Packers head coach Mike McCarthy knows better than most the difficulties that come with replacing a long-time starter at quarterback. Two years ago this week, he was preparing Aaron Rodgers for his first career start at Lambeau Field against the Vikings. It was the first time in 255 regular season games that Brett Favre wasn't the starting quarterback.
"I'd like to tell you that I knew right away he was ready," McCarthy said referring to Rodgers. "But there are things you don't find out until they actually play in games. The ability to handle adversity, the ability to bounce back week to week …it's a grind physically."
Aaron Rodgers made it through his first game unscathed, completing 82 percent of his passes for 178 yards and a touchdown in a victorious effort. In fact, Rodgers hasn't missed a game since he became the starter.
When asked how he thought his quarterback compared to Kevin Kolb, who like Rodgers is replacing a longtime franchise quarterback, McCarthy acknowledge the similarities in their path to the starting job.
"They were both accomplished passers in terms of being productive in their college careers," McCarthy said. "They had the opportunity to sit behind two outstanding quarterbacks and learn a quarterback-friendly offense that's built around making the quarterback successful."
Rodgers has found success in Green Bay, and McCarthy knows it. Only three quarterbacks had more passing yards than Rodgers last season, and his passer rating of 103.2 was fourth-best in the league. Now we'll see if Kolb can find success of his own. McCarthy sees no reason why he can't.
"I can see why everyone is encouraged and excited about (Kolb) because of what he's shown so far, his skill set and his ability to manage that offense,"" McCarthy said. ""I'd be excited about him if I was coaching him."
In the weeks and months to come, Kevin Kolb will put his stamp on this Eagles offense and make a name for himself in the NFL. But entering a season with two career starts does have its advantages. For one, it's difficult to game plan against a quarterback you've seen so little of. That's something McCarthy and his staff knew while preparing for this week.
"Well, that's also a challenge," McCarthy said. "You just try to work on his tendencies and his characteristics that he's presented in the short time that he's been on the field."
Kolb has yet to prove himself as an elite quarterback, but there's always something exciting about the unknown.
-- Posted by Josh Goldman, 8:00 a.m., September 11