It's come to this: Andy Reid would rather throw away the carefully developed long-term plan for his team and more than $10 million of his boss's money than run the football.
That's one way to look at his myopic decision to start Michael Vick over Kevin Kolb. ESPN's Sal Palantonio reported yesterday that team sources told him the sorry state of team's offensive line was a factor in the Big Avocado's decision to bench Kolb. Vick is more likely to escape the pass-rushers the Eagles' porous O-line -- the decline of which is the result of Reid's questionable personnel decisions, from the Andrews brothers saga to Jason Peters and the failure to make the line a priority in recent drafts -- allows to swarm the QB than Kolb, who's much less mobile and already suffered a concussion. Of course, Reid could protect Kolb by running the ball and providing him with more blockers on pass plays -- you know, game-planning -- but where's the fun in that?
All these years Reid has been so stubborn, resisting pressure from fans and media commentators who harped on his pathological refusal to run the ball, pointed out that James Thrash and Todd Pinkston weren't starting NFL players or questioned the logic of helming the most pass-heavy West Coast offense in league history with an inaccurate QB. Now, when the stubborness to stick to a plan would have actually done him some good, he abandoned it.
The players in the locker room -- who like Reid (and the usual suspects on TV like Deion Sanders and Michael Irvin) are drawn to Vick's talent like 2-year-olds to a choo-choo train --may like the decision to go with the more dynamic player, but in the long term Reid's relationship with his players is likely to suffer. The Eagles brass already had a reputation for cold-hearted disloyalty. Soon the players will wonder whether they can trust a single word coming out of Reid or anyone in the front office's mouths. Reid said Tuesday that Kolb's future remains bright in Philadelphia. That's obvious, laughable BS. If Vick, whose contract expires at the end of the year, continues to play well, the Eagles will have no choice but to sign him to a longer-term deal. What are they going to do instead, let Vick walk and go with the QB who a) they jilted* and b) still hasn't gotten the chance to show whether he's the real deal?
Instead the Eagles, who finally had been on the cusp of turning over the offense to an accurate quarterback who can read a defense, appear to be marrying themselves to an athletic QB who's more than 30 years old and has never had a reputation for accuracy or sound decision-making, just like Donovan McNabb, the guy Reid jettisoned this offseason. It'll be exciting to watch Vick play, but Eagles fans aren't hungering for excitement. They want a championship.
Reid is off his moorings now. Is it possible this will work out, that a rejuvenated Vick will lead Eagles to the Super Bowl? Anything's possible. What's probable is that Reid's impulsive abandonment of the long-term plan for the franchise will lead to disarray and, ultimately, his own dismissal.
*What's worse, Lebron James' diss of Cleveland or waiting patiently for three years for your chance to start in the NFL, being told you're the guy, playing 15 offensive snaps, getting your face slammed into the turf by Clay Matthews, then being told you're headed back to the bench and realizing your best chance to be a starter is over before it really began? (It's likely Kolb will get another chance to play this season, since the chances that Vick will get hurt at some point are high, but whether he'll get to play enough to show what he can do is doubtful.)