It has been a conversation, or in some circles, a "controversy" raging for weeks: Who is playing quarterback for the Eagles? Who should be playing quarterback for the Eagles? And just how will this complicated picture resolve itself over the course of the rest of the season and into next year? Well, maybe instead of being consumed by the concern, we should follow Andy Reid's lead with the idea that what the Eagles really have is a "beautiful" quarterback situation.
When you take a moment and look around the league, you don't see many teams who have two quarterbacks who are able to go out and function at a high level and run a complete offense and win games. The Eagles have two in Michael Vick and Kevin Kolb, both of whom have won games this season and both of whom put points on the board in their own unique way.
Kolb is on track to start this week, although that picture will clear up as we get closer to Sunday's kickoff against Atlanta. The door is still open for Vick, the starter, to return to the field after suffering his rib injury two games ago. Reid hasn't said one way or the other what he is thinking, and maybe it doesn't matter too much.
Vick, of course, was dynamic in his rise to the starting role. He replaced the concussed Kolb in the second half of the opener against Green Bay and immediately made things happen with his legs and his arm. Vick brought the Eagles back from a huge deficit to the point where they had the ball with a chance to score a touchdown and tie the game. Then Vick lit up Detroit and Jacksonville before suffering his rib injury early against Washington.
Kolb, the deposed starter, replaced Vick in that Washington game and brought the Eagles back to within a leaping catch in the end zone of a comeback win against the Redskins, and then he went out and completed 21 of 31 passes as the Eagles held off San Francisco on Sunday night.
The truth is, both quarterbacks inspire confidence. The Eagles know they can win with either in the lineup, simply because they have won with both quarterbacks this season. The styles are different, obviously, but the Eagles make it work within the scheme of their offense.
At some point, of course, the Eagles need to find some clarity at the position and sort out the details. For now, and for the immediate future, the Eagles are going to play this thing as Reid has said: Vick is the starter when he gets healthy and Kolb is the more-than-capable No. 2.
There is no question that Sunday was important for Kolb. He completed his first nine passes and 12 of 14 in the first half as the Eagles took a 17-10 lead into the locker room. The offense wasn't as effective in the second half, scoring only a David Akers field goal, and the goal is to put together 60 minutes of outstanding football.
Should Kolb start this week against the 4-1 Falcons, he has to defeat a stingy defense that has allowed just 70 points, third-fewest in the NFC. Atlanta has a great scheme, a ferocious pass rush and a lot of team speed. It won't be easy at all on Sunday, no matter who plays quarterback.
Both Kolb and Vick have handled a difficult situation with great class and respect and dignity. It hasn't been easy, but because they have been so professional and team-oriented, the rest of the offense has followed suit and has been responsive no matter who has played the position.
It looks like it will be Kolb on Sunday, but you never know with Vick. There is no doubt that he wants to start against his former team, an appealing angle jeopardized by injury. Reid will update the situation after the team's walk-through on Wednesday.
No matter who it is, the formula seems right for success, as long as the starter has the full week of reps and then stays healthy in the game. The only time this offense has struggled is when there has been an injury in the middle of the game. Take that back: the offense was not productive at all with Kolb starting in Week 1, but who knows what would have happened in the second half? Vick went out and carved up the Packers, and perhaps Kolb would have done the same and we wouldn't have this conversation.
Who knows? An injury-plagued position through five games could have doomed the Eagles out of the gates, but the Eagles instead have turned it into a positive situation. They are blessed to have two fine starting quarterbacks and, as Reid said weeks ago, that is a "beautiful" position to have at the game's most critical position.