- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 22, 2010

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The decision to make Michael Vick the starting quarterback means Andy Reid wasn’t fibbing about one thing: the Philadelphia Eagles aren’t in rebuilding mode.

After insisting all along that Kevin Kolb would start when he returned from a concussion, and one day after saying Vick was going back to the bench despite two dazzling performances, Reid changed his mind.

Why?

Vick gives the Eagles (1-1) a better chance to win in a division that lacks a dominant team. A three-time Pro Bowl pick with Atlanta, Vick is playing at an even higher level now, even though he missed two years and saw limited action last season.

The Eagles play at Jacksonville (1-1) on Sunday.

“There’s not a thing that changed with Kevin Kolb,” Reid said Wednesday. “This was all about Michael Vick and the way he has played the game. It’s that simple. He has played as outstanding as any quarterback in the league to this point.

“He exceeded even my expectation. Kevin Kolb has a bright, bright future. My feelings about Kevin haven’t changed one bit. But Michael has surprised all of us with his play.”

Vick has thrown for 459 yards and three touchdowns, run for 140 yards, and posted a completion percentage of 63.8 and passer rating of 105.5 in 1 1/2 games.

Still, Reid’s reversal stunned the football world because he was so adamant about his support for Kolb. The veteran coach dismissed any suggestion of a quarterback controversy, and never wavered each time someone asked if Vick had a chance to win the starting job.

“Let me say it again. I know I’m using poor English. Kevin Kolb is the No. 1 quarterback,” Reid said on Sept. 13.

He reiterated that point several times until switching to Vick on Tuesday, about 30 hours after telling reporters that Kolb would start at Jacksonville on Sunday. Reid then mulled it over and made the move after discussing it first with Kolb and then the front office.

Even Vick was taken aback.

“I was surprised,” Vick said. “But at the same time, I’m grateful for the opportunity and very humbled by the opportunity.”

Critics are questioning Reid’s integrity because it appears he wasn’t being forthright with the media, though it’s possible he simply changed his mind overnight after carefully studying his options. His reputation has taken a hit publicly, and some of his players may lose trust in him because he went back on his word.

“If I’m the bad guy, I’m OK with that,” Reid said. “I think it’s important the players know I’m going to do what I think is right for them. How I’m perceived outside of them, that’s not my concern.”

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