The Kevin Kolb Career Debate Verdict

September 22, 2010

Read the opposing arguments from Babe Ruthless and Bleacher Fan.

In the blogosphere we live in breaking news happens all the time. This debate was written by both Babe Ruthless and Bleacher Fan with Kevin Kolb penciled in as starting quarterback for Sunday’s game. That all changed late Tuesday afternoon when Andy Reid announced that Michael Vick would be starting on Sundays. That decision, however, didn’t change the core of this debate, which centers on which quarterback Andy Reid should name as starter for the Eagles.

In Team Vick’s corner is Bleacher Fan. Bleacher Fan takes the obvious route and compares the career numbers of Vick and Kolb, which are decidedly in #7’s favor in basically every angle. Vick’s numbers are better this year and it’s apparent in the six quarters that when Vick has been under center (a small sample size, I know) that the team plays better. Whatever rust Vick compiled while wearing an orange jump suit appears to have been knocked off. He’s a proven winner from a team standpoint while his counterpart just hasn’t proven that at all.

In Team Kolb’s corner is Babe Ruthless. Babe, quite frankly, just hasn’t boarded the Vick Train just yet. According to the Babe, it just isn’t a smart move to give the keys of the franchise to the artist formerly known as Ron Mexico. Vick has done nothing off the field to warrant being given yet another opportunity… after being given so many chances before. Besides, his one start came against the Lions, so who really knows how good of a game that really was?

It’s no secret that the Andy Reid is a loyal guy. He drafted Kevin Kolb in the second round of the 2007 NFL draft as the so-called heir apparent to Donovan McNabb. The team spent all off-season working with Kolb as the number one guy. Heck, the team even gave him a contract extension. Count me among those who were surprised that the Eagles even picked up Vick’s $5.2M team option to come back as a member of the Eagles this season. It’s funny how things work out. Vick has a chance to parlay this season into a nice contract next year, depending on how the NFL labor situation works out.

The bottom line in the NFL is winning right now, here, in 2010. Michael Vick gives the Philadelphia Eagles the best chance to win, therefore the victory goes to Bleacher Fan, though the Babe does get points for humor.

Babe Ruthless wrote that Vick’s start this season came against the Lions and therefore he hasn’t proven anything on the field in his return. But yet, in three career starts, I don’t think you can say Kolb has proven anything either. Not with the pedestrian numbers he has posted to this point in his career. That is not to say that he won’t succeed in the future. He obviously has the talent, and other teams think so because they were calling the Eagles inquiring about him. He seems to have a good attitude, but a good attitude and a buck will get you something off the dollar menu at Wendy’s.

The Eagles offensive line is also a mess and there is no doubt that Vick can get out of any mess his offensive line creates, if necessary. That’s something Kolb can’t do. In that sense, this is absolutely the right move for the 2010 Philadelphia Eagles. With the Cowboys struggling at 0-2, and the Giants, Redskins, and Eagles all sitting at 1-1, the division is there for the taking.

It wasn’t my job to determine what’s best for next year. It’s not Andy Reid’s job, either. A coach just doesn’t do that two games into the season. But two games into the season what’s best for the 2010 Eagles is to have Michael Vick under center. He gives the team the best chance to win.

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The Kevin Kolb Career Debate

September 21, 2010

Read the opposing arguments from Babe Ruthless and Bleacher Fan.

So you thought there’d be no quarterback controversy in Philadelphia once Donovan McNabb left town? WRONG!

Once McNabb left town, Kevin Kolb was named the starter. It seemed like the right move. After all, there were some questions about whether or not Michael Vick would even be back in an Eagles uniform this season. Then Kolb started the season opener against the Packers but went down with a concussion. Vick came in and nearly led the Eagles to a comeback victory. Last Sunday against Detroit Vick showed that he still has it as he brought back memories of his days as a member of the Atlanta Falcons. Through it all, Andy Reid was saying – up until Tuesday evening – that Kolb would be the starter if he is cleared to play.

But one’s grip on a starting quarterback position is tenuous. Despite all players involved saying the right thing – even, surprisingly, Vick – there is a quarterback controversy brewing in Philadelphia. Make no mistake about that.

That brings us to today’s debate. What should Andy Reid do? Who should he choose as his starting quarterback?

Bleacher Fan will argue that Vick has done enough to warrant being named the starter while Babe Ruthless believes Kolb deserves to keep his job as starting quarterback, provided he is healthy.

Vick or Kolb… who is it going to be?

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The Kevin Kolb Career Debate… Vick’s Not The Answer

September 21, 2010

Read the opposing argument from Babe Ruthless.

With everyone so high on Michael Vick right now it’s tough to imagine he was one of the most despised men in America just a few years ago. His actions caused former fans to burn his jersey and made him the punch line of countless jokes. Yet with two good performances on the books in the 2010 NFL season, everyone seems ready to forgive and forget his antics. I am not be so hasty.

Appearances May Be Deceiving

Contrary to popular belief, Michael Vick still can’t run with the big dogs. What, too soon? Well it’s true. He is completely overrated, and it is an absolute shame that Michael Vick had such a great game Sunday, because now Philly fans will expect outings like that all the time, and there is no way he keeps it up. Seriously, he just can’t do it.

Last Sunday Vick threw for 284 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. Projecting stats like those across the rest of the season Vick would have to throw for 3,976 yards and 28 touchdowns in the remaining 14 games. Those stats are completely implausible for Vick. Those numbers surpass his career bests (2,936 yards in 2002 and 20 passing touchdowns in 2006) by miles. Vick played a ridiculously great game… for Vick. But even that has to be put into context. Michael Vick was playing against the Detroit Lions. You know the same team that has only won two games in the last two seasons. So Vick’s numbers were somewhat inflated. It was one really good week playing a below average team that was getting his first start in years. While he is certainly a more than capable backup, he’s not the long term answer. Just like his Atlanta days, teams will figure him out, and when they do his numbers will come down to Earth… and Philly fans will eat him alive (a fitting punishment if I do say so myself).

You Can’t Teach An Old Dog Beater New Tricks

Expecting Michael Vick to behave is like expecting Kanye West to not be a jerk. It simply isn’t going to happen. Give Vick enough rope and he’s going to hang himself. How many second chances was he given in his Atlanta days before he ended up behind bars? Long before Vick’s dog fighting ring days he was making headlines for stupid actions which jeopardized his future with the team.

First there was the infamous herpes case, where Vick was accused of knowingly giving a sexual partner a sexually transmitted disease that he kept quiet about (Editor’s Note: Also inspiring Sports Geek’s fantasy football team name, Ron Mexico’s Puppy Farm.). And to think he didn’t try to parlay that into an endorsement deal. Then, he made headlines again for surrounding himself with friends that included former drug traffickers. He was even implicated in a scandal involving the theft of a very expensive watch and his posse of world class losers. Despite meetings with team officials about making good decisions for himself and his team, he continued to act irresponsibly. Later, Vick came under scrutiny for connections to drugs in 2007 after trying to sneak drugs past TSA agents in a Florida airport. While these actions may seem like small potatoes in comparison to his piece de résistance – his dog fighting ring – it proves that Vick has a long track record of being a world class loser. Vick’s track record has shown no signs of overcoming his character flaws even after his time in the slammer, so why should Andy Reid trust him to be better when he can’t even throw a birthday party without people getting shot. To trust him with the ball and the future of the Eagles’ organization makes about as much sense as hiring Lindsay Lohan as a motivational speaker.

Kolb is Still the Man

Everyone loves a winner and Vick’s wins have made it hard for fans to remember that he is still just a backup quarterback. Andy Reid is no fool. He was willing to deal Donovan McNabb, within the division no less. because he had faith in his starter – Kevin Kolb. Similarly, there is a reason that Andy Reid was willing to entrust the lesser experienced Kevin Kolb with the starting gig over the more experienced Vick. Clearly Reid likes what he saw in the sporadic playing time Kolb has had over the past few years. There is no doubt that his pocket passing ability will serve him well in Reid’s offense, which is made stronger by the acquisition of guys like DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin.

There is no controversy here. Vick himself admits he is okay with being Kolb’s backup, so all this hubbub is much ado about nothing. Andy Reid should not just discard all his plans because of one uncharacteristically good start by a backup, and one untimely concussion to his starter (and I’m not alone in this belief).

Taking nothing away from Vick, who is a more than capable backup quarterback and has the potential to be a starter elsewhere in the league, he just isn’t the guy the Eagles need right now. And for that matter, until he proves he is trustworthy (which his birthday blowout proved once again he’s not) he’s a risk for any organization for which he plays. Kolb was made for the Philly offense. The smart money is on the young man with a lot of upside, and both Andy Reid and Michael Vick have to know this.

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The Kevin Kolb Career Debate… Common Sense, or Kevin Kolb?

September 21, 2010

Read the opposing argument from Babe Ruthless.

I am going to assume that you travel the same way to work every day.

Let’s pretend that one day your normal route is closed due to construction, and you have to take a detour. But you find as you take this detour it is actually a faster route to take. It saves you time and money, and allows you to completely bypass traffic. So when the day comes where your “normal” route is opened back up, do you return to it just because that is what you had said your route to work was? Or do you stick with the new route, which has proven to be more successful today?

Obviously, you would choose the route that has PROVEN to be better, but that seems like a bit of common sense that passed Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid by.

Reid had a PLANNED offense that would rely on Kevin Kolb as the starting quarterback, and a PROVEN offense that has found success behind Michael Vick.

Kevin Kolb has a career passer rating of 67.8. Michael Vick’s passer rating since returning to the NFL is 103.3 (and is 76.8 over his career).

Kolb has played in 13 total NFL games, started only two of them, and has a career record of 1-1. Vick has played in 88 games, starting 68 of them, and has a career record of 38-28-1.

Kolb, over his career, has thrown only 140 passes. Vick has completed more than 140 passes in four out of his six seasons as an NFL starter.

Kolb has thrown for only four touchdowns and seven interceptions in his career. Vick has, in only one and a half games this season, thrown for three touchdowns and zero interceptions (and has 75 TDs and only 52 interceptions in his career).

Kolb is an unproven backup, recently promoted into a starting role simply on prospect and practice performance. Vick is a three-time Pro Bowler with both regular season and post-season success under his belt.

Should I continue? I didn’t think so.

It seems ridiculous that this would even be a question, yet Andy Reid was foolishly risking his own job by insisting that Kevin Kolb remain the starter.

I completely understand that Kevin Kolb is an exciting prospect in the Reid’s eyes. I also respect Reid’s desire to avoid a messy quarterback controversy, and my intention is not to knock Kolb for his limited opportunity, or to imply that he will be a failure in the NFL. But is it really a controversy when there is such a clear one-sided favorite? Reid is actually CREATING the controversy by keeping Vick on the sidelines.

Facts are facts, and the reality for Andy Reid is that he is right now choosing to stick with a quarterback who is essentially no more experienced than rookie Sam Bradford, and who has performed as an average (at best) quarterback when he HAS played… even when he has a guy sitting on the sidelines who has proven that he is ready to not only compete, but actually WIN in the NFL.

So what sense could it possibly make to keep Vick on the sidelines?

Andy Reid made a gutsy call this off-season when he let Donovan McNabb go. That decision immediately put him on the hot seat, especially playing in a city like Philadelphia where the fans demand nothing short of their own versions of success. Although Reid had said he believes Kolb is the future of the Eagles franchise, Michael Vick right now is not only playing better than Kolb, he is playing better than all but the most elite of quarterbacks in the NFL.

That is like turning down a free cut of filet mignon because you heard that the vegan menu might be better for you in the long run.

So far this season, Vick has thrown for 459 yards (the 11th most in the NFL, on a full half less playing time than everyone else on the leaderboard) on 43 completions, for four touchdowns and no picks. He has also rushed for 140 yards.

His 105.5 passer rating so far this season is fourth best in the NFL. There are also only nine quarterbacks with more touchdown passes than Vick, and only one of those nine (Peyton Manning) can also boast no interceptions.

Michael Vick has started the season as one of the top quarterbacks in the league. The decision to keep his PROVEN success on the bench, just because some THINK Kevin Kolb will be better, is one that SHOULD cost you your job. Every day that goes by where Reid sticks with Kolb put him one day closer to that inevitability.

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The NFL Training Camp Hottest Coaching Seat Debate… Reid’s Hopes Pinned on Eagles’ Wings

July 26, 2010

Read the opposing arguments from Loyal Homer and Sports Geek.

Andy Reid tried to get by without Donovan McNabb once before.

How did that work out for him? Backup quarterback Kevin Kolb passed for only 73 yards, zero touchdowns, and two interceptions on 23 passing attempts. Reid immediately went back to McNabb the following week, and McNabb responded by leading the Eagles through the rest of the season and into the NFC Championship game.

Now Reid and his Philadelphia Eagles have once again made the decision to put their franchise in the hands of Kolb, only this time Reid no longer has McNabb as a safety net. Should Kolb – who despite some impressive numbers in his few career starts is still an unproven quarterback – prove to be a bust as the full-time starter in Philly, the responsibility falls squarely on Andy Reid’s shoulders.

The problem for Reid is that Kolb used to be the insurance policy. Donovan McNabb was the face of the Eagles franchise for the last decade, and he was extremely successful during his time in Philadelphia. During his ten seasons in Philly McNabb was a six-time Pro-Bowler and he lead his team to eight different playoff appearances, including five NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl.

There can be little doubt that McNabb was a bit time contributor in Philadelphia and is due much of the credit for their successes over the past decade.

Now that McNabb is gone, Kolb is no longer the insurance policy. And the situation at the quarterback position is MUCH different today.

Last season the Eagles touted a quarterbacking corps that was envied around much of the NFL. At starter was a Pro-Bowl quarterback with a very serviceable back up and a former superstar who is trying to break his way back into the league. This season, however, the Pro-Bowl quarterback is out of the equation and the team is left simply with a recently promoted (but still unproven) starter, and a guy who has essentially not played substantial football since the 2006 season.

In fairness, Kolb is not set up for failure with the Eagles. He will have some of the brightest young talent in the league at his disposal with guys like DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy, and Jeremy Maclin. All three of those weapons are extremely fast and athletic. Kolb, who has demonstrated very solid passing accuracy, should have no problem in getting the ball to them in open field.

This is a franchise where the leadership (and fans) have grown accustomed to the playoffs, and the fact that Donovan McNabb is no longer the quarterback will not be considered an acceptable excuse for failure.

The Eagles reside in one of the most competitive divisions in the NFL, and during this most recent off-season the head coach sent the superstar quarterback to play for a division rival, which happens to now be coached by a two-time Super Bowl Champion (something that Reid himself has yet to accomplish).

It is now up to Andy Reid to prove that he made the right decision, as his future in Philadelphia hinges on the success or failure of an untested, unproven Kevin Kolb.

Seats don’t get much hotter than that!

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The Best Game of THIS Weekend Debate – Battle for NFC East Supremacy in Philly

November 6, 2009

Read the arguments by Sports Geek and Bleacher Fan about which games they believe will be the best games of THIS weekend.

It is finally Friday, and with no postseason baseball most sports fans across the country are focusing solely on football this weekend. There are some decent games in college this week, including an important one down in Tuscaloosa. There are a handful of exciting matchups in the NFL, too, scattered across the dial. But the matchup that I believe is the best game of THIS weekend is the NFC East showdown in the city of Brotherly Love between the hated Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles.

About three weeks ago this matchup did not look like it was going to be much of anything. The Eagles just laid a big time egg in Oakland, and Dallas was on a bye week preparing for the then 4-1 Atlanta Falcons. But Philly got two division wins against the Redskins and the Giants, while the Cowboys scored an impressive win over Atlanta and followed it up with a relatively easy victory over the Seahawks. Now both teams enter with identical 5-2 records with first place in the NFC East on the line.

One of the biggest surprises of the season for me has been the emergence of Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin. I always envisioned him as a third receiver at best, but he has risen up to be the Cowboys best receiver and if he keeps it up he is got a shot at making the Pro Bowl. He has 482 yards receiving with five touchdowns in his last three games. These stats represent what Roy Williams was supposed to do, but he continues to have difficulty getting on the same page with quarterback Tony Romo. Nonetheless, the Cowboys are playing well on offense right now, but it will be a challenge going up against an Eagles defense that has given up more than 17 points once all season (in a week two loss to the New Orleans Saints).

I really like the Eagles young group of receivers. Big play receiver (and sometimes rusher) DeSean Jackson has teamed with rookie Jeremy Maclin to form one of the more exciting receiving duos in the league. Both are capable of hauling in the long ball, and these guys have really loosened the team up so much that Jackson performed a chest-bump with a usually subdued Andy Reid. Jackson now has six touchdowns of fifty yards or more, which is three short of breaking the NFL single-season record. That is also big for fantasy players that have Mr. Jackson on their teams (Loyal Homer just happens to be one of those players!) Another guy for the Eagles offense worth paying attention to is Brent Celek. He is probably the least known productive tight end in the league. Did you know that Celek has 37 catches?

The fact that this matchup is the NBC Sunday night game of the week just adds to the intensity. These teams really do not like each other and I do not believe Eagles fans like Cowboys fans that much either. It is sure to be an exciting game, and it is one I will definitely be watching Sunday night in prime time.

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The Who Should Have Signed Michael Vick Debate – If You’re Going To San Francisco…

August 17, 2009

Read Sports Geek’s argument that Minnesota was the best fit for Michael Vick and Bleacher Fan’s argument that Tampa Bay was the best fit.

If you had your television or computer on at all this weekend, or if you have been conscious at any point since Thursday night, you know that “free agent” quarterback Michael Vick has signed with the Philadelphia Eagles. You have also probably seen the footage of him practicing at Eagles camp, and you have probably read the quotes from head coach Andy Reid and from Eagles players about how much he brings to the table. Whether or not he is a good fit in the city of Brotherly Love has been debated over and over. Will he be a backup to Donavan McNabb? Does the West Coast offense maximize his potential? Can offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg create plays for him to showcase his talent? The list goes on and on. The Sports Debates is glad Vick is back in the league. He brings buzz to football, and we are excited to see #7 do what he does best. But, instead of debating his situation, we are going to step back and debate which team should have signed Vick. What team is truly the best fit for him? Sports Geek will argue Minnesota is the best fit, while Bleacher Fan will argue Tampa Bay would have been the best fit for the artist formerly known as Ron Mexico. I will argue San Francisco should have done their best to get Vick.

Being in the southeastern part of the country, I do not hear a lot about the San Francisco 49ers anymore. Obviously, I used to back in the 1980’s and 1990’s, during the heyday of the organization. The days of Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, and Steve Young are gone. These are the days of Shaun Hill, a way past his prime Isaac Bruce, and a hot-headed Vernon Davis. In fact, look at the depth chart. Does that team intimidate you? Does it have that buzz factor? The buzz surrounding the 49ers these days is the ridiculousness of Michael Crabtree. Adding Vick to the team would be a spark to the organization and give the team the league wide buzz they need since being on the west coast the 49ers sometimes seem to get lost in the shuffle.

On the field, his addition would be huge. Where he is a clear backup quarterback in Philadelphia behind Donavan McNabb, he would have had a chance to battle Shaun Hill and Alex Smith for the starting quarterback position. Imagine Vick teaming up with Crabtree (assuming he signs eventually). That could have been a potent combination. Even if he were not named starter, he still could spruce up the offense though. By all accounts, Vick appears to be in excellent shape and he claims to still have the same speed. Also, head coach Mike Singletary is trying to rebuild the 49ers and change their image and attitude. While the expected protests by the Humane Society and various animal rights groups would happen (and they will happen in Philly, also), I think that signing Vick would have taken the organization forward. He would not be expected to be a life saver because the 49ers are not that far away from being a playoff contender. They showed strides in the second half of the season (they went 5-4) under Singletary as he tries to find players that he can win with (as opposed to “Can’t Win with Them”).

While he may end up being a good fit in Philadelphia, I feel like he would have been better suited for San Francisco. The media and fan scrutiny in Philly is going to be off the charts, and he is going to be thrown right into the heat of arguably the league’s most competitive division – the NFC East. Dallas, Washington, and New York all promise to bring more scrutiny than Arizona, Seattle, and St. Louis would have!

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