Sunday's game between the Eagles and Cardinals offers many subplots but none more significant than quarterbacks Michael Vick and Kevin Kolb facing off for the first time.
Once teammates, Kolb opened the 2010 season as the Eagles' presumptive heir to Donovan McNabb. Vick, despite having more experience as a starter, was his backup.
But then Clay Matthews happened. In the opener, the Green Bay linebacker drove Kolb's head into the ground, the quarterback left with a concussion and Vick jumped in and never looked back.
"I try not to live in the past, but that Green Bay game -- I never thought I would be going into that game and playing in that game," Vick said Wednesday. "I never knew what my career was going to be like or how it was going to take off and how it was going to go."
Vick started the following week against the Lions as Kolb recovered, and the Tuesday following the game Reid shocking ditched his original plan and named Vick his starter.
Kolb said he no longer thinks about what might have happened had Matthews not injured him that game.
"I really haven't thought about it since I left there," Kolb said during a conference call with Philadelphia-area reporters. "It all happens for a reason. That's the way I go about life."
Both quarterbacks have traveled rocky roads since then. Kolb, traded to Arizona last July, suffered another concussion with the Cardinals in 2011 and saw his replacement, John Skelton, have greater success. Skelton even beat the Eagles in Philadelphia in a game that was supposed to feature the return of Kolb.
Vick led the Eagles to the playoffs in 2010 -- with an assist from Kolb, who came back to start and win when Vick injured his ribs -- but he also took a step back in 2011.
Despite a horrendous opening game this season, Vick and the Eagles are 2-0. And Kolb, who lost his job to Skelton during the preseason, has found himself on the other end of the stick. When Skelton left the Cardinals' opener with an ankle sprain, Kolb jumped in and guided Arizona past the Seahawks and then followed up with an impressive win over the Patriots this past Sunday.
"I really hadn't thought about it until somebody asked me about it yesterday," Kolb said. "It is somewhat ironic. I'm just taking it game-by-game, though, play-by-play. I've learned through my time in Philly and through my time here, I'm not going to try and predict anything."
Kolb said that he remained close with several of his former Eagles teammates.
"Kevin is a good quarterback. I'll always feel that way," Eagles tight end Brent Celek said. "You could just see that when he came the last few weeks he's played well. Sometimes you just need a certain opportunity and when you get you time you got to shine. And I think he's done that over these last few weeks.
"Hopefully, we can take him down. I'm friends with him, but not this week."
-- Jeremy Maclin's hip pointer is still tender and the wide receiver won't practice Wednesday. Andy Reid said that Maclin felt better on Tuesday, but that he was still not healthy enough to suit up. Maclin suffered his second hip bruise of the season on Sunday when he blocked a Ravens player. He said after the game that he was in more pain than he was after he initially injured his hip in the opener against the Browns.
Maclin's availability for Sunday's game won't likely be known until close to game-time. If he can't go, rookie Damaris Johnson will likely start in his place opposite DeSean Jackson. The Eagles will be without receiver Riley Cooper (broken collarbone) for the third straight game. He said Wednesday that he hopes to be back by the N.Y. Giants game on Sept. 30.
-- King Dunlap's hamstring strain has improved, Reid said, but the coach said it was still a stretch that his starting left tackle will be ready by Sunday. Demetress Bell will take reps in his place this week at practice and will start if Dunlap can't go.
-- Colt Anderson will also miss Wednesday's practice, Reid said. The safety hyperextended his knee against the Ravens. The Eagles dressed four safeties on Sunday. If Anderson has to sit out against the Cards, David Sims will be the third safety behind starters Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman.
-- Also from those three players, every other player will practice on Wednesday, Reid said.