Kevin Kolb, Young Eagles, Will Test Philadelphia Fans' Patience in 2010
For most sports fans in this town, passion usually takes precedent over patience. You might have known that already….
But 2010 is not a make-or-break season for the Birds, and evaluating Kolb will be a full-year process.
Surely, the Eagles won’t be a better team than they were in ’09 simply because they have him under center instead of the guy preparing to rally the troops down in Washington.
We can expect to see both extremes of Kolb in 2010, the good and bad. So as fans, it’s important for us not to jump to conclusions when gauging Kolb and this very young Eagle team.
Come September, this will be a lot easier said than done.
We know how the media, particularly the national media, loves to jump to conclusions. It’s just what they have to do in order to stir up discussion.
We know that by Week Seven, the national “experts” will be debating whether the Eagles with Kolb or the Redskins with Mr. Donovan McNabb are better equipped to contend for a Super Bowl.
We also know how almost every former NFL player who places his lips in front of a microphone to earn a paycheck will love to jump down Philadelphia’s throat if Kolb struggles early, to proclaim that Donovan is SO much better off in Washington playing in a city that will actually “appreciate” him.
“Oh Philadelphia…the fans…the ownership…the radio show hosts and the beat writers…they never gave Donovan any respect.”
Bring out the crying towels again, please.
The reality is that both the Eagles and Skins have their sights set on a lot more than 2010. Sure, as a fan, it’s no fun to look at it that way. But really, neither of these teams are serious contenders this year. They both have just too many holes, so fans of both clubs should be patient.
Eagle fans should be especially patient with Kolb. Yes, he’s more ready to play than his two career starts indicate, and now in his fourth pro season, he's finally getting the first-team offensive repetitions and practice time that he’s been lacking for three years.
All signs point to Kevin already having very good chemistry with his young offensive teammates, but there will surely be a trial-and-error period in which Kolb and his young receivers, namely DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, learn together from their mistakes.
Mistakes? Yeah, the Eagles offense will be good, but it’ll make mistakes. They'll be some missed scoring opportunities and turnovers. We need to expect them.
Patience will be key this fall.
There is an endless amount of questions facing this 2010 Eagles team, and we shouldn’t rush to judgment in trying to answer any of them by Week Five.
How will Andy Reid divvy up the carries between LeSean McCoy, Mike Bell, and Leonard Weaver?
What about the defense? Sure, the offense should have more rhythm and fewer three-and-outs than in previous years, but the defense could still have a very tough time getting off the field.
And speaking of mistakes, the Eagles' young and inexperienced D will make lots of them this year. And that’s OK.
How will linebacker Stewart Bradley rebound from missing all of ’09 with a torn ACL?
What about the secondary? Who will join Asante Samuel as Philly’s starting corner? How will Ellis Hobbs play? How much will promising rookies such as linebacker Brandon Graham and safety Nate Allen contribute?
You get the idea. The number of questions concerning this team is absolutely endless, and notice we haven’t even addressed all the questions concerning Michael Vick and whatever gameplan will center around him.
Fans should be happy with a 2010 Eagle team that displays poise, improvement, and glimmers of potential throughout the season. Beer bottles shouldn’t shatter against bar walls if the Eagles don’t make the playoffs.
The schedule doesn't do these Eagles a whole lot of favors, either. Besides their always competitive six games against the NFC East, the Birds will also play the likes of Green Bay, Minnesota, Indianapolis, Houston, and Atlanta (thankfully all those games are at home).
The Eagles have the ninth-toughest strength of schedule in the league, based on opponent win-percentages from 2009. Thankfully, they also play the Lions.
In short, we should all be jumping for joy with a 9-7 season, and 8-8 is just fine.
Let’s be real here: the Eagles wouldn’t be seriously contending in 2010 even if Donovan McNabb were their starter.
However, if Kolb and the Eagles get off to a rocky start this season, we know that the football media’s national pundits will remind us all that the Eagles traded away the best quarterback in franchise history and promoted a guy with two career starts under his belt to take his place.
Relaying that story over and over again should produce a lot of humor around the NFL TV studio round-tables.
But what’s actually funny is that after a few more autumns have come and gone, it will probably be Kevin Kolb and the Philadelphia Eagles who get the last laugh.
We Philly fans will probably get the last laugh too…as long as we are patient enough to accept this team’s growing pains in 2010.
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