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Reid switches gears, picks Vick over Kolb as Eagles' QB

Michael Vick earned himself a starting job by being -- of all things -- a pocket passer.

Vick will take over as the Philadelphia Eagles' No. 1 quarterback, coach Andy Reid said Tuesday, one day after he announced he would go back to Kevin Kolb.

"When someone is playing at the level Michael Vick is playing, you have to give him an opportunity," Reid said. "This isn't about Kevin Kolb's play. You're talking about Michael Vick as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL right now."

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Vick is considered the greatest scrambling quarterback in NFL history, but he won the job over Kolb by demonstrating he no longer has a run-first mentality.

Kolb missed the last six quarters because of a concussion, and Vick played well in his absence. Kolb has been cleared to practice and was expected to run the first-team offense Wednesday.

"Kevin is fine. It's not an injury-related issue," Reid said. "It's not about judging him. He's going to be a championship-caliber quarterback."

Vick threw for 175 yards and one touchdown and ran for 103 yards in a 27-20 season-opening loss to the Green Bay Packers. He passed for 284 yards and two TDs in a 35-32 victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

Kolb started two games in his first three seasons before he became the Eagles' No. 1 quarterback after Donovan McNabb was traded to the Washington Redskins. Kolb struggled in the first half against the Packers in the season opener, but he became the first quarterback in league history to throw for 300 yards in his first two career starts last year.

Although the Eagles have been grooming Kolb to be their starter since drafting him in the second round in 2007, Vick forced Reid to make a difficult decision by playing better than he did when he was a superstar for the Atlanta Falcons.

"Michael did an exceptional job, and my job is to evaluate the players," Reid said. "It's my obligation to make the proper decision. ... Kevin Kolb has done an incredible job for us, and the future of Kevin Kolb is not slighted by this one bit. He has the opportunity to (become) a franchise quarterback. ...

"You're talking about Michael Vick as one of the best quarterbacks now in the National Football League, and I think that's the important thing to focus on."

Vick's start against the Lions was his first in nearly four years. A three-time Pro Bowl pick during six seasons with the Falcons, Vick missed two seasons while serving an 18-month sentence in federal prison for his role in a dogfighting operation. He signed a two-year contract with the Eagles before last season, then played sparingly behind McNabb and Kolb.

Vick has completed 63.8 percent of his passes and has posted consecutive games with a passer rating above 100 for just the second time in his career.

Reid said Vick was "playing at a high level, one of the higher levels I've seen him play at."

The knock on Vick used to be that he moved too quickly through his reads and took off running. He clearly benefited from watching McNabb operate the offense last year, and he has excellent mentors in Reid and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg.

Vick showed against the Lions that he can be effective in the pocket. Despite being sacked six times and facing constant pressure, Vick scrambled enough to buy time and find open receivers.

Given Philadelphia's struggles on the offensive line, Vick's speed and quickness is vital. Kolb has a quick release and can escape pressure, but few quarterbacks are as elusive than Vick.

In 2006, Vick set a record for quarterbacks with 1,039 rushing yards. His 10 career 100-yard rushing games are the most by a QB, and he ranks third behind Randall Cunningham and Steve Young with 4,094 rushing yards in his career.

"I think his play has even exceeded expectations over the last two weeks," Reid said. "Very few quarterbacks can go out and play the way he played the last couple weeks and do the things that he did."

Reid called Kolb "a young quarterback that I think the sky's the limit for. He's just in a situation where he's got an ex-superstar that now has regained his abilities. It's really that simple. Michael Vick is playing out of his mind right now. And that's a beautiful thing.

"What a lucky franchise and a lucky head coach I am to have two quarterbacks I feel that way about. It's unbelievable."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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