Philadelphia Eagles News

Stunning Move Makes Sense For Eagles

There is no secret agenda, no hidden reasons. Andy Reid thought about the quarterback position since the moment the 35-32 win over Detroit ended, putting in perspective what he had just seen: Michael Vick was brilliant. He played the quarterback position in the face of a huge pass rush about as well as it could be played, and that is why Vick is the starting quarterback for the Eagles moving forward.

It was a stunning move and nobody -- literally -- saw it coming. Reid made this decision start to finish and then went down the line and told those involved in the choice: both quarterback, Vick and Kevin Kolb, his coaching staff, general manager Howie Roseman, Jeffrey Lurie, Joe Banner. Then, and only then, did Reid go public with the call: Vick is the starter, no questions asked.

"He is playing exceptional football right now," said Reid. "I think that is obvious to everybody."

No doubt about that. Vick was masterful on Sunday, completing 21 of 34 passes, tossing a couple of touchdowns, protecting the football, running the football when he had the opportunity for 37 yards and making the offense explosive from everywhere on the field. Coupled with Vick's outstanding second half against Green Bay, well, Reid just couldn't look past the obvious.

There are so many aspects to this move that are worth discussing. First of all, Vick deserves an enormous amount of credit for his development, not only from his run-to-daylight days in Atlanta but from the way he has improved as an Eagle since he signed on last August. And beyond that, Vick has grown by leaps and bounds since the preseason, when he was uneven in his time on the field and far too prone to turnovers.

When the lights went on in the regular season, Vick turned it up to another level. He was brilliant in Weeks 1 and 2 and, yeah, he earned the right to start.

At the same time, the Eagles believe very strongly in Kolb, who has waited for three-plus seasons for his chance to start. He didn't play well in the first half of the Green Bay game, but then again, nobody on offense played well. Kolb was KO'd late in the half and missed last week's game and in that time Vick simply dominated the quarterback position.

Reid was asked over and over again about Kolb and about the future with him here and each time he repeated what he truly believes: "The future is bright for Kevin Kolb."

The Eagles, though, are in better hands at this moment with Vick at the helm. Reid has brought along many quarterbacks and he has a gift for his relationship with that position. There is an instinctive trust factor here with Reid and how he handles the quarterback spot. It is a dual challenge now: Keep Vick playing at a high level and continue to develop Kolb, keep his confidence up and make sure he gets better every day in practice.

Give Reid credit here, whether or not you agree with the move: He is the boss. He makes the tough decisions, and this one ranks among the most difficult he has made in 12 seasons as the head coach here.

"Listen, I think I had to make this decision. I've had the full support of the front office. I counseled with Howie Roseman today and bounced some things off of him, but the first person I met with on this decision was Kevin Kolb. That's the first person I talked to," said Reid. "And I met with him the last two days, and we shared thoughts. He's a young quarterback that I think the sky's the limit for. He's just in a situation where he's got an ex-superstar that now has regained his abilities, and it's really that simple. Michael Vick is playing out of his mind right now, and that's a beautiful thing. What a lucky franchise and a lucky head coach I am to have two quarterbacks that I feel that way about. I mean, it's unbelievable.

"I will tell you, though: Kevin Kolb would like to be the starting quarterback of this football team and I wouldn't expect anything less. This is one of the most competitive kids I've been around. He wants to be out there and he wants to play and his day will come here."

Why did Reid announce the decision on Tuesday rather than on Sunday after Vick's great game? Because he didn't know at the time, honestly, and because when he was asked by the media about what would happen next he gave the answer to buy time until he knew for sure. What else could he say? Could he admit that Vick's play gave him pause about who would start in Jacksonville? Can you imagine the uproar in and out of the locker room that would have caused?

Does this move mean that the Eagles are committing to Vick beyond 2010, or even four, five or six weeks down the line this year? I don't think so. Things happen quickly in the NFL. Head coaches have to approach every day with an open, honest mind. They have to, as Reid said, "evaluate" constantly. Vick is the guy now and hopefully he will continue to develop his skills and his instincts and take this team to great heights?

Have the Eagles given up on Kolb? No, not at all. He is in what Reid called "a maturation process" as a quarterback and things aren't always going to go as planned. Good thing the Eagles had Vick so well coached and so prepared when Kolb suffered the concussion against Green Bay.

Did the Eagles see things in Kolb throughout the preseason and in that one half that caused alarm, that made them think about promoting Vick? I don't know about that. Neither Kolb nor Vick played particularly well in the preseason, so you could call it a wash there. Judging Kolb in the first half against Green Bay is largely unfair. The entire offense struggled.

The very simple, and yet very complicated, reason for the move was that Vick performed so well, that he so exceeded everyone's expectations that he deserved to stay in the saddle. It was Reid's call all the way. How it impacts the locker room, how it impacts Kolb in the weeks and months and years to come, hey, stay tuned.

Now the Eagles have to generate some momentum and put together a great game plan for Vick to execute on Sunday. And then it will be up to him and the rest of his offensive mates to make it work. The Eagles really need a road win here against a team that plays very well at home.

Things just incredibly quickly in this league, don't they? Michael Vick is the starting quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles. That's what Reid announced. It isn't a one-week deal. It isn't for a pre-determined period of time. He is the starter.

Reid made the call and he stood up on Tuesday night and told everybody why. Vick, plain and simple, took advantage of playing time and wowed everybody.

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