Reid makes it official: Vick and Gaither will start

Posted: September 18, 2010

To no surprise, Andy Reid announced Friday that Kevin Kolb and Stewart Bradley will not play when the Eagles travel to face the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

Michael Vick and Omar Gaither, as expected, will replace the concussed quarterback and middle linebacker in the starting lineup. The question now is whether they will retain those roles for another week as Kolb and Bradley continue to be monitored.

Reid said that both passed the written part of the concussion test and were to be examined Friday afternoon by William Welch, a neurological surgeon at Penn. They may still have a few phases to clear before they can return to practice.

"I'm not sure the level to tell you," Reid said when asked where Kolb and Bradley stood in relation to the NFL's guidelines on concussion treatment and return. "I will tell you this, though, that Bradley was there before Kevin, at that point. Bradley's felt pretty good here for a couple days."

Neither player practiced during the week. They eventually were permitted to attend meetings and do some light exercising. With Reid seemingly a little more optimistic about Bradley's recovery, it appears that the linebacker would be more likely to play against Jacksonville next week than Kolb.

"Kevin's doing well," Vick said. "He actually said he felt a lot better today, felt like he could've gone out there and participated on the practice team and ran the scout team, so that was great."

Vick, who will get his first start since Dec. 31, 2006, when he was with the Atlanta Falcons, said that Kolb assisted in his film study of Detroit. The 30-year-old Vick has 67 career starts under center, but probably none as anticipated as this one.

"Honestly, I feel better than I ever did in my career, physically and mentally," Vick said, adding later: "It's a surreal moment. Honestly, I didn't think it was going to happen this early. As a backup, you kind of a get into a mode of thinking that you're not going to play."

Vick took every first-team repetition in practice this week. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson said on Wednesday that the offensive game plan was being trimmed for Vick who replaced Kolb midway through last Sunday's game and nearly rallied the Eagles past the Packers in a 27-20 Philadelphia loss.

He ran seven times in the second half, but Reid said he would not limit Vick's scrambling abilities because he'll have only one other quarterback dressed.

"He has to play his game," Reid said. "He can't be worried about all that."

Mike Kafka will be the backup. Reid said that he considered bringing in another quarterback but decided to go with just Vick and the rookie. The coach declined to name the emergency third quarterback but did say that he had several options.

Gaither, a five-year veteran, has started in 34 career games, 19 at middle linebacker.

"I've done it for a long time before," Gaither said. "So that part of it just really comes natural for me, just going back out there, being in the middle and being the starting guy again."

With the season-ending injuries to center Jamaal Jackson (torn triceps) and fullback Leonard Weaver (torn anterior cruciate ligament), there will likely be some changes in the active players for Sunday.

Mike McGlynn will start at center, but Reid could dress as many as two more offensive linemen than he did a week ago when only seven were active. Guard Reggie Wells, who the Eagles acquired in a trade 10 days ago, is expected to be one and possibly, guard Max Jean-Gilles.

"Wells has done a fine job," Reid said. "He's picked it up. He's comfortable with [the offense]."

The Eagles addressed the loss of Weaver by signing fullback Owen Schmitt and promoting tight end Garrett Mills from the practice squad. Mills has played some fullback before but he could see his first action after the tight ends, Brent Celek and Clay Harbor, struggled with blocking a week ago.

Schmitt, who was released by Seattle earlier this month, is more of a blocking fullback. Running backs Mike Bell and Eldra Buckley could be asked to pick up some of Weaver's running responsibilities.

 

Extra points. The following players are listed as probable for Sunday: wide receiver Jason Avant (back), defensive end Antwan Barnes (wrist), running back Mike Bell (toe), guard Nick Cole (knee), guard Todd Herremans (ankle), tackle Austin Howard (back), linebacker Akeem Jordan (groin), defensive tackle Trevor Laws (oblique) and punter Sav Rocca (hamstring). . . . Tackle Winston Justice was selected to be the Eagles' union representative, succeeding safety Quintin Mikell, after a vote was held Thursday. Justice said that the Eagles, after meeting with NFLPA reps, voted to authorize decertification if the union decides that is a necessary step when the collective bargaining agreement expires next March.


Contact staff writer Jeff McLane at 215-854-4745 or jmclane@phillynews.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Jeff_McLane.

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