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News » Kolb: The answer now?

Kolb: The answer now?

Kolb: The answer now?
Having served from 1998-2007 on the Eagles coaching staff, few people know the inner workings of Philadelphia's Andy Reid regime better than John Harbaugh.

So it's instructive to consider what Harbaugh, in his first season as the Ravens head coach, thought Sunday after Reid told Donovan McNabb to grab some bench and put heir apparent Kevin Kolb at quarterback for the second half of what became Philadelphia's 36-7 loss to Baltimore.

"I was surprised," Harbaugh said. "I'm sure something happened to Donovan, injury-wise.

"I had no idea what happened. I was talking to Ray [Lewis, the Ravens' linebacker] in the second half, and Ray felt like one time we got to him and he was hurt a little bit. My guess is that's probably what happened."

No, for the first time since McNabb became the starter in 1999 during the latter half of Reid's first season as Eagles coach, he was removed from a game because of performance.

"It was something that needed to be done at the time," said Reid, whose team trailed 10-7 when McNabb was benched. "I'll evaluate it and see what needs to be done here for this game coming up on Thursday."

The evaluation likely will have been completed and acted on by the time you read these words, because as Reid noted, there is precious little time for him to get a quarterback ready for the Thanksgiving night home game against the Arizona Cardinals.

And regardless of what Reid and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg will say about the offense staying the same whether McNabb or Kolb quarterbacks, the decision isn't that simple.

Going with Kolb likely means more of a game plan heavy with sprintouts and rollouts and quick releases of passes ? almost like one of those game plans that worked so well for Jeff Garcia late in 2006 ? than one relying on the pocket-passing style that McNabb and the Eagles have settled into in recent seasons.

But big-picture implications overshadow that.

McNabb has been the face of the Eagles franchise since 1999, and on Sunday that face's usual smile disappeared quickly. Although McNabb said he was not thinking at all about the long-term future, one can't help but wonder what was really going through his mind.

And through Reid's mind. And through the minds of Eagles owner Jeff Lurie, president Joe Banner and general manager Tom Heckert.

At a time when the Eagles could have used an early-round pick to address more immediate pressing needs, they traded down to the second round and selected Kolb there in the 2007 draft.

McNabb reiterated Sunday that he plans to be in Philadelphia for a long time. But regardless of how Kolb played ? and so-so is a generous assessment -- in his first appreciable regular-season action, any long-term future the Reid regime might have includes Kolb somewhere in the starting quarterback role.

Nobody knows that better than running back Brian Westbrook, who appears to have a far more secure future with the Eagles organization than anyone other than Lurie.

So as with Harbaugh's take, it's instructive to consider the diplomatic assessment Westbrook offered on Sunday's events.

"I felt we were still in the game, and I was hoping [Kolb] could get us going," Westbrook said. "We have a lot of confidence in Kevin Kolb, and we thought he could help. I am supportive of Donovan McNabb as a friend and a player, and I also am supportive of Kevin Kolb as a friend and a player. They are both good quarterbacks. We need to find a way to pull together as a team."

At 5-5-1 and with another last-place finish in the NFC East just a 2-3 or even 3-2 finish away, this particular Eagles team has little future of note.

The decision Reid was to make overnight could go a long way in determining whether there is much of a future in Philadelphia for McNabb ? and perhaps even for Reid himself.






Zero points, just one touchdown in the last nine quarters. Ouch!


Didn't get pressure on rookie QB Joe Flacco, and couldn't stop Ravens' rushing attack.


Maybe raised its level to impress its former boss. Except for blocked punt allowed, it was Eagles' lone bright spot.


Andy Reid said a loss like this reflects directly on the head coach. No arguing that.


Larry O'Rourke

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 26, 2008

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