Welcome to Kevin Kolb Week in Philadelphia. Before the 2-0 Eagles take their nail-biting, fourth-quarter comeback routine to Arizona to face the Cardinals (2-0), several players reflected on their former quarterback.
“I’m not sure he’ll have a chip [on his shoulder],” said Eagles coach Andy Reid. “It worked out well for him to where he’s a starter. That’s a good thing for him. Now, will I tell you that he’ll be very competitive and want to win the game, all those things? Sure. Yeah, absolutely. It wasn’t like he left here in a bad spirit. That’s not what it was.”
“We all know Kevin as a competitor and I know him as a good friend and a great competitor,” said Mike Vick. “I know he’s going to be up and ready to play this game. We’re going to be ready for him.”
Cheering for Dallas
While that will stir the national plot Sunday, the real question in the Eagles’ locker room revolves around their ever-changing offensive line. Dallas Reynolds will start at center, with Jason Kelce lost for the season, and Demetress Bell takes over at left tackle with King Dunlap nursing a sore hamstring. Andy Reid credited offensive line coach for preparing them. Both Reynolds and Bell have practiced with the first-team offense in previous weeks.
“He’s [Mudd] given them opportunities to get in there during practice and literally practice with the ones,” Reid said.
Starting left guard Evan Mathis also expected a seamless transition. Reynolds spent three years on the Eagles’ practice squad.
“It’s a testament to the practice squad system, 100-percent,” Mathis said. “They’ve been grooming him this whole time and now it’s his opportunity to show what he worked so hard for.”
Reynolds said he’s ready to go. He’s been speaking with Mike Vick about protections and calls in the huddle. He’s also spent some 1-on-1 time in the film room with Vick.
“I’ve been here, I put in some time [three years on practice squad] and I feel like, in the NFL, it’s kind of all about opportunity,” Reynolds said. “There’s a lot of bad things that happen, injuries, Jason Kelce, and I feel bad about that, I wish him the best, but it’s next guy up and it’s my opportunity.”
Still at training camp?
The battle along the defensive line continues to rage at practice. With so many men rotating in — the Eagles have 10 players on the roster and have been activating up to eight of them on game days — the competition at practice is just as heated as it was at Lehigh, at training camp.
In fact, Brandon Graham said sometimes it’s even intense at walk-throughs. It’s all made for a tougher, stronger, more cohesive defensive front.
“It never ends, even walk-throughs are still fast-paced, that’s just Wash [defensive line coach Jim Washburn],” Graham said. “With that attitude and knowledge we have going in, everybody already knows what to expect. Last year, we didn’t really know what to expect, especially because that was his first year. Now, it’s normal, just a part of life. It made us a whole lot better, way better than we’ve been.”