Sean Payton on Eagles fans and Philly

Sean Payton, who coaches the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints, got his start in the NFL with the Eagles. (AP Photo / Bill Haber)

I had ESPN on in the background last night when they aired "Gruden's Champ Camp."

It was a special with Jon Gruden, Saints coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees, looking back at the 2009 Super Bowl season.

The Eagles connection is that Gruden and Payton worked together in Philly in 1997 - Gruden as the offensive coordinator and Payton as the quarterbacks coach.

"I can recall those early months in Philly," Payton said. "You'd get to the office at 5 o'clock in the morning and he'd [Gruden] been there for an hour.

"And now you're seeing how guys like Jon Gruden work at what they're doing. And you're exposed really to a lot of new ideas and thoughts and so it became invaluable to me as a young coach."

There was some great footage during the special of Payton during his days here. The 1997 Eagles went 6-9-1 and had three different starting quarterbacks: Ty Detmer started seven games, Bobby Hoying six and Rodney Peete 3. At one point, Payton is shown chasing Detmer and imitating a pass rusher on the practice field.

Gruden, Payton and Brees spent a lot of time recapping last year with the Saints. They discussed the Week 2 game against the Eagles, in which New Orleans beat the Eagles and Kevin Kolb at the Linc, 48-22.

"It's an interesting place to play," Payton said. "You and I have coached there as a member of the home team, and it's a passionate fan base. When you take the bus ride in, and Drew will remember this, I said 'Hey, seven or eight eggs are gonna hit bus one before we ever pull up to the stadium.' And then when those eggs fly and they hit bus one, the players look at you and they think 'he's right,' and he must be right with the game plan. And sure enough, we stroll off the freeway there, and you look over and you thought you saw maybe a 7- or 8- year old throwing one of the eggs."

Payton also talked about what that win meant for the eventual Super Bowl champs.

"This is a game that was an important win for us," Payton said. "You want to beat someone that you feel is pretty good, and to do that early in the season can do a lot for your team. And that win in Week 2 did a lot for our locker room."

The Eagles kept it close (17-13) in the first half before getting blown out in the second. In his first career start, Kolb completed 31 of 51 passes for 391 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.

That was also the game that Sheldon Brown wore the mask out during pre-game introductions. Speaking of Brown, good piece by Domo in the Daily News today. I found the Asante Samuel reference particularly interesting.


The national media continue to back Kevin Kolb as he begins his first season as a starter. Jeffri Chadiha of says Kolb fits the leadership profile. Chadiha tells a story of Kolb and Winston Justice from the Cowboys game last January. Justice came out of the game after injuring his right index finger, and Kolb tried to distract him as the Eagles' medical staff put the finger back into place.

By the time the Philadelphia Eagles right tackle reached the sidelines, teammates and coaches alike winced at the sight of a digit so mangled it pointed sideways at a 90-degree angle. Backup quarterback Kevin Kolb was just as disgusted by the injury. What he didn't do, however, was allow his shock to prevent him from doing something helpful.

Nate Davis of USA Today predicts that Kolb will be one of the NFL's breakout players in 2010:

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb elicits the image of Simba, the cub from The Lion King, suddenly thrust to the head of the pride after the unexpected departure of longtime leader Donovan McNabb. And with plenty of hungry hyenas lurking in the NFC East — McNabb, now a hyena in Washington Redskins clothing and still among them — Kolb will have little time to adjust to his new role on the league's hotly contested 100-yard plains, and he knows it.

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