Winds of change are blowing into the 2010 autumn for the Philadelphia Eagles. A new generation of football has now been culminated ever since the April 4th trade of quarterback Donovan McNabb to the rival Washington Redskins.
Thinking back, something had to give for the franchise as their 2007 top pick, quarterback Kevin Kolb, was on the fringe of development, making waves like other new generation quarterbacks such as Aaron Rodgers, Joe Flacco, Matt Ryan, Mark Sanchez, and Matt Leinart.
These names might all be household names in the next eight years. In the glory days of the '90s, there once was a trading card collection of heroes such as Favre, Aikman, Young, Elway, Bledsoe, and Kelly. Times moved on to new stars such as Manning, Brady, Roethlisberger, McNabb, and Brees. Can Kolb have what it takes to inherit the reputation of such iconic stalwarts?
It may not reflect fully from 2010, but the future is brighter than it was when McNabb started out as an Eagle.
Primarily, the weapons to Kolb’s disposal are in vast numbers. Pro Bowler and head spinner DeSean Jackson is the prime target and weapon of choice for Kolb. Running the deep post routes, or even trick plays, along with even the tightest red zone formations, Jackson has proved so far that he can do it all with his old battery mate in McNabb. Jackson’s only entering his third year in the league and his potential is at sky high right now.
Complemented by blazing Jeremy Maclin, consistent Jason Avant (whose presence in the middle is underrated), and the emergence of young guns Chad Hall, Riley Cooper, and the notorious Hank Baskett, the Eagles are fully loaded compared to the 2000 Philadelphia Eagles, who relied heavily on James Thrash and Todd Pinkston.
At tight end, Kolb can find Brent Celek as his security blanket. McNabb relished with talented tight ends such as Chad Lewis and Celek (sorry L.J. Smith, you were somewhat okay).
Kolb’s role in the system will be key under head coach Andy Reid. Reid, who started out as an inexperienced head coach with McNabb, now has comprehensive knowledge of how to utilize all his players in different situations. Granted, Reid may not have the sharpest decision-making skills down the wire, but his genius of craft is much greater than ten years ago with a young McNabb.
Reid’s system has also been linked to the rising tide of quarterback success even without McNabb. Take into consideration A.J. Feeley, a seventh round pick out of Oregon, and Jeff Garcia, a straggler in the NFL coming off a talented San Francisco 49er team. Both entered in the roles of key Eagle games and succeeded to their own respect. One quarterback who did not perform well, though, was Mike McMahon, back in 2005.
Lastly, Kolb’s patience on the bench and communication with McNabb and other mentors can generate the incoming success of Kolb rather than the risks of other high pick quarterbacks such as David Carr, Alex Smith, JaMarcus Russell, and Byron Leftwich.
It’s not a crap-shoot nor a guarantee a quarterback will always run the table (like Roethlisberger in his 2004 season; 15-1 with the Steelers), but it’s all a matter of who the coach is, what system they run, and how the overall team executes behind the quarterback.
For Kolb, I see shades of greatness in 2010, but wouldn’t be surprised to see him struggle to a degree where it may cost the Eagles a possible playoff game (only because of the pressure).