In what was maybe the most Un-Andy Reid move of all time, the coach named Michael Vick as the starting quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles just a couple days after affirming that Kevin Kolb would get his job back after he was cleared to play. Here are the highlights from a very surreal press conference.
First, his opening remarks.
"Alright, appreciate you guys showing up. I'm obviously here to announce that [QB] Michael Vick will be the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. I think his play has even exceeded expectations over the last two weeks. This has nothing to do with [QB] Kevin Kolb's injury. Kevin Kolb has done a phenomenal job for us here and the future of Kevin Kolb is not slighted by this one bit. He has an opportunity, obviously, to be, what I would consider, a franchise quarterback and deserving of so. Again, this is more about Michael Vick and his accelerated play. He's sitting there as possibly the hottest quarterback in the National Football League at this time and deserves an opportunity to play. It also allows Kevin to continue as a young quarterback in the National Football League, his maturation process, and, again, to become a franchise quarterback in the future."
On what Kolb's reaction was:
"Listen, Kevin Kolb is one of the most competitive guys I've ever been around. Kevin Kolb wants to be the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles and so I wouldn't expect anything less from him. He's also a team player, so he accepted it. I'm not going to tell you that he doesn't want to be the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles."
On what he says to any criticism about Kolb only getting one half to play:
"This isn't about judging Kevin. Listen, Kevin is going to be a fine quarterback in the National Football League; a championship-caliber quarterback. The thing that you find with young quarterbacks. This is the way it is with every quarterback that I've studied in the National Football League - you need to be allowed a maturation process; an opportunity to mature. When you have somebody that's sitting in that role or has been given an opportunity to play in the game that is playing at the level that Michael Vick is playing, then Michael Vick deserves the opportunity to continue to do that."
On how much the offensive line played into this decision:
"This had nothing to do with the offensive line."
On all of the time spent laying the groundwork for Kolb to be the team's starting quarterback:
"I didn't expect, obviously, the accelerated play of Michael. I mean, he's playing exceptional football right now. I think that's obvious to everybody."
On what stood out about Vick's play:
"I think very few quarterbacks can go out and play the way he played the last couple of weeks, and some of the things that he did. One of the questions we had about Michael Vick was, and has been a question throughout his career, ‘is can he be a pocket passer?' I think you saw Michael Vick, under duress, was able to move, maintain his eyes down the field, and make throws down the field. He's one of the top third-down throwers in the National Football League right now, and help this football team, obviously, win games."
On Vick's pocket presence and whether it is the difference between the player he was in Atlanta and the player he is now:
"Here's what I know: Michael Vick has worked so hard at the smaller parts of his game, that being one of them. And he is so diligent with everything that he's done, and it's been a neat thing to watch. And both he and Kevin are so close. They do everything together. They study together, they work together. I think Michael's experience has been tremendous for Kevin. But, yes, that's one of the things that I think he's worked at hard, becoming a pocket passer, he's done a nice job with it. Now that's not saying we don't tell him not run the football, we tell him go play the game, and if you're going to run, though, keep your eyes down the field. He's done a phenomenal job of that."
On how much he takes in the consultation of upper management, coaches and players:
"Listen, I think I had to make this decision. I've had the full support of the front office. I counseled with [GM] Howie Roseman today and bounced some things off of him, but the first person I met with on this decision was Kevin Kolb. That's the first person I talked to. And I met with him the last two days, and we shared thoughts. He's a young quarterback that I think the sky's the limit for. He's just in a situation where he's got an ex-superstar that now has regained his abilities, and it's really that simple. Michael Vick is playing out of his mind right now, and that's a beautiful thing. What a lucky franchise and a lucky head coach I am to have two quarterbacks that I feel that way about. I mean it's unbelievable."
On how much Vick's performance surprised him:
"I've watched this whole picture evolve here. I've watched him come in 20 lbs. overweight and work his tail off to get himself back this offseason. He started the day after the season ended, and he concentrated on getting himself in phenomenal shape. He came back and he had some rough goes in training camp. It wasn't a pretty picture, but he worked through it. He worked and attacked the issues that he was having problems with and then when he had an opportunity, he came in the game, he played very well. I will tell you he's playing at a high level, one of the higher levels that I've seen him play at. When I say that's a beautiful thing, that's what I mean by this. I'm sitting here and I'm telling you I've got two quarterbacks that I feel I can go win football games with and compete for a championship in the National Football League. There are some coaches that can't sit here and tell you that."
On whether he felt the team would not have been able to grow with Kolb at quarterback:
"Well, the team had seen, obviously, the great play by Michael Vick, just like you saw it, and I saw it. And so that's part of this decision."
On whether he is comfortable with Vick becoming the face of the franchise:
"One of the great things about America is you're given a second chance if you handle it the proper way. And I've mentioned this before, I think he's handled this the proper way. I think his teammates would all stand up for him, just as they would Kevin Kolb, but they would stand up for Michael for what he's tried to do in changing his life around, and I know I sit here and do the same."
On whether he is riding the hot hand:
"I will tell you, I think it's a great thing how he's playing. I think we all sat there on Sunday and went ‘wow, this guy is back, and maybe even a little bit better,' and that's a beautiful deal. I think that's a beautiful deal."