It is now fair to say that the words “Michael Vick, the Eagles’ starting quarterback” have been parsed to the point of chopped parsley. It wouldn’t be terribly difficult to write a 400-word meditation on the meaning of those six words that would require another 400 words in source citations. Everyone in the eastern U.S. and many beyond the borders of that area (however they’re drawn) have weighed in on this matter, from journalists to sports talk hosts and their “guests” to the guy at the proverbial water cooler…or in your unopened e-mail list.
As the Eagles prepared to meet the Jaguars, a quick summary of prevalent analyses was drawn up – all theories that have gathered adherents since early in the week when Coach Reid threw his nominal (and recently concussed) starter, Kevin Kolb, under the bus in favor of Mikey Twinkletoes. Here’s why it happened, or so they say: 1) Reid feared that Kolb would be pummeled behind a weak offensive line, and Kolb is being paid a lot; 2) the change is a smokescreen designed to distract fans from said weak offensive line; 3) Reid is exercising good managerial judgment as Vick is clearly “hot”; he’s had a very solid game and a half against Green Bay and Detroit; 4) Reid’s managerial judgment, while possibly accurate, is the smokescreen – not the change – because Kolb could possibly return to play more weakly than Vick has so far and that would create psychological damage far in excess of any physical damage that might result from weak blockers.
You pick the right theory.
It has been a surprising week, though, despite the hyper-cognition going one. Perhaps the most shocking remark came from Reid himself after the initial announcement of the shake-up. As a public speaker, the Eagles coach seems, ordinarily, to have figured out how to talk while asleep…both in terms of style and substance. This week, though, he actually delivered himself of the opinion that Philadelphia could win the Super Bowl with Vick at QB. (And that was duly reported on a Phillies post-game program.) What day was that – Monday? Tuesday? So much has been said since then on the subject that it now seems to have happened shortly after the Crimean War ended.
Much has been suggested about the future of Kevin Kolb as well. Will he be traded? Should he be traded? How should he feel? A friend e-mailed the following on that last question: “Instead of all this weenie crap about whatever is good for the team, Kolb should grow a pair and say, ‘I’ll take my 12 million and sit on the bench, WTF!'” (Philadelphia fans are nothing if not frank…and practical.) I replied: “OR say: ‘Don’t worry, I’ll get this job back. If Mike doesn’t screw up, I’ll just have to be brilliant whenever I’m in. Until then, I’ll hold down the bench and expect Mike to screw up in SOME way. Love the guy, but he’s really, really undisciplined.'”
Barring injury, one of two bottom lines will likely have been reached by about seven o’clock tonight: Either Vick will have won, and the debate will begin anew, again, tomorrow, or Vick will have lost, and the Eagles will have arrived in Dysfunction City in record time. In the event of a loss, would it then be appropriate to switch back to Kolb? Sure – if the 300-pound Reid fancies himself being perceived as dancing around like a flighty junior high school girl. In the event of a win, would it be appropriate for Kolb to begin taking an inventory of his luggage? Definitely.