Monday, September 20, 2010
Michael Vick: Kevin Kolb should start
ESPN.com news services
Michael Vick told ESPN on Monday that there should be no quarterback controversy in Philadelphia -- he's OK with Kevin Kolb as the Eagles' starter.
Vick, one day after leading the Eagles past the Detroit Lions with 284 passing yards, two touchdowns and another 37 rushing yards, said in a "SportsCenter" interview that Kolb is the Eagles' "leader" and that he was "OK" being the backup.
Eagles coach Andy Reid said Kolb will be the starting quarterback at Jacksonville on Sunday, despite a pair of impressive performances by Vick.
Kolb has been cleared to practice after missing the second half of a season-opening loss to Green Bay and Sunday's win over Detroit because of a concussion. So he'll start unless he has a setback this week.
Vick still will play in Philadelphia's version of the Wildcat offense. In the first play of the season, he lined up as a receiver.
"I think it's a beautiful situation," Reid said Monday. "I look at it a lot differently than other people look at it. I've got two quarterbacks that can play at a very important position. I'm a happy guy about it. There are a lot of teams that don't have good quarterbacks, ones that they feel like they can win with, and I feel like we can with both of those guys."
A three-time Pro Bowl pick during six seasons in Atlanta, Vick missed two seasons while serving an 18-month sentence in federal prison for his role in a dogfighting operation. He signed a two-year contract with the Eagles before last season, then played sparingly behind Donovan McNabb and Kolb.
Vick was in for a handful of plays in the first half against the Packers. After Kolb went down, he took over under center and was outstanding.
Vick completed 63.8 percent of his passes and posted consecutive games with a passer rating above 100 for only the second time in his career.
His success is the culmination of a long journey back to the NFL for a guy who once was a megastar. Now Vick is a different person and a different player. Instead of being a run-first quarterback, he's learned to become more of a pocket passer. Despite getting sacked six times by the Lions and being under constant pressure, he scrambled mostly to buy time to throw and did it well.
"I'm very proud of him," Reid said. "It's a true testament that if you work hard, you keep your nose clean, good things can happen. And he's worked very hard at doing both those things and I'm proud of the way he led the football team."
Despite throwing for 458 yards and three touchdowns so far this season, Vick said he's fine with his role as a reserve.
"I came into this season and this year as the backup and that's been my mindset," Vick said. "I've been working hard to be reliable whenever I'm needed.
That's the way it is, and the way it's gonna be throughout the season."
Vick also said after Sunday's game that Kolb was the Eagles' rightful starter.
Kolb told the Philadelphia Inquirer on Monday that he needs to show the Eagles and their fans that he belongs as the top quarterback on the team.
"I appreciate [Vick's support], but I got to prove it, too," Kolb said. "That's the competitive nature of everybody. ... Andy's loyal to everybody and he's a trustworthy guy. He does what's right for the team always. And I appreciate the words that Mike has said."
Vick told ESPN on Monday that he's confident that Kolb will deliver for the Eagles.
"I know how good he is, and what he can do," Vick said.
"He's gonna lead us and we're gonna follow," he said.
Kolb started two games in his first three seasons before he became the team's No. 1 quarterback after Donovan McNabb was traded to Washington.
Vick said he hopes to get an opportunity to be a team's top quarterback next season.
"Hopefully, somebody will give me that opportunity [next year] and if they give me that opportunity, they'll get 110 percent," he said.
Middle linebacker Stewart Bradley also sustained a concussion in the opener, and he's been cleared to practice Wednesday. Both players briefly returned before sitting out the second half. They defended head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder and the medical staff's decision to allow them to re-enter.
"I passed all those tests on the sideline immediately after the hit and I felt good until I got back on the field and things started moving fast and all those pre-snap thoughts have to go through your head," Kolb said.
Bradley's re-entry was surprising because he slowly got up after getting hit in the head, staggered a couple of steps and fell flat to the ground.
"You can't just say that because someone was hit hard he has a concussion," Bradley said. "There has to be a test for that kind of stuff and they have those procedures. Concussions have been a hot topic for a long time in this league, especially the last couple of years.
"Rick and his staff use the international concussion data. They're up-to-date on all of the latest stuff. I did seven or eight different things when I came off the field to see if I was OK. I wanted to play. I felt good to play. I wanted to go back in."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.