Philadelphia Eagles News

Camp Countdown: Quarterback


In Philadelphia, it's been a decade of Donovan McNabb.

The quarterback is now entering his 10th season under center for the Eagles, and he's made more than a strong case to have already earned himself the title of greatest signal-caller in the franchise's history as he was named to the 75th Anniversary Team by the fans.

However, that case would be undisputable if the second half of the decade hasn't been mired with more question marks than exclamation points – the punctuation that made "Super 5" an entity that conquered fate, ignored injury and finally brought the Eagles back to the Super Bowl.

In the past few seasons, McNabb hasn't been able to juke his wounds, some less serious than others but debilitating all the same. He hasn't played a full healthy season since 2004, coincidentally the year he leapt the NFC Championship Game hurdle into Jacksonville. To date, Super Bowl XXXIX is the last playoff game Donovan McNabb appeared in.

The questions might have led the front office to surprisingly use its first pick in 2007 on Kevin Kolb, a prototypical West Coast quarterback with an arm as accurate as it is strong, plus mobility to boot. They might have coaxed head coach Andy Reid and his men to re-sign A.J. Feeley, just a few years removed from a trade to Miami.

But the hope in the franchise's face is still there. This season, McNabb is certain that he is 100 percent recovered from the devastating ACL tear he suffered during the 2006 season. He noticeably struggled early on in 2007, but after sitting out two games with a high ankle sprain, he returned a different player.

Still, McNabb missed parts of the spring passing camp with tendinitis in his throwing shoulder, the same pain that caused him to miss a similar part of the 2004 offseason workouts. Like then, Reid said it's a non-issue.

"We will back off of him just like we did in 2004, and he should be ready for training camp," Reid said on June 10. "No surgery, and there should be no repercussions from it. He'll just get treatment for about two weeks here, and he'll be ready to go."

Should McNabb fall victim again, the reigns could pass to Kolb, who saw increased reps in the Organized Team Activities. Still, before a game-clinching interception by now-teammate Asante Samuel, Feeley came within yards of beating New England in November, which would have made the Giants' Super Bowl win a stellar upset as opposed to a history-changing one.

It's a deep position, with two experienced players and a hyped second-year guy.

But, frankly, the Eagles don't want to have to see that depth. They know the best chance for the Eagles to win is with McNabb on the field - which is where he thinks he will be for the entire year.

"You know, you come back into camp and test things out. It feels great, so I was obviously excited of not having to worry about anything or rehabbing of some sort," McNabb said. "So I'm just kind of waiting until training camp starts, but I do enjoy the time off."


It's the same trio that opened last season. Reid got what he wanted and was able to tutor Kolb on the sidelines for a season, but Feeley obviously got more playing time than the Eagles intended.

He still performed admirably in short-notice relief, but threw eight interceptions in 103 passes, more than McNabb tossed in 473 attempts (seven).

BATTLE TO WATCH: Feeley vs. Kolb for the backup position.

If recent history has any say, this battle will be far more important than it traditionally should.

Early last month, Reid insinuated that Kolb had surpassed Feeley for the time-being.

"Kevin was here and had a ton of reps. I think that's good for him," Reid said. "I've seen improvement and right now he has a seasoned veteran ahead of him and behind him. He has a lot of knowledge there to draw from and learn from."

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