It’s amazing what one week can do to a team.
Heading into the Washington Redskins game, the Eagles were riding high after back to back wins against the Lions and Jaguars. Michael Vick was the MVP of the NFL during that two week span and it seemed like the 2010 season wasn’t going to be a complete bust. In a season full of turnarounds, Andy Reid named Michael Vick the starter before the Redskins game and the Eagles went into the game with their chins held high.
Similar to what happened to open the season, a season that was held to shockingly high expectations with the Kevin Kolb era beginning, Michael Vick (who was now the Eagles guy) got hit. And he got hit hard. Now Andy Reid and the Eagles are back to square one with Kevin Kolb. However this time it wasn’t by choice and both the fans and the players fully understand just how different of a start this will be for Kevin Kolb.
Kolb will be making his fourth career start for the Eagles. Just a week after the organization was quick to rid him of his starting job, he is back in the hot seat. But with an Eagles team that is certainly more than just a quarterback, who is the pressure really on—Kolb or Andy Reid?
It was Andy Reid who was confident enough in Kolb’s future to let go of Donovan McNabb and welcome a new beginning. And just over a week ago it was Andy Reid who gave up on Kolb without really giving him a chance to defend himself. Also, the Eagles have a lot more problems than the quarterbacking debacle. Andy Reid is not the quarterbacks coach—he is the head coach and is responsible for all aspects of the team. The Eagles defense has been pretty horrendous and the offensive line even worse than that.
On the flip side, Kevin Kolb has yet to prove that he deserves to be the starting quarterback for the Eagles. Before getting knocked out of the Packers game, he was a mere 5 for 10 and couldn’t get anything going on offense. This past Sunday, he looked even worse when he came in for the injured Michael Vick. How do the Eagles run an effective offense when 20 of his 27 completed passes went for five yards or less? The Texan who was born to run the west coast offense has been running the Eagles offense into the ground. Can he not handle the pressure of the big stage? Is he just not as good as people thought he was?
The most terrifying part of this debacle is that the Eagles are in the easy part of their schedule right now. The San Francisco 49ers were supposed to be the best team in the NFC West (which isn’t saying much). Even though they are 0-4, they still have a lot of options on offense in Frank Gore, Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree. After this weekend, the Eagles face Atlanta (3-1) and Tennesee (2-2) before the bye week. After that, every team they play is either .500 or better right now. With Vick most likely out until after the bye week with his rib injury, this stretch of games coming up before the bye week are must-wins for the Eagles. So with all that said it goes back to the question of who is under a brighter spotlight—Kevin Kolb or Andy Reid?
As close as it is considering it’s easy to blame everything on the head coach, I am going to go with Kevin Kolb. If he wants to be the Eagles starter one day (or a starter anywhere in the NFL), he needs to start winning some games. What happened to the Kevin Kolb who became the first player to ever throw back to back 300 yard games in his first two career starts? Was that a fluke? I thought I saw a future after watching him in training camp in August. There seemed to be chemistry with his receivers that day that has seemed to fade since the start of preseason. He is afraid to make plays. When he finally does decide to go after those plays (which happened a few times against Washington), he was far from accurate. If there is any position in the NFL that requires confidence, it is the quarterback. He does not look like he is trusting his receivers or himself every time he drops back.
Andy Reid is a winner. There’s no denying the amount of success he has brought the franchise in his long year tenure with the organization. Even though he has yet to get a ring, he has created one of the most consistent franchises in sports. However, there’s an overwhelming amount of fear and questioning with this Eagles team that I haven’t seen in the past. Most of it has to do with the lack of a stable quarterback, but every aspect of the team seems to have its own set of question marks. Maybe the Eagles aren’t as good this year as people thought they were. There’s something, and I would argue a lot of things, that are off about the team that Andy needs to fix.
Something needs to change. The Eagles can’t go into games every week with skepticism about their different units. They are playing was too inconsistently to compete at the top level, a level that I think they have the ability to be at when clicking on all cylinders. Whether it’s Kolb or Reid, something needs to change and something needs to change fast.
Other News and Notes for Sunday’s game:
-According to ESPN.com, Andy Reid said that LeSean McCoy is a “full-go” for Sunday night’s game against the Niners. He has a cracked rib and is expected to split time with Mike Bell. Bell has struggled all year on short-yardage opportunities, but should see more action this week than in past games.
-Moise Fokou was announced the starter at linebacker instead of Akeem Jordan. Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott said that Fokou’s size should be a nice compliment to a speedy defense. The Eagles have struggled against the run and it doesn’t help that they will face Frank Gore and former Eagle Brian Westbrook.