the offense.

So, yeah, preseason game No. 4 is big on a lot of fronts. Quarterback is absolutely one of them. Kolb and Vick have a chance to sharpen themselves for the regular season as the coaches watch their every move and evaluate their ability to lead the offense if they need to in 2009.

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