Haran KnightCorrespondent ISeptember 16, 2010

1 Oct 2000: Quarterback Troy Aikman #8 of the Dallas Cowboys moves back to pass the ball during the game against the Carolina Panthers at the Ericsson Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Cowboys defeated the Panthers 16-13.Mandatory Credit: Craig Jones  /Allsport
Craig Jones/Getty Images

It’s understandable that people (locally and nationwide) think Michael Vick should be placed above Kevin Kolb on the depth chart at quarterback.


Vick’s experience and athletic ability give the Philadelphia Eagles a dynamic option on the field other teams should be envious about.  If we’re talking about winning now and putting the best players on the field, Vick is the right choice.


The problem with that is, like it or not, the Eagles took themselves out of the ‘win now’ conversation April 4, 2010 when Donovan McNabb was traded. 


Regardless of whether they were rebuilding or retooling, that trade was made with a mindset of investing for 2011 and beyond instead of an aggressive goal for 2010.


As fans we always want our team to win big every year.  The reality is, this year it’s just not going to happen in Philadelphia. The Eagles aren’t a Super Bowl team with Vick or Kolb under center.


Does it really make sense to start someone who has no chance of returning after this season (Jeff Laurie is not going to allow Vick to be re-signed) just to look exciting and competitive? I surely don’t think so.


I think the 2010 Eagles are an 8-8 team at best and that hasn’t changed.  Neither has my thought that Kolb is going to go through many growing pains this year.


After one half of horrendous play, people clamor about how Kolb stinks.  How do we know that?  That thought is the polar opposite of saying he’s going to be great because he’s the first QB to throw for 300 yards in his first two starts.  In the middle of these two extremes is a fact that we just don’t know yet.


What I do know is there are many quarterbacks before Kolb whose initial seasons as an NFL starter were atrocious.  Not first halves, SEASONS. Some are in the Hall of Fame and some of them are well on their way. Here’s a few of them.


  1. Troy Aikman (1989) 11 games; 155-293 for 1749 yards; 9 TD; 18 INT; 55.9 passer rating. A career 81.6 passer rating.  Never had a 4000 yard passing season.
  2. John Elway (1983) 11 games; 123-259 for 1663 yards; 7 TD; 14 INT; 54.9 passer rating.  Only one season with a passer rating over 90 (1993).  Who knew he’d walk away with two Super Bowl titles?
  3. Warren Moon (1984) 16 games; 259-450 for 3338 yards; 12 TD; 14 INT; 76.9 passer rating.  Never had a 16 game season with less than 14 INTs
  4. Steve Young (1986) 14 games; 195-363 for 2282 yards; 8 TD; 13 INT; 65.5 passer rating.  His legs couldn’t prevent concussions.  Ended up with the best ever career passer rating. Spent six years as Joe Montana’s backup.
  5. Jim Kelly (1986) 16 games; 285-480 for 3593 yards; 22 TD; 17 INT; 83.3 passer rating.  Spent first two professional years starting in USFL.


Potential Hall of Fame QB stats in their first full year as an NFL starter.


  1. Peyton Manning (1998) 16 games; 326-575 for 3739 yards; 26 TD; 28 INT (ouch!); 71.2 passer rating.  Won 3 games that year which is one of just two seasons in 12 years with less than 10 wins.
  2. Drew Brees (2002) 16 games; 320-526 for 3284 yards; 17 TD; 16 INT; 76.9 passer rating.  Following year was worse (67.5 passer rating) before 6 straight seasons of 89 passer rating or higher.  Mr. Who Dat got dismissed by the San Diego Chargers only to eventually win a Super Bowl elsewhere.


The bottom line is it’s going to take time for Kolb to improve.  There’s no guarantee that he’ll be great or horrible.  Yes, he’s 26 and is in his 4th year in the league, but he has minimal game experience. 


Not everyone starts off strong like Joe Montana, Tom Brady and Dan Marino.


Although preseason games don’t count, Andy Reid should’ve given Kolb more reps to better prepare him.  That’s another story for another article.


If the Eagles were to start Vick the rest of the season, the Eagles may make a playoff run. But, it’s likely they’d just miss out or lose a wildcard game.  After that, Vick leaves via free agency and Philly goes another year without a Super Bowl still trying to make Kolb a starter (again).


By starting Kolb, one of two things is going to happen.  1.) He’s going to have a decent season and the Eagles are going to be convinced he’s really the QB of the future. 2.)  He’s going to continue to regress and Philly will have a horrendous season.  If the latter happens the Eagles will have a top 10 (maybe top 5) pick in a 2011 Draft that projects to be strong in quarterbacks.


Having said that, the Eagles have no choice but to send Kolb on the field (when he’s healthy of course) and let him grow.  You never know, he may just end up in the Hall of Fame.