Whether he wants to acknowledge it or not, Kevin Kolb has a chance to change the perception about him with how he plays Sunday, assuming he makes his first career NFL start.
You know Kolb as the surprise second-round selection in 2007. You know Kolb as the guy who threw an interception against Baltimore last November that was returned 105 yards. You know him as the quarterback who struggled in Sunday's victory over Carolina after Donovan McNabb was injured and even though the Eagles were up by a wide margin.
Kolb was asked after today's practice whether he felt like Sunday's game could be a defining moment of his career to this point.
"No, not at all," he said. "That’s just the situation I’m dealt. I’ve gotten opportunities and haven’t done the best job with them. No excuses. If I’d come out and had five touchdowns and zero interceptions and zero fumbles this wouldn’t be an issue. But, because I haven’t had much success it’s totally fair and I look forward to the challenge.”
Kolb did concede that he is prepared for the fans at the Linc, whom he knows might be impatient with him.
“I think Andy said it best the other day. ‘You’d be surprised how much you don’t hear when you are on the field,’ " Kolb said. "The preseason game I got booed and I didn’t even know it. My dad told me after the game and I was like, ‘wow.’ That’s just the way it goes and you do have to prepare yourself for that some but I’ve done that and hopefully I’ll [start] 2-for-2 [completing passes] and they’ll be the other way.”
With McNabb in front of him and the addition of Michael Vick, Kolb's future with the Eagles seemed somewhat uncertain, but Kolb said he never was worried about the possibility of never starting. Reid assured him that he was the backup quarterback on the day the team signed Vick.
“I’m the kind of guy that doesn’t really think too far into the future, think too far in the past, I try to live in the here and now," Kolb said. "I didn’t set those plans because if you set those plans, especially in this league, they are going to change on you. I’m just rolling with the punches. I’m glad if it happens. I’m glad if I get to start, I’m glad to be there and I look forward to leading our team to victory. If it would have been my rookie year, if it’s this year, whatever, I’m just glad it’s finally here and I’m getting a shot.”
As the Eagles began practice for New Orleans today, Kolb was running the first-team offense.
"It felt great," Kolb said. "That’s the first time in a long time I’ve gotten to do that. I did it once last year, but just the thought of coming back tomorrow and getting more comfortable with everybody, it’s a good feeling. You get to run the huddle the way you want to and, all of those things that have been running through my head for two years, trying not to change too much because you want the same continuity, but you want put your own little twist on things. We’re looking forward to it."
Saints quarterback Drew Brees met the media in New Orleans today. Here is some of what he had to say:
On playing in Philadelphia: "It is a tough place to play. This is what NFL’s all about, going on the road to hostile environments, dealing with those elements and still being able to execute and look sharp and do the right things ... Those are some of your best memories when all is said and done. You talk about remembering being here and winning that game in overtime. Remembering another place where you won on the road. That was big. Those are character builders. That’s what helps build the identity of a team."
On Asante Samuel and Sheldon Brown: "Both of those corners are veteran guys. Asante Samuel has six or seven years, Sheldon Brown on the other side about the same, so these guys have been around for a while and they’ve played together for a number of years. They’re just a great tandem. It’s not like you can go away from one side and go to the other. They’re both very good. You just try to find if there are any weaknesses and then trust your guys, your matchup, and the guys you’re throwing to in a scheme and go ahead and go with it. You definitely need to be aware of where both of those guys are and the technique they’re playing, the pressure package that might be associated with it too."
On the Eagles' defense having five interceptions vs. Carolina: "Taking care of the football is at a premium knowing that this has been one of the strengths for this defense for a long time, putting pressure on the quarterback with pressure packages and having guys in the secondary who can make plays on the ball and doing something with it when they do get it. I think for us, it’s about not giving them a short field and not giving them those opportunities, doing as great a job as we can taking care of the football, getting positive plays as opposed to negative plays and at times playing the field position game."
To read our earlier report on Shawn Andrews and other injury updates, click here.