The League

Leonard Shapiro

Leonard Shapiro

Washington Post sports reporter, editor and columnist who has served on the NFL HOF Selection Committee.

The people's choice


So maybe this is what Andy Reid had in mind all along when he spurned conventional wisdom and decided to trade Donovan McNabb to the Redskins in the offseason.

Maybe he was willing to take some early heat if McNabb's heir apparent, Kevin Kolb faltered out of the gate. And maybe he also saw something in Michael Vick last year that gave him an easy out in case Kolb played poorly, or was injured.

This past Sunday in a season-opening loss to Green Bay, Kolb was two for two. He played lousy and also suffered a concussion on a day when he and Vick actually were alternating at the position even before he got hurt. With Kolb planted on the bench in the second half, Vick very nearly brought the Eagles back from an early deficit, looking very much like the quarterback he used to be in Atlanta pre-dog fighting conviction and jail sentence.

One game obviously does not make a season, and despite Reid insisting that Kolb is still the starting quarterback, Vick almost certainly will start and perhaps finish at Detroit on Sunday. With a similar display of accurate passing and daring sprints down the field, just like the good old days in Atlanta, Vick would make it terribly difficult on Reid to start Kolb again when, and if, he gets healthy.

It's still mystifying as to why Reid and the organization gave up on McNabb in the first place, let alone traded him to a division rival. And if you don't think Philly's fanatical fans won't be up in arms and calling for Reid's head if McNabb and the Redskins beat their team on Oct. 3 in Philadelphia, you've never had the displeasure of listening to that city's venomous sports talk shows.

Why would anyone be surprised that Vick can still play? He just turned 30 in June, had a couple of years in forced exile from the game to heal body and hopefully once warped mind, and was always a consummate athlete capable of wondrous feats on the field. He had a year to learn the Eagles' system last season, and with McNabb gone and Kolb struggling, after last Sunday he's obviously the people's clear choice to be the starter.

Could all of this have been part of a stealthy Andy Reid master plan for the Eagles, the better to get people excited about his team again and forget about McNabb? Oh please. I don't believe that for a minute. But don't you know it just might turn out that way in the end?

By Leonard Shapiro  |  September 16, 2010; 9:53 AM ET  | Category:  Leonard Shapiro , Michael Vick , Philadelphia Eagles Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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