In what will likely go down as one of the more surreal press conferences ever held at the NovaCare Complex, Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid named Michael Vick as his starting QB. He made it clear that this wasn't because Kevin Kolb was still injured, that Michael Vick was indeed the Eagles starter for the rest of the season.
As the press conference went on, I didn't really find myself to reacting to what Reid was saying one because I was so blown away by the fact that this was all happening, and two because I was furiously blogging and tweeting everything he was saying. So, I figured I would take this time to really pick through what Andy had to say and decide what I'm buying and what I'm not.
"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.
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."
SELL! SELL!!! I don't buy this for a second. For one, this can be taken as nothing but a huge slight to Kolb. He was told that he was the starter in the offseason, the team even held a whole press conference to announce it. He went into camp and preseason as the starter. He started the first game but got hurt. The coach told both he and the media that he would be back as the starter only a few days ago... Then suddenly the coach turns around and says you're benched for the remainder of the season and that's not a slight? In what world?
The second part is Andy's assertion that it allows Kolb to "continue his maturation process." If he was a rookie or even a second year player, I'd get that... But this is Kevin Kolb's fourth year in the NFL. He's spent 3 seasons sitting on the sidelines learning. I really don't know what else there is for him to gain by sitting on the sidelines more. At this point in his development, if he's not getting in game experience he's got to be just spinning his wheels.
Andy was asked a few times about whether this move meant he was wrong to start Kevin Kolb in the first place or whether it meant Kolb wasn't ready...
"At the time, I told you what I believed. Obviously I'm not like - any of us - able to predict the future. I will tell you that Michael went out and, I thought, did an exceptional job the last couple of weeks. I think it's my responsibility as a head coach to evaluate the play of our players."
"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."
This I buy. When Andy says he didn't expect Michael Vick to play at the level he has the past two weeks, I totally believe him. Why? Because NO ONE expected Michael Vick to play like he has the past two weeks. Andy saw the same unsure, turnover prone guy we all saw in preseason. Vick really struggled. How could anyone have predicted he'd put it all together once the season started?
So there's no doubt in my mind that Vick's play came as a surprise to Andy and that is what really changed everything.
Andy was then asked 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."
BUY and I'll tell you why. Andy Reid really likes Michael Vick. I mean he likes him on a personal level. That's been obvious since the day Andy signed him. He's spoken over the past two years of his pride in seeing Michael turn his life around and his admiration of how hard he's worked. If I could play a little amateur psychologist here... we know that Andy Reid's children have had some issues with the law and other things. They've been in trouble. One really has to wonder if he sees Michael Vick as like a son to him. He really wants to see the redemption of Michael Vick as a person and a player. He might have a little more sympathy for a young guy that's gotten in trouble and he wants to show that these guys can be redeemed.
He alludes to this a little later.
"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."
Again, I think this is about more than just simply his play on the field.
Andy was later actually asked whether Kolb will play any snaps occasionally.
"Yeah, there's a chance he's in there, yeah."
I almost burst out laughing when I heard this... I don't think I even need to explain why I'm selling this one.
Was there anything Andy said that you thought was particularly true or false? You can check out more of his press conference here.