Philadelphia Eagles News

Quarterback Picture Should Soon Have Answers

Everybody wants to know what the Eagles have in mind for Michael Vick, and who is going to be the odd man out in the quarterback scene, and exactly who is going to be the team's starting signal caller in two seasons. Really, folks, there are some times when there are no immediate answers to all of the questions, and this is one of those times.

What we know is this, as the Eagles prepare for preseason game No. 3 on Thursday night, is that Vick is making progress from one day to the next as he works his way back into the way of doing business at the NFL level after two seasons away. What we know is that Vick looks the part when he is dressed in his red (translation: do not touch) No. 7 and that he throws a nice football and that he is moving around as well as a quarterback moves when he knows defenders aren't going to lay a glove on him.

We know that Vick gets the offense, that he is putting in all kinds of extra time to prepare for the season and that his mere presence adds an extraordinary amount of intrigue to the daily life at the NovaCare Complex.

Beyond that ...

It's all day to day. It really is. Vick could very well take some snaps against the Jags, but we aren't going to know that for sure until head coach Andy Reid announces his rotation for the game during his press conference on Tuesday. The Eagles have five quarterbacks on the roster, and about the only sure thing is that there is no chance that all five play in this game.

So all of those questions you have? We have to wait to get some answers. That's the reality.

Still, it's fun to wonder. There is unprecedented quarterback depth here, and you wonder how the Eagles are going to take advantage of all of that talent. It goes beyond Vick's role in the immediate future, or in his long-term situation here. The Eagles always talk about assets and how they can maximize those assets, and here is a prime opportunity to do so.

Keeping four quarterbacks -- and the respectful assumption here is that Temple product Adam DiMichele is the fifth man here and, thus, living on borrowed time on the roster -- is going to be really difficult to do. How many teams have four on their 53-man roster? So let's figure that somebody won't be here in a few weeks when the regular season arrives. Who that player is, and what the Eagles plan to do to trim the talent at quarterback, is something that we're all, obviously, going to watch.

Vick is the central story for most leading into this game, and that is totally understandable. He is a wonderful talent with a troubled recent past who is hoping to get his life and his NFL career back on track. Everybody wants to see what he can do in a live situation, with defenders chasing him, with an offense to run.

But there is also Kevin Kolb to consider. The Eagles are extremely high on Kolb, their first pick in the draft three Aprils ago. A sprained knee kept Kolb out of the opening preseason games, and he could use the work to get sharp for his reserve role this season. Kolb is likely to play at least one quarter of this game and to take many snaps next week against the Jets. He needs to be ready to play and back up Donovan McNabb.

A.J. Feeley has played a lot in the preseason and has looked very good, so he is game ready and as sharp as he has ever been. Feeley would love to play, of course, and he is always ready, but he wouldn't be set back by a night off.

If form holds, McNabb will play close to, if not all of, the entire first half. He needs to get that feel of exhaustion, to test his game endurance just a little bit here. After that, expect Kolb and Vick and that might very well be it for Game 3.

The Eagles need to see Vick play to get a better idea of what they can do with him in the regular season. They tinker with him every day in practice, but they need to see his instincts, his physical skills and his mental discipline when the whistle blows to start the regular season.

Then, and only then, can the Eagles start marching forward with their plans for Vick and for the entire quarterback position. There are some serious questions here, no doubt about it. The Eagles have a chance to work an incredible talent onto the playing field and into the locker room. Vick isn't a plug-in-and-play proposition here. He is a unique talent in a unique position and the Eagles must handle his status with care, with intelligence and with an eye on making the most of a rare, rare opportunity.

This whole deal is day by day, so enjoy it in small gulps. Once Vick plays and shows what he's got, the Eagles' path wlll be more clearly defined and you and I will have the answers to the many, many questions we have.

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