*This is the first in a series analyzing the Eagles, position by position, leading into training camp ...
*This was such a repetitive story to write over the course of the last decade. It was all about Donovan McNabb and a cast of mostly-excellent backups, and the Eagles always seemed to have themselves covered at the position. Ho, hum. Well, things have changed at the most important position on the field, with McNabb traded to Washington and Kevin Kolb in the driver's seat for an offense that established a franchise record for most points scored last season.
It is, of course, with great anticipation that the Eagles enter the year with Kolb, the young (but not that young) quarterback who showed great patience since the Eagles selected him in the second round of the 2007 draft waiting for his turn. Now is his turn, and Kolb has done and said all the right things since the Eagles dealt McNabb to Washington on Easter.
So what is ahead for him? He knows the offense and he has a great rapport with the team. Kolb has to go out and do it day in and day out the rest of the season, one of many tests he faces. Every step he takes and every move he makes (you know the refrain) is going to capture the attention of Eagles fans. It is an exciting time, to usher in a new era at quarterback.
No question, Kolb represents a new for this franchise and for the Andy Reid coaching regime. In the past, hey, it was tough to replace Randall Cunningham. On the other hand, Cunningham took over and ran -- at times, literally -- with the baton when Ron Jaworski's time in Philadelphia ended.
Certainly, the offense is built for Kolb to enjoy success. He has excellent coaching and a superb talent base around him. Kolb has been in the heat before and has largely looked very good. He is, everyone believes, very much ready for the chance.
Behind Kolb, veteran Michael Vick should be a more intricate piece of the offense than he was last season. Vick is in better condition, he knows the offense better and his football senses are sharpened. The Eagles are expected to continue to use Vick in the Wildcat and present a threat to defenses with his legs in situations when the coaching staff feels there is an opening. There aren't many backups in the league with Vick's body of work, so the Eagles are in good hands (and legs) there.
The No. 3 quarterback is rookie Mike Kafka, and while he has promise and the Eagles are excited to see him develop, Kafka also has a lot to learn. It is a reminder of just how much verbiage and information there is to absorb when you see someone like Kolb, who has been in the offense for a full three seasons and then some, work in practice and throw the ball with such precision and great timing, and then watch Kafka go through the growing pains. He is someone to watch closely in camp, too, as the look to develop another young quarterback.
Bottom line: The Eagles have change at the position. Very significant change. Change they haven't had since 1999. Kolb isn't an unproven rookie, and the learning curve is expected to be minimal. The Eagles think the offense will soar with Kolb at the controls, spreading the ball around to a bevy of talented players on every flank of the offense.
Next: Offensive backs