Vick starting for more reasons than one

By MATTHEW WATERS
Staff Writer — mwaters@highhopesblog.com

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Vick is in, Kolb is out as starting QB. But what's the reasoning behind the decision? Matthew Waters explains. (Photo: AP)

Andy Reid made the decision that everyone knew was right but no one expected Tuesday night when he announced Michael Vick would be the starter for the Philadelphia Eagles for the rest of the season. He raved about his performance and assured the media it had nothing to do with Kolb’s injury and Vick won the job outright. While I couldn’t agree more, there’s a couple other reasons the decision was made which he didn’t mention.

First, the offensive line is offensive to watch. ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio reported that the Eagles’ decision makers got together Monday morning to watch tape about how the line performed, and needless to say no one left happy. Vick was sacked five times on Sunday, which is unbelievable for someone with his mobility. Yes, he did hold on to the ball a little too long and didn’t always get through his progressions, but you can’t blame five sacks on him. What’s more, and what was clearly in the though process of the Eagles, if Philly’s offensive line can’t protect Vick from Detroit they definitely can’t protect Kolb from anyone, especially the defensive lines in the NFC East. Concern for Kolb factored into the decision I’m sure, but the fact that Vick has the ability to scramble and run for serious yards sealed the deal on this one.

The fact that this meeting happened means the decision was not solely Reid’s to make, as he told the press Tuesday night, which was obvious because he wouldn’t have changed his mind overnight from definitely starting Kolb on Monday to definitely starting Vick on Tuesday. He said that he had the full support of general manager Howie Roseman, which in “Reid Speak” probably means “Howie Roseman told me to do this.”

The fact that management stepped in means a couple different things. First, the division has gotten off to a weak start and there seems to be a chance to seize a playoff spot in what many considered a rebuilding year. But just because the division looks shaky doesn’t mean all the teams do, and one team in particular has played two great games: the Washington Redskins.

Donovan McNabb passed for 426 yards and a touchdown for a 119.0 passer rating in their Sunday loss to the Houston Texans, which is exactly how the Eagles did not want him to perform. Philly fans were relieved to see McNabb leave, believing that the well was dry and he’d taken the Eagles as far as he could. With McNabb completing passes instead of throwing worm balls, especially on fade routes with which he consistently struggled in Philly, the front office could look pretty bad decision-making wise should he come back in week four and light up Lincoln Financial Field in ways they only dreamed were possible.

At least with Vick under center they have their own exciting, dynamic player that can hurt you on the ground or through the air and is fighting to once again be recognized as a top quarterback in the NFL. Kolb didn’t seem to portray the same passion as Vick has, since Kolb was handed the job after McNabb left and many weren’t expecting much in his first year anyway.

It’s hard to disagree with Vick as the starter over Kolb. Some fans feel Kolb is entitled to his fair chance as the starter, but Reid let his emotions get in the way with McNabb’s trade to Washington instead of Oakland, so the fact that this move is being treated as a business decision is a step in the right direction.

Ex-players on TV and radio have argued you shouldn’t lose your job because of an injury, but Ben Roethlisburger and Tom Brady are great examples of turning a negative situation into a positive. With Vick playing on fresh legs and, for once, playing as a pocket passer first, his play can be the difference between what was pegged as a lost season and an exciting run to the playoffs.

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