There was a while there last week, frankly, when the new quarterback wasn’t looking super-sharp, when it seemed the defense could bait him into throwing picks at an alarming rate. But though Kolb and his charges are still dealing with a young, aggressive Eagles defense that approaches every morning practice like there is no tomorrow, he looks sharper and smoother these past several days.
Reid assessed how Kolb is settling into the job when the Birds’ coach talked to reporters yesterday, following a sweltering a.m. workout. Reid recalled such a pick from last week, authored by Dimitri Patterson, and narrated how he’d seen Kolb handle the same situation differently yesterday.
“You saw where [cornerback] Asante [Samuel] read a play over on the right side; offensive right side. DeSean [Jackson] had run an 8-yard hitch route, and Asante squatted on it, just like we saw the other day. Kevin reared back, he went to throw it and then he held up; he pulled it back,” Reid said.
“He threw it the other day, came back today and learned from it. Pumped it, checked it down, plus-8. That’s what he’s doing. When Kevin makes a mistake, he learns from it and he makes progress. That’s a very important quality to have. The guys that make them over and over and over and over again, those guys can’t play at this level. It doesn’t work for them. He studies it, he sees it, which is important, and then he reacts to it, which is even more important.”
Backup QB Michael Vick said: “He’s just being patient. We had a discussion on patience, and how this is an offense where sometimes you’ve got to just dink-and-dunk and you’ll get your big play. He’s learning to do that, and he’s been doing it the last 3 or 4 days, and practice has been great.”
Kolb remembered both plays well, when he emerged from the field house where the Eagles dress following the afternoon session, his throwing arm encased in ice. (He is taking more practice reps than ever before.)
“That particular [Patterson] situation was going against the ‘ones.’ It wasn’t a misread, it was a corner making a great play. Asante jumped the route today, and I was able to pull the string on it and go somewhere else and make the first down,” Kolb said. “It wasn’t one of those spectacular plays, but it’s one of those ones where if you knew the situation, you’d go, ‘Oh, there’s improvement, right there.’ I’m just trying to improve every single day, because, obviously, I have a lot to learn and a lot to get better at.”
All of the talk about how Kolb might be more accurate than Donovan McNabb or run a more orthodox version of the West Coast offense kind of sidesteps this crucial point, which has been reinforced at Lehigh – that Kolb is very much a work in progress, and that this year is largely going to be about making mistakes, learning from them, and bouncing back. He’s had 3 years to watch and learn, it isn’t like starting a rookie, but two solid outings early last season don’t make him anything close to a finished product, either.”
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