A new era of Eagles football is here, and ready or not, all eyes are on the fourth-year quarterback expected to lead a young, unproven squad into 3 weeks of training camp in the rolling hills of the Bethlehem campus. It all starts with 8:45 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. practices for rookies and selected veterans today.
No one will be under more watch than Kolb, who was handed the reins of the offense this offseason when the Eagles dealt 11-year signal-caller Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins.
“I’ve been thrown into situations throughout my career, and I’ve always just leaned back on playing football, and that’s what I’m gonna do here,” Kolb said. “I don’t want to get too caught up in trying to fill Donovan’s shoes or being the quarterback of the Eagles. I just want to play the game that I know how and distribute the ball to the athletes that are around me.”
It’s exactly what coach Andy Reid will be looking for during camp. Comfortable enough with Kolb to reshuffle the look of the franchise, Reid said his new quarterback is further along in development than when McNabb was a first-year starter.
Reid wouldn’t rule out playing Kolb more in the preseason games, but that depends on the coach’s satisfaction with his progress.
Knowing a hiccup or two from Kolb is inevitable along the way, Reid is “fired up” to coach his young team and see where it winds up.
“There’s a little bit of an unknown, which I kind of like,” Reid said. “I like that. I think it’s a great challenge. It’s a great challenge for the coaches and for the players. There’s some big-name players that have been proven players on this football team, that aren’t here. It’s important that the young guys step up and they go. That, to me, is exciting.”
That starts with Kolb.
Playmaking, skill-position players aren’t in short supply with LeSean McCoy in the backfield, DeSean Jackson out wide and tight end Brent Celek as a security blanket underneath.
The success of the offense figures to come from cycling through the right reads and having protection up front to deliver the football.
“This is as important as it gets for us,” Kolb said of training camp. “We’re a young team. We have to build a little more rapport, but there’s a lot there to build off of. Plenty of talent, all it takes now is hard work, and we’re definitely gonna do that part of it.””