Paul Domowitch: Eagles enjoying luxury of riches with two top quarterbacks

Posted: October 20, 2010

ANDY REID calls his quarterback situation "a beautiful thing" and people react as if he had just used the term to describe a 50-car pileup on the Schuylkill.

Where he sees beauty, they see chaos and destruction. They see trouble with a capital "T" and that rhymes with "P" and that stands for pandemonium.

All Reid knows is that he woke up yesterday morning with his team tied for first place in the NFC East and two - count 'em, two - of his quarterbacks ranked in the top seven in the league in passing.

Michael Vick, who never has had a passer rating higher than 83.8 in his career, currently is the NFL's top-rated passer with a 108.8 rating, ahead of the blue-blooded likes of Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers and Drew Brees and Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers.

Kevin Kolb, who has started the last two games while Vick's rib cartilage injury has been mending, is seventh with a 98.3 rating after completing an impressive 23 of 29 passes against the Falcons.

Together, Vick and Kolb have combined for five 100-plus rating performances in six games. Incorporate them and "Michael Kolb" is third in the league in yards-per-attempt, second in interception percentage, sixth in touchdown percentage and seventh in completion percentage.

Why is this a bad thing again? Oh, that's right. Because they both want to play and there's only one football.

Before you lose any more sleep worrying about how Reid is going to deal with the Vick/Kolb dilemma, though, look around the league at some of the other quarterback situations where disaster is only a concussion or torn ACL away.

One shot to Peyton Manning's knees and the Colts will have to pin their Super Bowl hopes on Curtis Painter and his 9.8 career passer rating.

How fast and far do you think the Saints will fall if Brees gets hurt and they have to turn to his backup, Chase Daniel, who has never played in a regular-season game? Or the Patriots, if Brady gets hurt and they have to send in Brian Hoyer and his 27 career pass attempts? Or the Giants, if journeyman Sage Rosenfels has to replace Eli Manning?

Now do you understand why Reid calls his quarterback situation a beautiful thing?

If Vick gets hurt again, Big Red doesn't have to worry about making an SOS call to Jeff Garcia's agent. If Kolb goes down, he doesn't have to try to coax Kurt Warner off the dance floor or call directory information for Mike McMahon's phone number.

"When you're sitting here as a chubby head coach in the National Football League, and you have two good quarterbacks, you're a happy guy," Reid said. "That's a positive thing."

How is this going to play out? Hard to say. Frankly, I don't think Reid even knows right now beyond the next couple of weeks. He already has said that Kolb will be his likely starter Sunday at Tennessee because Vick still isn't ready to play.

Vick is expected to return against the Colts after the bye week. After that, Reid likely will let circumstances dictate his decision. If Vick stays healthy and productive, he likely will remain the starter. If he gets hurt again, which is always a possibility considering his style of play, or his productivity slips, Reid won't hesitate to make the move to Kolb.

Next year doesn't factor into the equation here. It's safe to say that only one of these guys is going to be back with the Eagles in 2011. But it would be a mistake to assume it's definitely going to be Kolb.

Reid is playing everything by ear right now. He has surveyed the NFC landscape and has correctly concluded that the Eagles have as good a shot at making the Super Bowl as any team in the conference if they can sidestep any more significant injuries.

He's going to do whatever he thinks will give his team the best chance to win this season. If that means going with Vick as his starting quarterback the rest of the season, he'll do it. If that means benching Vick at some point and going back to Kolb, he will do that, too. He'll worry about 2011 after they blow taps on 2010.

When Reid benched Kolb in Week 3 after he returned from his concussion, many observers suggested that the Eagles coach had "lost" the young quarterback, that the kid's confidence had suffered irreparable harm.

The fact that he has gone out the last 2 weeks and completed 73.3 percent of his passes and had a 118.7 passer rating pretty much has shot that ridiculous theory to holes. The situation will be no different if/when he goes back to the bench in 2 weeks.

If it turns out that he doesn't throw another pass this season after Sunday, Kolb certainly won't be happy. But it's not going to affect his ability to be the Eagles' quarterback in 2011, if that's the direction the team ends up going.

Will it be? Again, a lot will depend on how this season shakes out. Reid, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and quarterbacks coach James Urban have done something that I didn't think was possible a few months ago. They've taught Vick how to be an NFL quarterback.

If he comes back and continues to play well and takes the Eagles deep into the playoffs, it's certainly possible they would try to re-sign Vick, who can become a free agent after the season, and trade Kolb.

Kolb, who has another year left on his contract, is younger (26) than Vick. But at 30, Vick hardly is ready for the bone yard. It's safe to assume he'll be able to remain reasonably productive for another 5 years, which is an eternity in the NFL.

If the Eagles end up deciding to keep Kolb and trade Vick, they would have to put the franchise tag on Vick to prevent him from becoming an unrestricted free agent, and then trade him.

Right now, with the labor negotiations moving at a snail's pace, no one is sure what the free-agency rules will be next year. According to league sources, if there is no new collective bargaining agreement by the start of the league year on March 1, all league business, including the free-agency signing period and trades, would be put on hold until there is a new CBA.

In the meantime, Reid will continue to enjoy the beauty of having the best quarterback tandem in the league.

Send e-mail to pdomo@aol.com

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|