Tough Eagles Decision: Michael Vick or Kevin Kolb


The Philadelphia Eagles have quite a messy dilemma on their hands; they have both Michael Vick and Kevin Kolb at the quarterback position.

At the beginning of the season, Kolb was anointed as the starter, with Vick expected to come in here and there as the wildcat QB. However, when Kolb went down in the first game of the season, Vick stepped in and gave the team a spark going 16-24 for 175 yards, a TD and no picks and rushing 11 times for 103 yards. It was a losing effort, but it was a step towards a breakout season for Michael Vick, one that in the eyes of many was an MVP year.

Kolb, on the other hand, was forced to relinquish his starting role to Vick, which he accepted. Kevin did get his chance to play again, when Vick went down to a rib cartilage injury in week four. He then started weeks 5-7 up until their bye week. In that four game span, he threw for 1011 yards, with 6 TDs, and 4 interceptions which equaled an 87.5 QB rating.

Philadelphia went 2-2 in those games, and 2-1 in the games Kolb started. The Eagles however, were 2-3 this year in the games started by Kolb and 8-3 in games started by Vick. In the eyes of most observers, the Eagles are better off with Vick as their QB. However, it is remaining to be seen if Vick can actually win anything.

It became pretty evident this year, because of Vick’s running style, that he won’t be able to stay healthy for an entire season. At 6’0”, 215lbs, he just can’t. He was not the same player at the end of the season that he was in the beginning. Sure, you can look up the stats and argue otherwise, but he couldn’t carry the team on his back anymore. One look at the body language near the conclusion of the Packers game last weekend where he threw the pick to seal the game, told you all you needed to know.

As a result, the questions arise. Can the Eagles build a team around Vick? Why isn’t Kevin Kolb getting his chance, here or elsewhere? Are the Eagles going to sign Vick to a mega long term contract when he hasn’t shown the ability to stay healthy?

The Eagles can’t possibly build a team around Vick, it’s just too risky. In his first 6 years in the league, the best rating Michael Vick ever posted was 81.6 and he had never completed more than 56.4 % of his passes. Granted, he didn’t have the weapons there like he does in Philadelphia, but it’s not like he had no one, he did play on two playoff teams.

This year Vick completed 62.6% of his passes for 3018 yards and a 100.2 QB rating. In 67 career regular season starts Vick is now 38-28-1. In the playoffs he’s now 2-3. One regular season is a very small sample size for a guy of his style and history. If he plays like this again next year, perhaps I’ll hop on the bandwagon, but there’s no way I can do that now, and nor should you.

This leaves both Kolb and Philadelphia Eagles in quite a predicament. When given a chance to start multiple weeks in a row, Kolb has taken advantage of the opportunities, in spite of his lack of game experience. And he likes it in Philly too.

"I love it here, as everybody knows," said Kolb. "My family's settled in here. I would love to be starting here. But I want to be starting somewhere."

Kolb deserves a chance to play somewhere, and there are plenty of teams looking for quarterbacks, the Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings, Tennessee Titans and Arizona Cardinals just to name a few. The thing is, while there are plenty of teams that will take him, but the Eagles just aren’t ready to get rid of him.

Kolb however has no leverage whatsoever in his quest to be a starting quarterback somewhere else in this league, thanks in part to the one-year extension through the 2011 season he signed less than 12 months ago. That extension took away any chance of him becoming a free agent this coming year. And given Vick's playing style, which exposes him to injury more than the average quarterback, the Eagles are in no hurry to trade Kolb, and now they can't move him even if they wanted to because trades are prohibited until a new CBA is signed.

This isn’t an easy call for the Eagles. Because of the NFL's expiring collective bargaining agreement with the players' union, the Eagles will seemingly be handcuffed until a new deal is struck. They'd be foolish to re-sign Vick without an idea of what the limitations of the next CBA will be.

Whether or not a new CBA is reached, nobody is sure if Vick will give Eagles Team President, Joe Banner, and GM, Howie Roseman, the type of loyalty discount they're expecting in return for resurrecting his career. Because of that, the Eagles next month are expected to designate Vick their franchise player, which would buy them more time in those negotiations and allow them to keep him for at least one more season, regardless of the circumstances.

So at the moment it appears that the Eagles want to keep Kolb locked away in their dungeon, to bring him out when Vick gets hurt. - Barndon Berg

Brandon is the co-owner of EE Sports World.

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