You know the story already. After an offseason of preparation for Kevin Kolb to be the starting quarterback of the Eagles, Michael Vick, his presumed backup, has seized the job by showcasing his once-upon-a-time Pro Bowl skills. Head coach Andy Reid has said that the decision to move forward with Vick, rather than Kolb, has "nothing to do" with Kolb's play and everything to do with Vick's accelerated abilities on the field.
It's hard to argue, considering Vick is 37-of-58 for 459 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and a quarterback rating of 105.5 (fourth in the league) in his six quarters as a starter. But the move was still a stunner, only because of the perceived dedication to Kolb. So, is there any kind of precedent for such a move?
"Maybe the closest one was the (Arizona) Cardinals situation," Reid told Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro when he went inside the studio on Tuesday night. "The veteran player might be the same guy - who had been a great player and was kind of climbing back - you could find some similarities there. The difference is my feelings and the relationship with my number one guy, that's Kevin. I know how good he's going to be and it's very important that I keep his best interests in mind, Michael's best interests in mind and the football team's best interests in mind."
Reid is referring to the 2007 and 2008 seasons, when a former Pro Bowl quarterback, Kurt Warner, supplanted a young, top-10 draft pick in Matt Leinart. Leinart had been given the job in '07, but he missed several games due to injury, allowing Warner to impress in his stead. The following year, Warner won the job in training camp and would go on to the lead the team to Super Bowl XLIII.
Luckily, there's a player in the Eagles locker room who can compare the two situations.
"I think you have to take each situation as it is," said offensive lineman Reggie Wells, who spent the first seven seasons of his career in Arizona before getting traded to the Eagles only a month ago. "That situation in Arizona, it happened over a longer period of time. Matt had been through injuries, Kurt had battled through injuries and things like that, to the point where it was in actually in (training) camp as an open competition. It wasn't something that happened during the course of season, so you can't really compare the two. Really look at it and see who's the best fit for the team at that time. Whoever coach thinks it is, that's who you go with."
Wells, like Reid, made sure to underscore the difference between Kolb and Leinart, who ended up getting released by the Cardinals prior to the final cutdown day this summer.
"I wouldn't compare Kevin to Matt or vice-versa," Wells said. "They're two different players at two different stages of their career. I think when you compare it like that, you tend to give it a negative tone just because it didn't really work out in Arizona like a lot of people thought it would work out.
Vick and Kolb "are two talented guy and probably every team would want to have one or the other on their side; so we're blessed to have that option to be able to pick who it's going to be and just go from there."
So while the two quarterback shuffles aren't quite the same, the Eagles can still hope to get to ride the same wave to Super Bowl, and, perhaps, clear that final hurdle.
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 11:30 a.m., September 25