Friday, November 27, 2015

When Kolb's on the run

How will Kevin Kolb react when he is forced out of the pocket? Plus notes on how LeSean McCoy has improved in picking up the blitz from a year ago.

When Kolb's on the run

How will Kevin Kolb react when he has to move out of the pocket? (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)
How will Kevin Kolb react when he has to move out of the pocket? (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)

There will be plays that break down.

There will be times when Winston Justice or Jason Peters gets beat. Or times when Nick Cole or Mike McGlynn (or whoever's playing center) doesn't direct protection properly.

Times when Marty Mornhinweg and Andy Reid are outsmarted by opposing defensive coordinators. Or LeSean McCoy fails to pick up a blitzer.

And so the question is: How will Kevin Kolb react?

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For years, Donovan McNabb was one of the best in the league in those situations. He would scramble and buy time with his legs before finding an open receiver. He had the ability to shove a defensive lineman to the ground with his left hand and fire off a bullet with his right.

But that's not Kolb's game.

I was able to steal a couple minutes of Mornhinweg's time this morning and ask him about Kolb and how he performs when out of the pocket - either when it's by design or by necessity.

"Well, I think that's one of his strengths," Mornhinweg said, talking about plays that call for Kolb to roll out and make throws. "He's got a little athleticism to him. He throws very well on the run. He typically makes good decisions out on the edge and so that's a good thing.

"As far as moving when it's not designed, in lieu of when he's forced to move, he's going to stay with the play, and he's pretty good that way too."

In other words, McNabb had no problem sensing pressure and improvising. But there will be less of that with Kolb. Unless he has to get out of the way, he's going to try and stick with the play that's called and make a quick decision.

McCoy's blitz pickup

I also asked Mornhinweg about LeSean McCoy and where he stands in terms of blocking and picking up the blitz compared to last year.

"At this time last year, he was right in the middle of a pretty big learning curve because we do so much protection-wise and we see so many different crazy blitzes, especially against our defense right now, which is good for us by the way in the long run," Mornhinweg said. "And now, he's got it down pat pretty good so it's night and day for him."

I should qualify the quote by noting that Mornhinweg hasn't had anything remotely critical to say of any of the offensive players during camp. I'm not sure if McCoy has the blitz pickup down pat, but he certainly looks like he's improved from last season (and he really wasn't a disaster in 2009 anyway).

Practice observations

* The Eagles did not put on the pads this morning as they rest their bodies a little bit before Friday night's preseason opener against the Jaguars. It's obvious from talking to the players that they are ready to face another team.

* Brent Celek missed practice with what the team said was an "illness." Cornelius Ingram and Clay Harbor split reps at tight end with the first team.

Dick Vermeil was in the house today. It's a real who's who here at Lehigh. I'm telling you.

* If you haven't heard about the fan on the field who was sporting a Redskins Dononvan McNabb jersey but then asked to take it off, Eagletarian and Birds' Eye View have it covered.

* Another different look from Sean McDermott's defense. Trent Cole moved inside, making Trevor Laws the defensive end. Stewart Bradley blitzed from the right edge. Ernie Sims from the left. And Quintin Mikell up the middle. McCoy released out of the backfield, and Kolb found him down the middle, where no defenders were.

* Funny moment when Jamaal Jackson came out to rehab on the side field. A large fan got Jackson's attention, lifted his shirt and showed Jackson his Eagles tattoo. Pretty frightening, I must say.

Kelley Washington blocked a punt during special teams practice. Hank Baskett missed the session with a sprained MCL. Good competition to watch in the preseason, although Baskett might not even play in Friday's game.

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About this blog
Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at or by clicking here

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