In sports, the adage goes like this: A starter can’t lose his job through injury.
But what happens if Michael Vick plays well in place of injured starter Kevin Kolb on Sunday – say, he runs for 100 yards, throws for 250 and leads the Philadelphia Eagles to a victory over the Detroit Lions?
According to Eagles coach Andy Reid, nothing changes. Kolb is still the starter. But you can bet there will be a clamoring for Vick -- despite the baggage he’s carried since his prison term ended for his role in a dogfighting venture – if he has a worthy performance.
Kolb or Vick? The Eagles unloaded Donovan McNabb because they felt Kolb was ready to step forward, but Vick was a viable backup option. Although he has started twice as a wide receiver since signing with the team in 2009, this will be his first start at quarterback since 2006 when he played for the Atlanta Falcons.
At the very least, Vick will know where he stands after this game. If Kolb regains his starting spot – as he should – the game will be an audition for Vick, who has said he still considers himself a starting QB in the NFL, not a backup and not a gimmick player. Other teams will be watching closely with next year in mind.
He certainly sounded like a starter this week when he said, “This is a big game. It's not about me making my first start or none of that. I've put all of that aside. It's about us going on the road and trying to get a win. We need to go out there and get a win, that's what matters. Nobody wants to be 0-2.”
So while Kolb recovers from a concussion suffered in a season-opening loss to the Green Bay Packers, Vick will take center stage and try to prove to anyone who’s tuned in that he isn’t through. If he can present a few scheme problems to Lions coach and defensive guru Jim Schwartz, it would be his strongest statement yet that he’s still capable of being a starter.
Just probably not in Philadelphia – unless Andy Reid can be convinced otherwise.