|2009 Saints at Eagles Point Spread Odds & Matchup Report|
|Written by Anthony Rome|
|Wednesday, 16 September 2009 15:46|
Philadelphia, PA - Michael Vick is suspended until Week 3 and newly acquired Jeff Garcia isn't ready to step into the starting lineup.
With Donovan McNabb's status for Sunday's home opener against the New Orleans Saints in question, a Philadelphia Eagles team with three former Pro Bowl quarterbacks on its roster might have to give third-year signal-caller Kevin Kolb his first NFL start.
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Eagles coach Andy Reid, though, isn't concerned about the 25-year-old Kolb's ability to run the team if McNabb can't return from a cracked rib suffered in last Sunday's 38-10 win at Carolina.
"I have full confidence in him," Reid said of Kolb, who took snaps with the starters Wednesday when McNabb did not practice. "I don't worry about his accuracy or knowledge of the offense right now. It's just a matter of getting caught up with the game speed of the regular season."
Kolb was 7 of 11 for 23 yards and was sacked twice in relief of McNabb last week. He's only thrown 45 passes in the regular season.
Vick has been trying to catch up with the team since being acquired Aug. 14, but he is not eligible to return until Sept. 27 versus Kansas City after being suspended by the league due to his participation in a dogfighting ring.
Philadelphia moved Vick to the 53-man roster Tuesday and released wide receiver Hank Baskett. Vick began practicing with the team Wednesday.
In the wake of McNabb's injury, the Eagles signed Garcia to a one-year deal Tuesday. He was released by Oakland last week.
"Whether it's a week or two weeks or the entire season, I'm excited about the opportunity," Garcia said. "As far as a team I can go to and blend right in, this is the team for me to do that."
When McNabb tore his ACL in 2006, Garcia guided Philadelphia to a 7-3 mark, including a wild-card victory over the New York Giants. Garcia's last game with the Eagles was a 27-24 divisional playoff loss to New Orleans on Jan. 13, 2007.
"I know the circumstances are different," Garcia said. "I'm OK with whatever helps the team."
Garcia will serve as Kolb's backup if McNabb can't play and will be the No. 3 quarterback Sunday if he returns.
Whoever starts at quarterback for Philadelphia might have to put up big numbers to counter Drew Brees and the Saints' explosive offense, which had 515 yards in last Sunday's 45-27 victory over Detroit.
Brees completed 26 of 34 for 358 yards and tied a team record with six touchdown passes.
"I had a lot of opportunities out there," Brees said after matching the mark set by Billy Kilmer in 1969. "A lot of guys made some big plays in this game."
One of those was tight end Jeremy Shockey, who had two TD receptions. Shockey did not have a touchdown in his first season with the Saints in 2008.
"It's good to get that asterisk off my name that I haven't ever scored a touchdown with the Saints," he said. "Being around a guy like Drew makes it so easy out there because he works so hard. If I get there at 6:10, he's there at 6:05. He's that kind of a guy."
Although he backed up Reggie Bush, Mike Bell rushed for a career-high 143 yards on 28 carries versus the Lions.
Bush, who missed three preseason games due to offseason left knee surgery and a strained right calf, had 80 all-purpose yards, but fumbled two punts and had a holding penalty that erased a touchdown.
"Honestly, it's just a mental error that I made on the first fumbled punt," Bush said. "I tried to do too much the second time around. It was like a snowballing effect."
Pierre Thomas is expected to return to the Saints' backfield Sunday after rehabbing a sprained right knee. He rushed for 475 yards and six TDs in the final six games of last season.
The Eagles will be missing two-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman Shawn Andrews, placed on injured reserve Tuesday due to a back injury suffered in November.
"It's disappointing to lose any player for the entire season, but we have full confidence in the other linemen we have on this roster to help this team succeed," Reid said.
The Eagles have won three straight at home against New Orleans, most recently a 33-20 victory Nov. 23, 2003. The Saints are 2-8 all-time in Philadelphia, last winning in 1991.
Posted: 9/16/09 7:48PM ET