FanDuel - WFBC

September 20, 2010

Michael Vick sparkles again; promptly gets benched: It would've been difficult to imagine this back in 2007 when Michael Vick(notes) was being led around in handcuffs, but I'm about to argue that the man is being wronged.

It's not just Vick, either. It's all of his teammates, fans and pretty much anyone who wants the Philadelphia Eagles to win football games. They're all being done a disservice by Andy Reid's decision to go with Kevin Kolb as the starter in next week's game against the Jaguars.

posted by BornIcon to football at 03:23 PM - 33 comments

Vick has played well, but to suggest it is "borderline-irrational" to stick with the starter after two games is borderline irrational. Kevin Kolb won the job in camp. Most coaches do not switch quarterbacks early in a season.

The danger in switching to Vick too early is this: What do you do if he starts to suck? You already will have damaged Kolb's confidence -- and the team's confidence in him -- by giving him the quick hook.

posted by rcade at 03:35 PM on September 20

Seemed to work okay for the Titans when they stuck with Collins in 2008. It's risky either way, but if' you've got a hot hand in Vick, my opinion is that you need to play it. The guy has absolutely electrified his team.

posted by pholcomb at 04:44 PM on September 20

Vick looked really good. He's as fast as he ever was, but he seems to have improved as a passer. It's a pretty potent combination. It's a really tough call for Reid. He got rid of McNabb for Kolb, and Kolb hasn't even had a chance to prove himself. I don't think there will be a QB controversy for long. The Eagles offensive line is incredibly porous. Kolb will likely be re-injured again in a matter of weeks.

posted by bperk at 05:34 PM on September 20

Reid's been adamant all along that there's never been a Vick vs. Kolb quarterback controversy. By now, I agree with him -- Vick has clearly earned that job.

That's a great line.... Seriously, I can't imagine Kolb doing any better. I'm a Philly fan and I figured from the beginning it would be Vick's job by there bye week (week8).

posted by myshtigo at 05:46 PM on September 20

Whoa, it was one start and it was against the Lions. Take a deep breath and know you have a capable back-up who appears to have some magic left.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 05:59 PM on September 20

I'm with Weedy. It's one game. Eli Manning looked good week one too. Last night, not so good. Kolb won the job in camp and should get more than one week before a big Lions game gets people all over the Vick bandwagon.

posted by dyams at 07:07 PM on September 20

Week 1

M. Vick 16/24 175 7.3 1 0 101.9 Rush 11 att 103 yds

K. Kolb 5/10 24 2.4 0 0 56.2

Week 2

M. Vick 21/34 284 8.4 2 0 108.0 Rush 7 att 37 yds

I'd say it was closer to two games in which Vick looked very good.

I don't believe Kolb has earned anything yet. He was named the starter, looked awful in his first start(of the year) and got hurt. He didn't really earn the job did he? I mean there wasn't a competition for the starting job? Wasn't he pretty much the starter going into camp?

posted by tselson at 08:25 PM on September 20

I submit for your consideration the possibility that the Eagles organization may have had the intention of making Vick their starting quarterback at the earliest politically-possible opportunity (if of course the skills that made him a Pro Bowl quarterback had not eroded past the point of no return) more-or-less since the moment they decided to pick him up.

Disclosure: I'm an Atlantan and a Falcons fan.

I was pretty amazed that no other team but the Eagles had the crystal balls to pick up a quarterback who would have to be a solid candidate for the best backup in the NFL, for nothing more than some negative publicity.

When they let McNabb go (who by all accounts I've read was a major influence in bringing Vick to the Eagles), I really had a feeling that it was a move intended to ease Vick into the starting role.

Just my thoughts.

posted by outonleave at 08:41 PM on September 20

I guess I don't see why this is even much of a issue. The Eagles had already been using both QB's, with Vick coming in on various plays, so why not just expand his role? Kolb is still the starter, but Vick gets to contribute more. Buys Reid some time to sort it out, without having to deal with any sort of controversy.

Given all the concussion talk of late, I might also think it would be wise to be extremely cautious with Kolb's return. If you think he's the future of your franchise, why not sit him another week and ride the hot hand? Sure, it makes it harder to bring him in later if Vick continues to impress, but that's a great problem to have.

posted by dviking at 09:56 PM on September 20

dviking=voice of reason today

posted by sgtcookzane at 10:17 PM on September 20

The Eagles had already been using both QB's, with Vick coming in on various plays

That's weird, though. You do that with a running back, you do that with a wideout...but with a quarterback? Who does that?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:17 PM on September 20

Given all the concussion talk of late, I might also think it would be wise to be extremely cautious with Kolb's return. If you think he's the future of your franchise, why not sit him another week and ride the hot hand?

I was just about to say the same thing, except that I don't think a 'future of the franchise' tag should matter. Kolb sustained a concussion, not a broken pinky finger or sprained ankle.

posted by MrFrisby at 06:52 AM on September 21

with a quarterback? Who does that?

The 1950's Rams, but no one since has done it successfully, as far as I know.

posted by yerfatma at 07:08 AM on September 21

Kolb won the job in camp

Actually, wasn't Kolb given the job as soon as McNabb was traded? If Vick was practicing with the 1st team in training camp as opposed to the 2nd team, I'll bet he would've had the job coming out of camp.

We're talking about the #1 pick in the 2001 NFL draft that wasn't out of the game for over a year due to his play but due to him being an asshat. He's shown that he's fully capable of being as electrifying as when he was with the Falcons but has now improved on his passing which makes him even more dangerous than he's ever been since he still has the speed when he takes off out of the pocket. If he's not the starter for the Eagles this season, maybe the Vikings will pick him up next year.

posted by BornIcon at 09:03 AM on September 21

Kolb won the job in camp

Actually, wasn't Kolb given the job as soon as McNabb was traded?

What's the difference? Kolb, for whatever reason, was named the starter and started the first game. If any team wants to begin the season by automatically yanking a player from the lineup when they have a poor game, it sounds like a team destined to implode. A young quarterback is going to struggle sometimes, and expecting Kolb to walk out onto the field and make Eagles fans forget McNabb's best performances is ridiculous. These are the times when the rest of the team needs to step it up and help win games. If it turns out Vick really is the best option, after more than a start against the Detroit Lions, then great for the Eagles. Philadelphia kept the guy on the team, so there's a good chance he'll end up playing a big role for them. And everyone who has followed football knows Vick can win some games. I just don't think Kolb deserves to be thrown on the scrap heap after one half of football opening day.

posted by dyams at 09:35 AM on September 21

What's the difference?

The difference is, he didn't earn the starting QB position. Andy Reid and the suits made a choice to trade McNabb with the thought that Kolb would be the future of the franchise when he was the Eagles first pick in 2007 and may not want to admit their mistake. But that's just my opinion which may not mean much.

posted by BornIcon at 09:58 AM on September 21

If any team wants to begin the season by automatically yanking a player from the lineup when they have a poor game, it sounds like a team destined to implode.

I agree with you somewhat, but the NFL routinely does just that. Both Carolina and Buffalo have already dumped their starting QBs already. First round draft picks probably get more time and more forgiveness when they struggle, which Kolb is not. Teams are about winning right now. Maybe Kolb will successfully lead the Eagles team to victory, but we know that Vick is playing well. Teams have had plenty of success sticking with their aging veteran who can still win over the young guy (see Kurt Warner, Collins, Jeff Garcia, et al.).

posted by bperk at 10:22 AM on September 21

I agree with you somewhat, but the NFL routinely does just that.

I don't think it's routine. It's a sign of a season going off the rails to switch back and forth at QB.

posted by rcade at 10:34 AM on September 21

The Eagles need to keep themselves on the rails to the extent that they are able, as a service to the NFL fans at large.

They're going to be playing a fair number of featured night games this year, and we don't want to be stuck looking at a whole bunch of ugly from now to St. Nicholas Day.

posted by beaverboard at 11:37 AM on September 21

Both Carolina and Buffalo have already dumped their starting QBs already.

I'm still waiting for someone to tell me which QB in Buffalo is worth a shit to begin with. Honestly, I was the one who was telling anyone who would listen that Vick would have been a great choice for the Bills to try to obtain during the off-season, obviously a huge improvement over Edwards and/or Fitzpatrick.

posted by dyams at 12:50 PM on September 21

Football Outsiders have some words on starting QBs being given the hook already, (though mostly on the situations in Carolina, Buffalo and Oakland) :

"Two weeks into the NFL season and three teams have already decided that they need to change their starting quarterback. After weeks of training camp, numerous sessions installing the playbook, and thousands of reps with the first team offense, it's taken the Bills, Panthers, and Raiders an average of 51 attempts to determine that they made the wrong choice at the game's most important position.

And it's madness."

[More]

posted by Mr Bismarck at 12:54 PM on September 21

The 1950's Rams, but no one since has done it successfully, as far as I know.

That jogged my memory. Of both alternating QB's, and QB controversies brought on by injury... From Wikipedia:

In 1971, Craig Morton began the season as the starter, but after a loss to the New Orleans Saints, Staubach assumed the role. However, in a game against the Chicago Bears in the seventh week of that season, coach Tom Landry alternated Staubach and Morton on each play, sending in the quarterbacks with the play call from the sideline. Dallas gained more than 500 yards of offense, but suffered a 23-19 loss to a mediocre Bears squad that dropped the Cowboys to 4-3 on the season, two games behind the Washington Redskins in the NFC East race.
Staubach assumed the full-time quarterbacking duties in a week eight victory over the St. Louis Cardinals and led the Cowboys to ten consecutive victories, including their first Super Bowl victory, 24-3 over the Miami Dolphins. He led the Cowboys to their first Super Bowl win and was named MVP of Super Bowl VI on January 16, 1972, completing 12 out of 19 passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns, and rushing for 18 yards. In 1972, he missed most of the season with a separated shoulder, but he relieved Morton in a divisional playoff against the San Francisco 49ers and threw two touchdown passes in the last 90 seconds to win the game 30-28. With that performance, he won back his regular job and did not relinquish it again during his career.


Not the same circumstances, but somewhat similar. Coach Reid has a tough decision to make if Kolb plays poorly this week.

posted by mjkredliner at 02:48 PM on September 21

I wonder if there is an unwritten rule in football (as in certain other sports) that you cannot lose your starting job to injury once you have recovered. Obviously, this "rule" is often "broken" (think back to Brady for Bledsoe and I am sure there are more recent examples), but I wonder how much coaches feel they owe it to players to not let their jobs be taken as a result of injury (once they are able to return healthy).

posted by holden at 03:04 PM on September 21

If a player is injured and the subsitute is playing a hell of a lot better than the injured player, those "rules" would get thrown out the window mighty quickly IMO. That is unless your name is Andy Reid and you don't want to be proven wrong.

posted by BornIcon at 03:20 PM on September 21

I remember during the Bills run of Super Bowl appearances, Jim Kelly was a fantastic quarterback, but he also made his share of bonehead passes and mistakes. When things were going particularly bad and Kelly would go down with a injury of some sort (which would keep him out a couple games), Frank Reich would come in and always do a very good job as a sub. Like clockwork, the controversy would start up when Kelly was ready to return, with many feeling Reich should keep the job since the team was playing well and winning. Reich was one of the best backups ever, in my opinion, because he was happy with the role, a true professional, always prepared, and never lobbied for the starting gig. But this minor "qb controversy" would happen each and every time. I always remembered this when so many people were in tears during Kelly's Hall of Fame induction speech. They all had nothing but love for him, but I couldn't help wonder how many of them were on the Frank Reich bandwagon when he was going well and Kelly was less-than-spectacular.

posted by dyams at 03:43 PM on September 21

Not the same circumstances, but somewhat similar.

That's another decent case. I'm no font of NFL memory, I just happened to see "Top 10 Quarterback Controversies" on NFL Network at lunch last week.

posted by yerfatma at 03:45 PM on September 21

It's a sign of a season going off the rails to switch back and forth at QB.

Which raises the question of whether it would happen more often if it wasn't immediately treated by observers as a sign of a season going off the rails.

posted by etagloh at 06:42 PM on September 21

Well, an update from the evil empire indicates that Reid has reconsidered.

posted by tahoemoj at 07:25 PM on September 21

Yeah, quite an organization they run there in Philadelphia. They say they made the decision "after watching film of the game"? What the hell were they watching Sunday? They go from saying, "Kevin Kolb is our starting quarterback" to "Michael Vick is starting Sunday."

posted by dyams at 07:33 PM on September 21

What the hell were they watching Sunday?

It sure wasn't the game because my decision of starting Vick over Kolb next week would've been made before halftime.

posted by BornIcon at 07:13 AM on September 22

The only reason this was a difficult decision was because Reid had it in his head that Kolb was the starting QB and future of the franchise. I think the flip-flop was a bit cruel to Kolb.

posted by bperk at 09:10 AM on September 22

I think the flip-flop was a bit cruel to Kolb.

I think it points to the fact the guy flies by the seat of his oversized pants and tends to speak before he thinks. I'm not against the move to Vick, because I think he has proven he can win NFL games, but the Eagles knew as well as I did that he was on their roster.

One more reason why the NFL preseason is basically a huge waste of time. They should have known the QB situation beyond any doubt coming out of of camp.

posted by dyams at 09:30 AM on September 22

I think coaches have to adjust on the fly. The offensive line is much worse than they thought it was going to be because of injuries at center and fullback.

posted by bperk at 10:16 AM on September 22

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