Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFC East [Print without images]

Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Andy Reid makes a knee-jerk decision

By Matt Mosley

Michael Vick
Michael Vick took over as quarterback after a concussion sidelined Kevin Kolb in Week 1.
So the Philadelphia Eagles just spent an offseason selling us Kevin Kolb as their starting quarterback only to pull the plug on him after two quarters and one concussion. At least one newspaper in town had already published a five-part series on the life and times of Kolb. Think of the time they could have saved if they had known about Andy Reid's wandering eyes.

And what must Donovan McNabb be thinking in Washington? It now looks as if the Eagles wanted to replace him with any quarterback not named Donovan McNabb. For once, Reid has played to the team's rabid fan base. I've seen the Internet polls that overwhelmingly said Eagles fans wanted Michael Vick as the starter.

I guess his six quarters of action this season, which have been brilliant by the way, are enough to pretty much derail Kolb's future in the league. Reid, the man who seemed convinced that Kolb was a perfect fit for his West Coast offense just a month ago, now thinks Kolb could use more time on the sideline.

"I actually think this helps Kevin Kolb's maturation process," Reid said. "The future is bright for Kevin Kolb."

Yeah, as long as he can find a head coach he can trust in the near future. Kolb's too gracious to come out and rip Reid, but how can he ever believe anything the man says? There was all this talk about how the Eagles' young players would grow up around Kolb. Those statements meant nothing in the face of Vick's recent play.

It was funny to hear Reid talk about consulting general manager Howie Roseman on this decision, as if he were looking for company in case this move fails. For the record, I agree that Vick probably gives the Eagles a better chance to win in the short term based on his experience and ability to run for his life.

But now the Eagles have painted themselves into a corner with two quarterbacks. Reid said it was a "beautiful thing" to have two quarterbacks this talented, but something tells me one of them doesn't see it that way. Vick is in the final year of a contract that pays him $5.2 million this season. They'll probably have to offer him an extension soon -- especially if he continues to play well.

Kolb is scheduled to make $12.25 million guaranteed this season, which will serve as a nice consolation prize. I think he's a mentally tough kid, but I don't know how any quarterback overcomes this type of demotion. Reid has always made a big deal about starters not being able to lose their positions because of injury, but that's exactly what happened with Kolb.

His concussion opened the door for Vick, who was too much for Reid to resist. It was almost embarrassing to hear Reid pile on the hyperbole regarding the former Falcons quarterback, calling him an "ex-superstar who has regained his abilities."

But wait, there's more:

"Michael Vick is playing out of his mind right now," Reid said. "What a lucky franchise and a lucky head coach I am to have two quarterbacks that I feel that way about. It's unbelievable."

It certainly is unbelievable, but not in the way Reid is describing. This is not a sound decision based on a lot of regular-season games. This is a coach overreacting to a player's performance in six quarters of action. Vick was sacked six times Sunday and there could have been more. This is what happens when you have a shaky offensive line anchored by an inexperienced center who reportedly missed several calls Sunday.

Reid doesn't want to admit this, but he's inserting Vick because he has a better chance of making plays behind a subpar offensive line than Kolb. Of course, Kolb was supposed to be a perfect fit for Reid's offense, which puts a premium on accuracy. That hasn't been one of Vick's strengths, but it's now vogue to say the post-prison Vick may be more effective than the guy who played for the Falcons.

Count me among the skeptics. I don't believe you throw an entire offseason plan in the trash based on two quarters. Reid would have us believe this is more about Vick's brilliance than Kolb's poor performance against the Packers.

In my mind, this is about the Eagles trying to take a shortcut to the playoffs. And I think it's a plan that will blow up in their faces.