The injury-riddled Philadelphia Eagles will start Kevin Kolb
again at quarterback as Michael Vick continues to heal.
The NFC South-leading Atlanta Falcons are ready to make things
difficult for him.
Kolb leads the Eagles against a Falcons team looking for their
longest winning streak in 12 years Sunday.
Philadelphia coach Andy Reid decided Friday that Kolb will make
his second straight start after determining Vick has not
sufficiently healed from a rib injury suffered in Week 4. Vick did
practice Friday, but it is uncertain if he will be healthy enough
to be Kolb’s backup.
Vick’s injury is one of several for the Eagles, who could be
without defensive tackle Broderick Bunkley (elbow), left tackle
Jason Peters (knee), cornerback Asante Samuel (concussion) and wide
receiver Riley Cooper (concussion). Left guard Todd Herremans
(knee) may return.
“Crazy, isn’t it?” defensive tackle Mike Patterson said. “Maybe
they’ll rethink that extension (of 18 games) to the season.”
Vick got hurt during the first quarter of the Eagles’ 17-12 loss
to Washington on Oct. 3, and Kolb was a shaky replacement. He
completed 22 of 35 passes for 201 yards with one touchdown and was
intercepted on a Hail Mary pass in the end zone on the game’s final
Kolb was better last week, connecting on 21 of 31 passes for 253
yards and a score in a 27-24 win at San Francisco. He showed the
ability that led the Eagles to name him the starter after longtime
star Donovan McNabb was dealt to Washington during the
Kolb lost the top job when he suffered a concussion in a
season-opening loss to Green Bay, and Reid insists there’s not
“Michael is still (the) starting quarterback, so we won’t get
that controversy going there. That’s what it is,” Reid said.
Kolb starting means Vick will not make his first start against
his former team. He saw limited action in his first meeting versus
Atlanta (4-1) last December, as the Eagles won 34-7 on the road.
Despite only throwing two passes for 48 yards, Vick tossed a TD
pass and ran for another score.
Kolb will have to deal with a Falcons’ defense that leads the
NFL with 10 interceptions while collecting three fumbles and
holding opposing QBs to a 72.5 rating.
Atlanta is trying to win five straight for the first time since
tying a franchise record with a nine-game run to close out 1998.
The defense sealed last week’s 20-10 win at Cleveland, as defensive
end Kroy Biermann returned an interception 31 yards for a score
with 4:01 to play.
The unit held the Browns to 269 total yards while forcing three
The Falcons have allowed a league-low six fourth-quarter
“The biggest thing about this team is we’ve won a bunch of
different ways,” center Todd McClure said. “It hasn’t been one
phase of our team carrying the team. It’s been a bunch of different
ways by a bunch of different guys.
“If you can do that and win the turnover game, you’re gonna be
pretty successful in this league.”
The offense has leaned on a running game that leads the
conference with 148.8 yards per game, and Michael Turner is a big
reason for that. He leads the team with 421 yards while gaining 4.5
per carry after totaling 140 yards on 19 chances last week.
Quarterback Matt Ryan has been efficient, completing 61.6
percent of passes while ranking 13th with 1,165 yards. He’s tossed
seven touchdowns with three interceptions after posting career
highs of 22 and 14, respectively, last season.
Ryan has relied heavily on Roddy White, whose 37 catches are
tied for second in the league while his 463 yards are seventh.
White also has three touchdowns, including a 45-yard catch against
The Falcons’ balanced play has them gaining confidence.
“I feel like every game we can win,” defensive end John Abraham
Philadelphia acquired Jerome Harrison from Cleveland for fellow
running back Mike Bell on Wednesday in a move to add depth behind
LeSean McCoy, who is nursing a rib injury.
Harrison ran for 91 yards on 31 carries in four games with the
Browns after leading them with a career-high 862 rushing yards and
five touchdowns last year.
The Eagles have won five of the last six meetings with the
Falcons, including three in a row at home since losing Oct. 30,