Philadelphia Eagles News

Kolb Ready To Rise To The Challenge

There are no promises, other than Kevin Kolb's resolve to work hard, to prepare the right way and to maximize the opportunity that has finally come his way. He waited for three years for this "dream" to come true, and now here he is, the starting quarterback for the Eagles. An off-season of intense preparation has Kolb ripped physically, ripe mentally and relaxed in every way.

This is now his team, and Kolb has big, big plans ahead.

"I'm excited, naturally. I've been preparing my whole life for this moment. I'm going to work hard, I'm going to enjoy it and I'm looking forward to winning here," said Kolb.

How much do we know about Kolb? He hasn't played very much at all, but in the two games he started in 2009, Kolb passed for more than 300 yards in each outing, had total command of the scheme, made a bunch of bee-you-tee-ful throws and certainly did enough to convince skeptics that he has the tools to succeed here.

With the trade of Donovan McNabb to Washington, Kolb is officially the guy, a scenario that sits well with the coaching staff, with the front office, with the locker room and, truly, with everyone in the organization. Kolb has waited patiently in the wings, learned on the go at a very digestible pace, and he has a chance to rise with this young core to provide an explosive offense for many, many years to come.

"We have so many great players across the board in the offense that it's my job to get the football in their hands. I'm not going to pick out a No. 1 guy. I'm going to rely on everybody," said Kolb. "We're all working together, every day, getting our timing down, building our rapport and making sure we're all on the same page.

"It's been that way since the start of the off-season (conditioning) program. Every bit of time together is valuable. I take this time of the season very seriously. You can get a lot done now if you approach it the right way."

Kolb reported to the NovaCare Complex on the first day of Barry Rubin's conditioning program, and he looks like he is in the best shape of his life. Kolb said he has gotten plenty of comments about his chiseled physique, but that he has not added weight. Instead, Rubin has his working on explosive movements, on his core, on his flexibility and mobility. Girding for 16 regular-season games may be the most arduous adjustment for Kolb as he prepares for his first full season as an NFL starter.

Then again, who knows? Kolb understands that defenses are going to try to get after him. He has the mental picture of what to expect. He has already been in the film room and he has dipped deep into the vault of game tape available to watch. Kolb has prepared every week as if he were starting, but he knows that the urgency and the intensity of when he really was starting increased in 2009. Kolb played OK against the Saints, but a couple of turnovers proved extremely costly. He was lights-out in the win over Kansas City, a game that cemented any questions he might have had about his ability to thrive at this level.

"The game really slowed down from the time we played Baltimore the season before (in which Kolb replaced McNabb in the second half of the loss) to those two games," said Kolb. "I'm confident that I'm to speed. Playing in those two games was a great experience for me, a needed challenge. I'm ready. I'm ready to go out there and play my best football."

The young man is really polished beyond his years. Kolb did a terrific job handling the media on Day 1 as the Eagles starter, just as he did in that difficult post-game scene in Baltimore in 2008 when Kolb stepped in for McNabb as the Ravens overwhelmed Philadelphia's offense. Kolb is always cool, always collected. He is a football lifer, raised by his father for this very time.

There will be some "hills and valleys," said Kolb, who is realistic about what to expect. The Eagles have as much offensive talent as they have ever, ever, ever had. Kolb has to make the right read, follow his progression and get the ball out quickly and accurately.

If he does all of the above, the learning curve will be minimal. Kolb isn't looking at this as a step back. Instead, he wants to move boldly ahead as the gunslinger leading his young charge.

It remains to be seen how Kolb fares over the long haul of a season, but he has shown already the skills that made the Eagles draft him first in the 2007 spring. He has accuracy, touch, is a tough guy, is a smart football mind. He is a natural leader with arm strength that is certainly adequate, with a feathery touch and with, based on his two starts in 2009, tremendous accuracy. He will give the Eagles dependability in the three-step drop phase of the passing game, and he has the ability to get the ball out in front of Jackson and Maclin and let them run under his deep throws.

The tools are there. The intangibles appear to be in place. Kolb hasn't won a big game against a division opponent on the road in December, nor has he taken the Eagles deep into the post-season.

But make not mistake, Kolb is not here to take a step back. He wants it all, everything you want. He wants to win it all.

"I'm going to do everything I can to do it," said Kolb. "I'm surrounded by great teammates and coaches in this organization. I've been preparing for this, and I'm ready. I'm ready to roll."

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