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Pro Football Weekly's Eric Edholm brings you hot news and the inside scoop about the NFL.

Kolb takes first step towards seizing opportunity

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Updated Oct. 06, 2010 @ 7:27 p.m.
By Eric Edholm

Kevin Kolb took the reins as the Eagles' starting quarterback in earnest today, the first new QB in that perch since Donovan McNabb took over the job back in 1999.

We all know the story.

But Kolb remains a bit of an unknown. I talked to him at length this summer and many of his teammates, former teammates (college and pro, including McNabb), coaches, former coaches, family members … and the feeling I got is that there is something special with him.

Sure, I didn't expect many people to poo-poo Kolb to me, but even McNabb was guardedly optimistic. When we spoke in June, McNabb warned that Kolb needed to know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em, essentially:

"I think for a young guy coming in, nothing was too big for him. When he came in, he was willing to learn. I sat down with him, he would ask questions and I would have answers for him. I think one thing for him is that he’s a quick learner. You can tell he came from a football family, preparing him for the things he’ll now face as a starter.

"Another thing for him, he’s a quick trigger. He can be a gunslinger. Now, that can help you and that can hurt you. I think in his case, he has learned some of the things you have to pull back on. You just can’t throw it into a spot all the time and (have the receiver) come down with it because it might go the other way. (Laughs.). But he has learned that. For some people, it takes time for them because they tend to grow up watching Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Kurt Warner and think they can have their teams just like that. But it’s not like that. Some guys’ arms are stronger than the others. Some guys anticipate the throws (better). But it takes time for those to get with the right offense to do that. I think he’s going to have a great career. I hope nothing but the best for him. I told him, ‘Two games of the year, I am going to have to get you.’"

Interesting comments from Donovan. We'll see if they come true.

In the meanwhile, here's what Kolb had to say to the media today on his first training-camp run-through with the first-team offense, post-McNabb:

On what he needs to accomplish as the team’s starting quarterback:
“One thing that I’m focusing on is consistency, one rep at a time. I don’t want to get caught up too much in the big picture, it’s a long season. You can break it down into every game, you can break it down into every practice, you can break it down to every rep. So I just want to focus on one thing at a time.”

On whether it would have been difficult to wait another year to become the starter:
“Yeah, it would have been difficult. I want to be on the field, you know? All the way through my career, starting in seventh grade, whatever the situation was, I’m going to roll with it, and I’m just glad to be out here and be the starter.”

On whether he used today’s practice to get rid of any jitters:
“Well, I didn’t have any jitters this morning. Like I said, I felt comfortable and for me, I just want to take it one step at a time. I know I sound repetitive, but I want every day to be crisp. That was my main focus this offseason. I want to be mentally tough, where I don’t let one practice, one rep slip away, because when you do that you fall behind. And I think that’s what the great ones do. That’s what I’ve picked up this offseason — that’s what the great ones do. They focus every single time and they have that mental toughness.”

On whether he has feels he has to prove to his teammates that this is his team now:
“Well, I think that’s part of it, but I don’t want to get caught up in what other guys are thinking and doing. As a player you’ve got to understand that you’ve got to do your job and the rest of it will come along. I think I proved myself a little bit last year and these guys saw what I had on game day, but we always can get better. We’re always going to continue to get better and I want them to keep believing in me and knowing there’s two minutes left and we’re down, that we’re going to win the ballgame.”
On whether there is a change stepping into a leadership role:
“Well, I’ve always tried to be a leader, even in the backup role. There are some things that do change, but I don’t want to go outside of my comfort zone or do anything that’s not expected of me. I want to be myself and do the things that are asked and expected. With that being said, I know there won’t be any problem with it, and the guys will respond well.”

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