Will the Eagles suffer a dramatic drop-off at quarterback now that Kevin Kolb is the starter in place of Donovan McNabb?
Everyone has an opinion, both locally and nationally, trying to predict how the first-year starter will perform in 2010.
I've discussed the 2010 Football Outsiders Almanac several times in this space, and recently, the site's managing editor, Bill Barnwell, was nice enough to answer some Eagles-specific questions for us via e-mail for the second year in a row.
I'll sprinkle in his answers and analysis throughout the next week or so, and if you have a specific question you want a response to, let me know, and I'll try to get it from Bill.
You can click here to buy the 2010 FOA. Tons of good stuff in there to get you ready for the season.
Q: What are your projections for Kevin Kolb and the kind of season he’s going to have? How much of a drop-off should the Eagles expect at QB, and what are some of the major differences the numbers show between him and McNabb?
Barnwell: Our projection for Kolb is: 324-of-518 (62.5 percent), 3,968 passing yards, and 24 touchdowns against 14 picks. That's just below McNabb's scaled figures for a 16-game season from a year ago (4,061 passing yards, 25 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions).
It's hard to really make significant statistical statements about him because he's had such little pro experience, but we can say that no one threw for more passing yards in their first two starts, from what we can find, in NFL history. One of those games was against Kansas City, but New Orleans was one of the league's best pass defenses when Jabari Greer was in the lineup. I think we see the same things that a lot of Eagles fans do -- Kolb's probably going to be more accurate on the intermediate routes and the crossing patterns that McNabb struggled with, but McNabb was smarter in the pocket and will probably keep plays alive a little longer than Kolb does, which should create fewer opportunities deep. I would expect that the Eagles' YAC should increase with Kolb, who will put more passes in his receivers' stride than McNabb.
CAN HANSON START?
I caught up with Joselio Hanson after practice. Hanson got the first-team reps at cornerback with Asante Samuel sidelined.
"I feel pretty good when I'm in there," Hanson said. "It feels good out there with the ones. I always have. I don't want to wish nobody being hurt, but it's cool when I'm able to get more reps with the ones."
Hanson had previously practiced exclusively as the nickel back on the first team. Does he consider himself in the competition to start at right cornerback?
"I'm not really thinking about it," he said. "I'm just trying to get better everyday so if I'm called upon whenever, I'm ready to go. "
It's been all Ellis Hobbs practicing ar right cornerback when Samuel is healthy. Hanson said the coaches haven't talked to him specifically about competing for that position, adding that everybody knows where they are on the depth chart right now.
I also asked him about working with new defensive backs coach Dick Jauron.
"He's going to make me a better player," Hanson said. "I'm predicting myself having a real good year this year. He's a legend in the game, coached for a long time so I think I'm going to be alright."
Hanson was suspended for four games last season, between Weeks 10 and 13. I asked him if it was difficult to try and return after the mid-season suspensin, and to evaluate how he played down the stretch run.
"I felt good out there actually playing in those games," he said. "Made a couple plays - a sack and an interception. I thought I played alright. But I'm expecting a very big year, a bounce-back year for me this year."
Reading between the lines, it seems to me that the coaches like Hanson better in the nickel, and I haven't seen anything here to indicate that he's competing with Hobbs at right cornerback. But then again, we're only a few days into camp. And injuries always play a factor.
If he does get a chance to compete with Hobbs, Hanson said he'll be ready.
"I feel like I can be a starter in this league. That's the way I think."
Commissioner Roger Goodell will be at practice today. And it's Military Day.
We'll have full coverage later this morning and throughout the day so check back.
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