Sunday, April 29, 2007

Drafting Kolb signals trouble

By Tim McManus
The Phanatic Magazine

This pick is disconcerting.

If there is anything to say about the relationship between Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb over the years, it's that it has been drenched in loyalty.

Reid was forced to defend McNabb from the moment he drafted him, and has continued to do so throughout their eight-year tenure together. That includes internally as well, not just to the hard-nosed fans and their representatives in the media.

Any time there has been dissension, a struggle for power, or even a threat of a threat to McNabb, Reid has swooped in to grab his star quarterback's back. The best example lies in very recent history, when the Eagles didn't even tender an offer to Jeff Garcia despite his efforts late last season.

The message from Reid, as always: Let there be no doubt, McNabb is the guy.

That mantra has been beat in with an iron fist, often in the name of quality talent and tender egos.

Why now, then, would there be such an egregious departure from that philosophy?

Houston's Kevin Kolb was on absolutely no one's radar when it came to the Eagles. After all, Kolb was a top-five signal caller in the draft by most accounts, and the Birds obviously had more pressing needs. Plus they had just recently traded for Kelly Holcomb while locking up A.J. Feeley with a long-term deal.

No room for another QB, really -- but now they're going to have to find some.

And the question I ask, along with thousands in the Delaware Valley today, is -- Why?

The most likely answer (close your eyes if you're not ready to accept this) is that the Eagles have little faith that McNabb will be the steward for both the immediate and distant future. More specifically, this certainly brings his health into question, and makes you wonder if there's information regarding his rehab that hasn't been divulged publicly.

"When your time comes, you have to be ready to jump in there and that could be any time," Kolb said in a conference call yesterday. "With injuries and football, you have to be ready at the flip of a switch."

Reid explained the pick afterwards as simply a matter of choosing the best player on the board.

With that decision, though, the Eagles neglected some very glaring holes to address a position that isn't expected to be vacant for a half-decade at the earliest. And, as this piece proves, the selection invites scrutiny of a man that Reid has spent his entire head-coaching career passionately protecting.

It doesn't make sense, unless there is another part of the story that has yet to come to light.


Tim can be reached at tmcmanus@phanaticmag.com
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