Gino Ferretti is new to Crossing Broad and will be contributing from time to time.
Ask any teacher. There's a difference between giving a student a learning curve opposed to giving him a low expectation.
Not in Philly though. Its all the same when discussing the Birds.
Because after ten years of hard on's and blue balls, there's really no excuse for going out half cocked. Veterans or rookies, shot callers or clipboard holders, there's no such thing as 8-8, “losing season”, or rebuilding.
This is Philadelphia afterall.
Of course if you understand Eagles fans, then you know this isn't tough talk as much as it’s uneasiness about the first day of school.
The 2010 Eagles have a class of young pigskin pimps who are flashy, braggadocios, and top rate. DeSean Jackson is entering his third season coming off of possibly the best season by an Eagles receiver ever. Along with the second year speedster Jeremy Maclin and tight end Brent Celek, this young core of studs have given the Eagles something the franchise isn't use to possessing: big time play-makers. Sprinkle in second year running back LeSean McCoy and the bruising Leonard Weaver, and you can understand why this offense will be one of the most exciting in the league.
But what about their ring leader? The quiet one. The hog slaying hillbilly.
The young guy who stood on the sidelines with the clipboard for three years soaking in the lesson plan of one of Philadelphia's most loved and hated generals. My guess is he's slinging 250 lb marlins while enjoying his last week of serenity before the magnifying glasses go up over him.
But Kevin Kolb is not worried.
Donovan McNabb wasn't a bad tutor, if you can forgive his queasy stomach, poor excuses, and ring-less fingers. But now McNabb is a rival. Shipped off to a lifeless team content with the "almosts" that come with the quarterback. Now its time for Kevin Kolb to throw on the GPS and navigate his way through the NFC East with his posse of play-makers. Because it’s not what you've learned that makes you smart, it’s what you do with it that makes you a genius. And that's all Kevin Kolb wants from Eagles fans right now. Just watch me do it.
In a city where we didn't necessarily welcome Donovan McNabb with red carpets and bun cakes, maybe saving opinions until at least preseason may help to make the foots in our mouths more palatable.
Kolb isn't Russell, Leaf, or Klingler. But he also isn't Rodgers, Brady, or Schaub. He's simply an untested back up quarterback that happens to know this offense more than anyone. He's had only two NFL starts since being drafted in 2007 . Both of those games were last season. Both those games he threw for over three hundred yards. He won offensive player of the week after week 3 and became the first player in NFL history to throw for more than three hundred yards in each of his first two starts. Now, of course he had his jittery moments as he threw four interceptions in those games, but hey, that's more typical of your first NFL starts than it is to complete your first pass to yourself (Brett Favre), right? For all the naysayers that say he doesn't have the long arm of his predecessor, it’s worth pointing out that both of DeSean Jackson's longest touchdown catches were from Kolb (71 and 64 yards). And I'm sure Drew Brees would like to remind you all that his longest completion in the Super Bowl was for twelve yards. So Kevin Kolb isn't coming into training camp having to make any points about his capabilities. He certainly has the pin point accuracy and shotgun release that Donovan only ever seldom had.
What's the worst that could happen? He doesn't win a Super Bowl? Tisk Tisk Philly, its been not-ever since we've seen a championship. How soon some of us forget. Kevin Kolb will, in fact, need positive consistency. Because the one thing that comes with positive consistency is success. I'm cool with that.
So, as some Eagles fans brace for a tsunami, why not chill and consider smooth sailing? And help to usher in a young new era of optimism. Because a change in teacher is always good for the students. Especially if you were in that class of people who were content with missed opportunities and silver medal mediocrity. This is Kevin Kolb's team and he doesn't care what me or you have to say about it.
Pay attention. The new school year is about to commence, because whether we like it or not, class begins with Kevin Kolb on September 12th. And with him comes a mission far more important than expectations.