There are a host of storylines to follow leading to training camp, not the least of which is the development of quarterback Kevin Kolb as he grows into the role as the starting quarterback of this football team. We'll start with Kolb as we take a look at this team from a couple of different angles and some of the observations from the post-draft camps on and off the field.
Kolb threw the ball well. He wasn't perfect, but he performed very well, had a good command of the offense and ran an excellent huddle. What did head coach Andy Reid see from Kolb, aside from the obvious?
"He wants to be the best, and he wants to make sure that he gets himself right to give himself that opportunity," said Reid. "His preparation has been tremendous both mentally and physically. He has gotten stronger since he first got here, he has thrown the ball well and he is there in the offense. And then, you have to be mentally tough to play the position. There are a lot of outside factors that come into play, and you've got to trust in your ability and the scheme and the general philosophy of the offense and the organization, and then go forward and do your job.
"There are going to be times when you have to crank on people, the players around you, and there are going to be times when you have to pat them on the back and have a good feel for that. You've got to have the respect of the other players. There are a lot of things that go into that position."
Fair enough. We'll be watching every move as Kolb matures into the quarterback of the present, and the future.
... What is the personality of the team? Well, the Young Gunz theme started by wide receiver DeSean Jackson has a nice ring to it, because this team does have a lot of young and there are a lot of weapons, but I see the Eagles as more of a high-energy drink. I think this team will play hard from start to finish, and I look forward to a team that doesn't have those early- and mid-season hiccups that have forced the Eagles in some recent seasons to basically win out in December to reach the playoffs.
... After an extremely disappointing 2009 season, Quintin Demps has his sights set on starting and playing a big role in the Eagles defense this year. But after Marlin Jackson went down with a torn Achilles tendon, the Eagles promoted rookie Nate Allen, not Demps, to the starting free safety spot. Still, Demps has his goals and he has approached the job completely differently than he did a year ago. Demps is one of my candidates to bounce back this season, both in the defense and on special teams.
... Would it surprise you if Jeremy Maclin caught more passes than DeSean Jackson this season? I'm not sure it matters a whole lot, but defenses are going to pay a lot of attention to Jackson after his huge 2009, and Maclin will benefit. Seventy to seventy-five catches isn't out of the question for Maclin. Or for Jackson, for that matter. I looked through the record books and the most impressive wide receiver twosome, in terms of numbers, came in 1996 when Irving Fryar caught 88 passes for 1,195 yards and 11 touchdowns and Chris T. Jones caught 70 passes for 859 yards and 5 touchdowns.
... The final analysis on Stewart Bradley's recovery was positive emerging from the post-draft camps. Bradley missed time with a calf injury that was deemed minor and the sense is that the Eagles were taking every precaution with Bradley. Otherwise, Bradley is in great shape to return to the starting job at middle linebacker and to resume his role as a three-down linebacker. Who backs Bradley up is, of course, critical. Joe Mays really came on late last year and in the spring. Jamar Chaney is a promising rookie. Omar Gaither can play in the middle. The Eagles need an answer, just in case.
... Is it fair to make the case that the Eagles are already better off at free safety with Allen rather than Macho Harris, who last year was thrust into the starting role after having never played the position?
... Tight end Brent Celek needs you to follow him on Twitter ... @BrentCelek
... The strength and conditioning program is finished and the attendance was very good and the enthusiasm for the program was outstanding. A player to watch, for example, is second-year man LeSean McCoy. He had never been in a formal strength and conditioning program for an entire off-season, so we can see how much different he looks when training camp begins.