Kolb versus Vick. Sounds like a monster movie from the UHF days.
It is a quarterback controversy because it defies an easy answer. I am in no mood to rehash the usual rejoinders. I get it. Lectures that Vick against Detroit was better than Kolb versus Green Bay get real circular quick (as Kolb was better last year versus the Chiefs than Vick was last week).
There are two considerations Coach Reid cannot get around:
1. This year, the Philadelphia Eagles are not winning the Super Bowl.
2. Barring catastrophic injury, Kevin Kolb is the starting quarterback in 2011.
Item one semi-frees the Eagles from immediate win-loss consequences. Yes, losing rarely helps. But sacrificing a few games to Kolb’s development as the franchise quarterback for the rest of this decade isn’t outrageous. It is a trade-off every team must make at some time- best not to do it when you have a Super Bowl ready team (see Mark Sanchez or Joe Flacco). Playing Kolb with an eye toward future success is not undefendable.
Particularly in light of the second item. Item two addresses the development question directly. Listen: there is no way Michael Vick is on this team next year.
The Eagles are not franchising him- putting the tag on (they aren't paying him any average salary that involves guys like Manning and Brady). As an outright free agent, should Vick play well, he isn’t getting a zillion dollars to stay from Philadelphia. There is no forthcoming franchise level dollar commitment coming from this organization. Frankly, a few good starts don’t justify the risk of giving a felon with a history of curious decisions the keys to your team. Great, he has managed to avoid a probation violation (barely)- but if the lights come back on, and the clubbing weekends commence with $30 million in his pocket... the Eagles aren’t taking that risk.
So every snap he takes now takes away from “finding out” about Kolb. The Eagles cannot let this linger into a JP Losman, Partick Ramsey situation- high draft picks who never got sustained looks, lingering, keeping their teams set on permanent “what if?” status at the most important position in pro sports. Finding out about Kevin Kolb in 2010 is the overriding theme of 2010.
Do not get sidetracked. Follow the plan.
Kolb showed enough last year to deserve an uninterrupted look. Yes, he had a horrid half versus the Packers. But a lot of quarterbacks had horrid halves week one: Flacco, Sanchez, Romo. Many defenses were ahead of offenses across the League as the elephant showed up- and by many accounts, Green Bay figures to have one of the best defenses in the NFC. You simply cannot blow up a multi-year franchise quarterback experiment, one with much promise, because of a bad half in week one. That is panic- not strategy, not development.
To deviate from said multi-year plan, you need a reason more compelling than the marginal cost of beating Jacksonville this weekend. For example, I would be willing to deviate from that plan if either the Eagles could win a championship or Vick had a decent chance of starting here next year (Let alone thru 2015).
Neither is true. Play Kolb.