Was the Vick QB Decision Made Over Andy Reid’s Head?
The news came to us in a short communique, via e-mail, at exactly 5:39 p.m. EST: The Philadelphia Eagles today announced that head coach Andy Reid has named Michael Vick as the team’s starting quarterback. Reid will be made available on a conference call tonight at 6:30 p.m.
At first, I thought it was a prank, that somebody had hacked into the Eagles system and sent it only to my sports talk radio station, 97.5 FM The Fanatic, where we’d react like some shoe-box bomb had gone off in the corporate bathroom and then run for cover. I thought it could have been an April Fools’ joke, and then I looked at my wallet calendar and saw it was September.
It was stunning news, especially coming in at that time. The Phillies were about to play the Atlanta Braves in the second game of their most important baseball series of the season. Andy Reid had already told us — BEFORE the Eagles even took on the Detroit Lions on Sunday that Kevin Kolb was cleared to practice and would be the starter the following week against Jacksonville. And he reaffirmed that at his normal Monday press conference.
So what happened between the time that Reid walked away from the podium on Monday, and 5:39 p.m. on Tuesday? Here are the theories:[SIGNUP]
A) A second look at the Detroit game film revealed that Vick was simply too good to pass up, that his acumen in the pocket and his ability to make plays outside the pocket playing in front of a porous offensive line convinced the brass that they’d have a better chance to win. At the same time, the coaches took the pulse of the locker room and came to the conclusion that the players were more confident with Vick. And those heavy discussions on Tuesday in the coaches’ think tank — the players don’t come into the Nova Care complex on Tuesday — led to the Vick announcement later that day.
B) The Eagles are hell-bent to get something of value out of Vick, and they need to play him several more games in order to trade him before the NFL trading deadline to some team in desperate need of a quarterback that might be willing to pay an inflated price. Remember, the Eagles tried to peddle Vick in the last off-season only to get paltry offers or no offers at all for the quarterback whose abilities at that time were simply a mystery. (That would seem unlikely though since, if Vick was playing well, the Eagles would probably be in a playoff race and trading your starting quarterback in the throes of a playoff race would be fan-base suicide).
C) This was a decision made above Andy Reid’s head by the front office, with involvement from the highest of high: team owner Jeffrey Lurie. Yeah, that’s what I’ve been told by some people in the know, that Lurie had everything to do with this decision. That the team owner sees the Eagles with Vick as the starter, as certainly a more viable and interesting asset, and one that has a better chance of winning more games this season. Remember, it was Lurie who authorized the Vick decision in the first place as some kind of social experiment — not unlike the one the Duke Brothers tried to pull of in the movie Trading Places — that might have gotten him consideration for the Nobel Prize. Now, it’s all that and a pack of beef jerky. Lurie’s in the “Pay Attention to Me” business. And with Vick as the starting quarterback, people are going to pay attention to the Philadelphia Eagles. And if you don’t think that means a lot to this football organization — in the face of another Phillies run to the World Series and the notion that the baseball club has taken over the sports dominance here — then it’s you who isn’t paying attention.
The Vick decision is a clear-cut indication that Andy Reid’s power in this organization has been severely diluted. I’m not buying for one second that this was a Reid decision. You don’t spend so much time and effort trying to convince the world that Kevin Kolb is the next Joe Montana, and then in one day, flip to the other guy. Andy Reid knows his place with the Eagles right now. He’s simply the coach. He collects a handsome paycheck. And he’s going to have to be satisfied with just that, as a new world order takes over: team president Joe Banner, hand-picked Banner protégé Howie Roseman, and — most especially — the team owner, Jeff Lurie, who we now learn is just as ego- and power-driven as Jerry Jones, just only from behind his foot-thick mahogany front door with the big, brass Eagle door knocker at his manse on the Main Line.
And what of Kevin Kolb? He may get a chance to play next year. He may not. If Vick plays out of his mind this year, the Eagles new starting quarterback may get himself a new contract, in which case Kevin Kolb will have collected approximately $12 million for playing one half of football and giving hand signals from the sidelines the rest of the time.
That’s good work kid, if you can get it.
Listen to MIKE MISSANELLI weekday afternoons on 97.5 The Fanatic.