Don't be thick, go with Vick

BY Jason Whitlock • September 13, 2010

The teflon coach is now on the clock.

With Donovan McNabb banished to our nation's capital, Philadelphia football fans have no choice but to examine the work of the man wearing the headsets.

Andy Reid is 0-1 today largely because he still can't manage the clock, committed to Kevin Kolb as his starting quarterback with little supporting evidence and allowed an atrocious fourth-and-1 play-call late in Philly's 27-20 loss to Green Bay.

Making matters worse is Reid watched Michael Vick's electrifying second-half performance and concluded Kevin Kolb is still the Eagles' starting quarterback (if he's healthy).

Andy Reid is either clueless or blind.

In an NFL opening weekend filled with interesting twists and turns, nothing tops the unveiling of Michael Vick 2.0.

The Cowboys' coaching blunders, the Texans' thumping of the Colts and Calvin Johnson's stolen game-winning catch all take a backseat to the finest performance we've ever seen from Michael Vick.

I'm no Vick fan. Even during his Pro Bowl years in Atlanta, I contended Vick was a wide receiver masquerading as a quarterback. When he took over Sunday after Kolb suffered a concussion, I anticipated an interception, a fumble and a 41-10 Green Bay runaway.

I was shocked. I still am.

Vick looked like Steve Young, a real authentic quarterback, on Sunday. As best I could tell, Vick made one serious mistake. Down around the goal line, he forced a pass into the end zone when he could've pump faked and made a dash for the goal line. But that's just nitpicking.

Vick completed 16 of 24 passes for 175 yards and one touchdown. He ran for 103 yards on 11 carries.

Philly was down 20-3 when Vick took control of the game.

Kolb, The Anointed One, picked up right where he left off in the preseason, connecting on half of his 10 passes for 24 yards and running for a yard. DeSean Jackson, Philly's big-play receiver, didn't catch a pass in the first half. Philadelphia's offense went nowhere with Kolb.

Vick turned the momentum of the game on Philly's second possession of the second half, hitting Jackson for 12 yards on third and five and setting up the Eagles for first and goal with a 31-yard scramble.

Vick put 17 points on the board in the second half and had a shot at 24 until Reid and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg settled for a super-conservative QB isolation run on fourth and one at the Green Bay 42 with two minutes to play. The Packers stuffed Vick for no gain. As sharp as Vick was throwing and running Sunday, Philly should've spread the field, emptied the backfield and given Vick the freedom to improvise.

Green Bay simply kneeled on three straight plays, running out the clock, because Reid had burned all three of his timeouts on a Packers' possession that started with 5:43 to play.

Yep. The best way to help a backup QB shaking off three years of rust is to send him on a potential game-tying drive with no timeouts.

Andy Reid coaches like he's won three Super Bowls. And we, the media, talk about him like he's won four.

What's the difference between Andy Reid and Marty Schottenheimer? A hundred pounds, Ernest Byner's fumble and different coaching specialties.

Late in Schottenheimer's Kansas City tenure he had a choice between Rich Gannon and Elvis Grbac. Schottenheimer chose Grbac.

Elvis quit football at age 31. Between the ages of 34-38, Gannon earned four Pro Bowl berths, one league MVP and led the Raiders to the Super Bowl.

Reid has an easier decision between Kolb and Vick. One guy has an on-field resume and the other is just a draft-day theory.

I haven't forgotten Vick's past. He's capable of doing something totally stupid off the field. Cross that bridge when it comes. He's on the Philly roster. If Vick gets in trouble off the field, the Eagles are going to take the same public-relations hit whether he's the starter or the backup. Reid might as well play Vick and justify the risk of signing him.

Vick's teammates responded to his energy and big-play capability. The Eagles were clearly a more confident offense and defense with Vick in the lineup.

Andy Reid would be a fool to enter the Eagles locker room and tell 53 players Kolb is the starting quarterback. Reid had the guts to permanently dump McNabb. Why not bench Kolb (or use his concussion as an excuse) and let the Vick situation play out for at least another week?

E-mail Jason or follow him on Twitter. Media requests for Mr. Whitlock should be directed to Fox Sports PR.



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