TOMORROW AT Tennessee, both Kevin Kolb and Michael Vick will be in uniform for the Eagles, and Kolb will start at quarterback, the first time all that has happened since the season opener.
What it all means going forward, we don't really know. We know that the Eagles listed Vick as "questionable" on the injury report even though they also listed him as a full practice participant Thursday and yesterday.
Clearly, even though Vick told reporters yesterday that he could "throw the ball full strength and effectively," he is not completely back to where he was before he got crunched between two Redskins on Oct. 3.
"I'm able to go out and suit up this week, so that says a lot," Vick said.
Neither Vick nor Eagles coach Andy Reid was willing to define a role tomorrow for Vick, who spent his practice time this week with the scout team. With the bye week next, it would be a surprise if Vick did much tomorrow.
"Whatever I'm asked to do, that's what I'm going to do," Vick said.
Reid said he'd "be pretty confident" in having Vick full-go coming back from the bye, which is when the league's most interesting quarterbacking situation really gets thorny, assuming Kolb and Vick leave Tennessee healthy.
This is new territory for everyone involved. On Thursday, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg told a reporter he was very thankful for the way Kolb and Vick have handled the shared job; Mornhinweg knows there would be extreme, publicly expressed unhappiness lots of other places.
"Obviously, there's been some good quarterbacks that played on the same team. I'm not sure it's happened in the same year, kind of the way we're doing it," Kolb said yesterday. "We keep the right mindset through the whole thing, although we both want to be out there. We'll continue to do that, and make sure the team comes first."
Vick, given the job when he looked spectacular against the Lions while Kolb recovered from a concussion suffered in the opener, said: "I'm not concerned at all" that Kolb is playing well. "Kevin goes out and plays when he has to play, I go out and play when I have to play. That's pretty much the way it's been. And we both enjoy playing the quarterback position, we have fun doing it, we take pride in what we do.
"Whatever my role is and whatever I'm asked to do, I'll do it. I've been on both sides of the fence, a starter and a backup, so like I said, I'm a total team player."
But Vick is 30 years old and the chance to start for the Eagles represents a long-cherished hope for redemption. Going back to the bench again would be a blow, would it not?
"It wouldn't be hard," Vick said. "I would continue to prepare and get myself ready to go. Obviously, Kevin's played great. [Vick would have to] maintain and stay focused and stay in tune with what we're doing, and just stay ready."
As Reid noted yesterday, Kolb will start for the third time in a row, the first time in his career he has done such a thing.
"You've seen him putting games together here, and that's the part he hasn't done, and I know that's the part he wants to do," Reid said. "He wants to build that resumé."
Kolb, 26, can make it very difficult for Reid to go back to Vick with a strong performance tomorrow. The last 2 weeks, he has completed 73.3 percent of his passes and compiled a 118.7 passer rating. That's outrageously good, even better than Vick was doing before he got hurt; Vick's exceptional mobility might not be enough to tip the scales back in his favor.
Kolb understood what Reid meant when he spoke of putting games together.
"Soon as you settle, you get embarrassed in this league," Kolb said. "There's too many good guys around, too many good defenses. If you're not totally prepared, then you're going to get embarrassed the next week. I'm looking for the next week, not the week behind."
After tomorrow, though, the next week is a big question.
A fine for Kolb
The NFL has fined Kevin Kolb $5,000 for his horse-collar tackle on Atlanta's William Moore after Moore intercepted a pass in Sunday's game.
Andy Reid said DeSean Jackson's "mind is clear," but Jackson has not passed the verbal concussion test that is a prerequisite for exercise. Reid said Jackson remains sore through the back and neck.
"He was upbeat today," Reid offered. "He was up, moving around. He feels a lot better today than he did [Thursday]."
Reid confirmed what had been assumed, that wide receiver Jackson, defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley (elbow) and left tackle Jason Peters (knee) will not play tomorrow.
Riding with the King
King Dunlap goes home to Nashville for his first road start this weekend, and Andy Reid said yesterday that it will be a new situation for the 6-9, 330-pound left tackle, who is starting for Jason Peters, in that the Titans have a full game of Dunlap on tape to pick apart as they prepare.
"He has to answer that challenge," Reid said. "He's worked his tail off this week and I think he's looking forward to going down there and playing and proving himself."
Dunlap said that while he knows the Titans have studied him, "the way we punch and the way we do things, we try to make them react to us. I don't really think about that, to try and change my game" because of tendencies an opponent might see. "I go out there and set and use my hands and do what I do," he said.
Ribs aren't done yet
LeSean McCoy has been able to play effectively the past 2 weeks with that fractured rib he suffered against the Redskins on Oct. 3, but McCoy acknowledged yesterday that he is not healed.
"You see it?" McCoy said, pointing to a raised area on his lower torso. "It hurts. I guess it just takes time. The X-rays say it's healing." *
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