Familiarity between Kolb, line will take time

Quarterback Kevin Kolb and the offensive line are still learning each other's tendencies. Kolb has not been sacked this preseason. (AP Photo / Tony Tribble)

The good news is Kevin Kolb has attemped 28 passes in the preseason without being sacked.

The bad news is he was under constant pressure in Friday night's preseason game against the Bengals. And there were plays when Kolb didn't help his line by moving out of the pocket earlier than necessary.

"He got hit the first play," right tackle Winston Justice said yesterday. "So when that happens the first play, it's kind of like you don't know where that actual pocket is, and so it's something that comes with experience."

It will work both ways - Kolb learning when the pressure is real, and the linemen realizing where Kolb is when he extends plays.

"It's kind of hard to sense it because it's behind you," Justice said. "But once you feel a guy moving this way, there's a reason he's going that way, so you try to stick with a guy as best you can and block him."

Of course, it hasn't helped that the line Kolb has been working with has a different look than the one that will be protecting him in the regular season. Getting Todd Herremans back against the Chiefs should help a little in that respect.

Other thoughts:

* I understand Sean McDermott and Andy Reid defending Ernie Sims' play against the Bengals. McDermott talked about Sims setting the tone. There was a play where he took a shot at Terrell Owens, who was running over the middle within the 5-yard window. And as I mentioned in Man Up, Sims blitzed with Nate Allen on the Eagles' first interception. He was picked up, allowing Allen to rush freely.

The plays where Sims didn't look good were the ones where linemen were able to get to him, like the tight-end screen and a few running plays. It's clear the coaches like Sims and expect him to be a difference-maker. The Eagles will just have to find a way to give him space to move more freely in the regular season. Don't want to base too much off one half in a preseason game.

* I agree that Dimitri Patterson played well Friday. But I don't think he's a threat to Joselio Hanson for the nickel cornerback job.

* The biggest bright spot through the first two preseason games has been the Eagles' tackling. McDermott said when training camp started that tackling would be a major focus, and so far, it looks like the Eagles can expect a major improvement this season.

* I can't figure out how these two situations will be resolved: center and backup tight end. How far along will Jamaal Jackson be by the time the season starts? How serious is Nick Cole's injury? And will he get first-team reps when he returns?

The backup tight end situation is less concerning. Only two teams ran fewer two tight-end sets than the Eagles last season, according to Football Outsiders. I don't see this offense morphing into a smash-mouth, physical unit in 2010. But I will concede that it'd be nice to have a backup who was a capable blocker.

* I noticed in the comments section of my Kolb post over the weekend that I was called both a Kolb hater and a Kolb apologist. I guess that means I offered up a pretty fair evaluation?

Just to be clear, I don't claim to know more than NFL coaches or scouts. I re-watch the games because it's difficult to pick up on things the first time, and I write what I observe with no agenda. Are there things that I miss? Sure. But overall, I am able to gain a much better understanding of what's happening the second time around.

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