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Kolb's play resurrects QB quandary for Eagles, Reid

by | Special to CBSSports.com
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PHILADELPHIA -- Today's featured attraction is the Quarterback Controversy That Wouldn't Die, coming soon to a stadium near you.

It co-stars Kevin Kolb and Michael Vick and is directed by the master of suspense himself, Andy Reid -- and the fact that Reid has the same profile as Alfred Hitchcock is just a coincidence.

What makes this thriller even more intriguing is that nobody knows how it will end, except Reid, and even that is questionable.

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Certainly the Eagles' coach didn't have this in mind when he named Kolb as his starting quarterback in April, after he traded his former leading man, Donovan McNabb, to the Washington Redskins.

And he probably didn't have it in mind when he named Vick as his new starter three weeks ago. But, sure enough, it's back after Kolb masterfully led the Eagles past the Atlanta Falcons 31-17 on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.

Reid said after the game that Vick will be his starting quarterback when he fully recovers from the rib injury that kept him out of the past two games. But Kolb's performance in those two games has to make Reid think at least a little, and his performance against Atlanta should make him think a lot -- Kolb completed 79.3 percent of his passes and had touchdown tosses of 34 and 83 yards and those kinds of numbers are impossible to ignore.

Plus there's a symmetry here that can't be denied. Kolb lost his job when he got hurt and Vick played great as his substitute (with QB ratings of 108.0 and 119.2 in his two full games as the starter). Now Vick is hurt and Kolb has played great as his substitute (QB ratings of 103.3 and 133.6 in his two full games).

And Reid, the man who created this two-headed monster, seems to enjoy it, even if he doesn't enjoy the controversy that surrounds it. When asked who his starting quarterback would be, Reid smugly said "You take Michael Kolb and we go play, baby."

Reid then stated -- no joke -- that Vick would be the starter.

Reid (left) has some soul-searching to do when it comes to Kolb. (US Presswire)  
Reid (left) has some soul-searching to do when it comes to Kolb. (US Presswire)  
"This is a beautiful thing," Reid said. "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. That's a positive thing."

The Eagles' quarterback controversy has been a hot topic around the NFL for weeks and a scalding hot one in Philadelphia. But Kolb wouldn't bite when the dreaded "C" word was casually brought up 10 or 12 times by the media after the game.

"I'm not going to get into that," he said. "I know it's a unique situation, but, again, from my experience Andy has always thought things through very thoroughly. And he always has a rhyme and a reason and they usually turn out the right way.

"So, I'll just trust and believe and so will my teammates."

His teammates say they don't care who plays quarterback as long as he plays it well and, as they've seen in the last month, both of them can do that.

"Don't even go there," wide receiver Jeremy Maclin said with a laugh. "I'm not the one who makes those decisions and I'm glad I'm not the one who makes them, because this is a tough one. They're both good quarterbacks who have won in this league and I'm happy to line up with either of them."

The one thing that has kept this controversy from turning ugly has been the attitude of the two quarterbacks. Kolb and Vick are close friends who have supported each other and neither has said a discouraging word despite the opportunity to say lots of them.

"It could be a real problem if you didn't have two guys who are willing to be in this kind of system," tight end Brent Celek said. "But you know Mike and you know Kevin and they work together like puzzle pieces. They handle it first-class."

Vick is healing quickly and possibly could be ready to play next week at Tennessee. But even if he is, Reid may decide to hold him out again, since the Eagles have their bye the following week. That would give Vick plenty of time to heal completely and be in top shape for the second half of the season.

Of course, if Kolb plays against Tennessee like he played against Atlanta, Reid will have plenty to think about during the week off. Quarterback controversies don't die easily and this one could live on for a long, long time.

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