My Reaction. I don't like the move. There are a number of reasons for this. Here are 3 factors that are the focus of my opinion:
1. After 2 games, I don't think the 2010 Eagles look like a Super Bowl team.
2. Kevin Kolb is (was?) the future of the franchise at QB. He is a mystery and will be until he plays.
3. Vick is the better player now, but I don't trust him long term so no matter what he does this year I will never truly be comfortable with him as "the guy".
Trust. We'll start with that last point since I'm sure it won't sit well with everyone. Michael Vick isn't the same guy who went to federal prison several years ago. Everything I'm told behind the scenes is that what you see on the surface is legit. He's truly a changed man. But...I still don't trust him. Not in the sense of making him the center of my franchise. Vick is a free agent at the end of the season. If he has a great year for us Vick will want a big contract. How do we handle that?
I'm not against Vick getting money in some moral sense of things. We always talk about an important test being how people handle adversity. Just as critical is how people handle success. One of the things that has humbled Vick is not being filthy rich. Yeah, he's living a lifestyle I'll never know, but not like he did 5 years ago. Vick owes money to creditors. I'm sure that is a huge concern for him. If he gets a big deal and can pay off his bills and relax about money...will that change him? We all know that many players peak in contract seasons. They focus more. They work harder. Then they get a huge bonus and lose just a little bit of the edge. They skip a workout to watch The Unit marathon on the Sleuth Network while eating chocolate pudding. They put down the playbook and pickup Bury Me In My Jersey (where the hell is the sequel Tom?). They pass on watching tape to listen to some Level 42. These incidents are only occasional. But they add up and soon you don't have the same player that you gave 40-million-hundred dollars to.
Tom Brady reminds himself every summer that he was just a 6th round pick. That keeps him humble. (Then he glances at Gisele on the way to the car and loses his edge. Slacker.) Peyton Manning seemingly has no personal life. Maybe he looks at a picture of Brady. I'm not sure what Drew Brees does, but it works. All 3 players have shown that they can handle success.
The old Vick didn't handle success well. The new guy is a mystery. Maybe he's completely grounded and so hungry to prove himself that he will stay 100% focused. We don't know and that means that I don't trust him as the future of the franchise. As the "present of the franchise"...fine.
But that means that Kolb may be the starter in 2011. At that point he'd be facing the same questions that he did this summer? He will be a year older. Maybe wiser too, but still a mystery on the field. We'll go into another season uncertain about what will happen. The way to avoid that is to play Kolb now. Vick is the hotter QB right now, but in my mind you need to think big picture. Andy always did that in the past. This move really has me confused. Who kidnapped Big Red?
Good Vick, Bad Vick. Right now Michael Vick is 4th in the NFL with a QB rating of 105. He's playing very well. He's fun to watch and the offense is clicking. Life is good. What happens when he does struggle? All QBs have a bad game. Vick is going to have some game when we all yell at the TV "Get that bum outta there and put in Kolb!!!". Andy won't. He'll stick with the starter, as he should. If Vick struggled the next week...what happens? If he has 3 bad games in a row, do we move to Kolb? Riding the hot hand is logical, but it opens the coach up to a dangerous situation because now the coach is making moves based on short term performance. Andy can no longer play the "that's our plan" card and have it believed. As Derek pointed out, the most dangerous thing is what happens if Vick is pedestrian. Good Vick should stay the starter at this point. Bad Vick (several games) should lose the job. Up and down Vick will create a controversy where half the world says bench him and half says give the guy a chance to work his way back into a groove.
What Does This Move Mean? Let's start with a point I wish I didn't have to make. This move has nothing to do with Donovan McNabb. The Eagles made that deal in the spring because they weren't committed to him long term and felt Kolb was the way to go. The team was comfortable with their backup QB as well, Mike Vick. Kolb and Vick were both up and down in the preseason. Kolb started slow against the Packers and got hurt. That opened the door for Vick to play. Last year he threw 13 passes all year. Nobody knew what to expect of him. The guy we've seen on the field in the last 6 quarters has thrown 58 passes and played at a high level. Nobody saw this situation coming.
The move isn't a slap at Kolb. This move is about one player - Vick. Andy said that he's playing "out of his mind". That's high praise. While I disagree with the move, there is definite logic to it. Andy doesn't just see a QB doing well. He sees a guy who looks like a Pro Bowl player. My argument of course is that 4 of the 6 quarters were against a Lions team that Jay Cutler shredded. Andy does know infinitely more about QBs than I do and he sees potential greatness.
As for Vick...think about what he is right now. We've got the running of McNabb from 2000-03 and the passing of 20004-09 built into one QB. We got to see Donovan run. We got to see him throw. We never got both at the same time. Vick does have incredible potential. He's worked hard to become a well-rounded QB. He's still got room to grown, but he has already made great strides. He's a more polished passer than I ever saw in Atlanta. This isn't the run around and feed Alge Crumpler guy we watched in the early part of the decade.
Super-Toys Last All Summer Long. A fear of mine is that Andy can't resist temptation. He loves gimmicks. Why have just a QB when you can have a weapon? Get versatile skill players. DeSean Jackson ran the ball 24 times in his college career. Jeremy Maclin ran the Wildcat at Mizzou. LeSean McCoy ran the Wildcat at Pitt. Vick is the ultimate run-pass threat in the NFL. With Kolb under Center you've got a conventional QB and offense. With Vick, you can do a million different things.
Lightning In A Bottle. The
Rams lost QB Trent Green in the preseason finale in 1999. Kurt Warner
took over and the rest is history. Drew Bledsode was knocked out by Mo
Lewis in a game in early 2001. Some kid named Tom Brady took over and
the rest is history. What if Vick can do something like that for us?
Teams win championships because they have the right QB at the right time
for that team. Do you think the '85 Bears win the SB with Dan Marino
in place of Jim McMahon? I don't. The Bears needed Jimmy Mac. Could
Marino have been satisfied with feeding the ball to Walter Payton? You
need the right guy. Maybe Vick is that guy for us.
Kolb Available? I still believe strongly that Reid believes strongly in Kevin Kolb. As I said earlier, this move is about Vick, not Kevin. That said, do you consider trading Kolb if some desperate team like BUF or CLE makes an offer? This is where Andy is juggling hand grenades to a certain extent. Yeah, its great to have 2 QBs, but it also isn't. You have to deal with all kinds of questions because you aren't 100% committed to anyone. There is a great episode of M*A*S*H where Hawkeye and Trapper go looking for an incubator. They find a supply guy at another unit who has 3 of them. They ask what he wants in trade. The Sgt. says that none of them are available. Hawkeye and Trapper are baffled. Why not? The response is so Reid-ian. If I give you one and then one breaks down I'll only have one unit left. Where would I be then? Andy is trying to have it both ways right now. He's committed to Kolb and Vick. If one gets hurt, he's got the other one to fall back on. That's logical, but it also leaves you vulnerable to QB controversies and situations like we're in where you show that you're not settled on one guy. We'll find out how good a juggler Andy is.
Kolb’s Future. Andy says that this move can be part of Kevin’s
maturation process. Ummm…okay. Maybe. I’m not so sure though. Kevin
has proven he can sit and wait. He did that for 3 years. I guess we’ll
see how Kevin responds to being benched, if that it what you really
call this. I’m a firm believer that struggle is good for QBs. Look at some players who had to fight for their jobs. Really fight.
Troy Aikman vs Steve Walsh = 3 SB rings
Terry Bradshaw vs Joe Gilliam = 4 SB rings
Roger Staubach vs Craig Morton = 2 SB rings
Steve Young vs Joe Montana = 1 SB ring
Tom Brady vs Drew Henson = 3 SB rings
Other QBs like Kurt Warner, Brad Johnson, and Trent Dilfer all won titles with at least their second team. Warner was in his third league when he won the SB. He was in NFL Europe and also spent time in the Arena league prior to being a star for the Rams. Brad spent time in NFL Europe as well.
Part of the point in all this is that if you have the mental toughness and intestinal fortitude to make it through tough situations you will be ready for big games. Look at a guy like Philip Rivers. He was a 4-year starter in college. He was a star in HS. He sat behind Brees for 2 years in San Diego and then got the job. He has proven to be a good player, but not in the postseason. Rivers has a career rating of 96.2 with 111 TDs and only 47 INTs. In the playoffs he is 3-4 with 8 TDs and 9 picks. His rating is 79.2. Those numbers would tell you that Rivers doesn’t handle tough situations very well. He sure doesn’t lack talent or skill.
If Kevin can come out of this with his head right, maybe it will make him a better player. Maybe. Will he still be an Eagle? Maybe.
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This isn't the last I'll be writing on the subject so ask away if there is something you feel I overlooked.