Our long national nightmare is over and the NFL has finally returned. Sort of... The games don't count yet, but for now the watered down vanilla version of football we get in the preseason will be enough to satiate us.The Eagles host the Jaguars in their preseason opener and Kevin Kolb will make his first start of the post Donovan McNabb era. Andy Reid said that Kolb will play the first quarter tonight.
As far as rotations you can base it around, and this goes for both offense and defense, the quarterbacks [QB Kevin] Kolb will play the first quarter, [QB Michael] Vick will play the second quarter and half of the third quarter, [QB] Mike Kafka will play the second half of the third quarter and the fourth quarter. And then that's kind of how it goes, the first unit, the second unit and the third unit."
He also set out his expectations for Kolb tonight.
"I think what you look from a quarterback to do is to execute the offense and to lead the offense and to make sure that he manages the game the proper way. So that's how I approach it with him, I think that with any quarterback in the National Football League. If they think that they are going to complete every ball than that's a good thing."
It will really just be important to see Kolb look crisp and confident out there. In preseason, Andy Reid runs a very basic and vanilla offensive scheme, so the important thing is for the team to win individual battles and focus on execution. Kolb says the team is excited.
"I think there's going to be a little bit more excitement. Just because, like you said, we haven't been out there yet, so we're looking to execute perfectly. We want to make sure we just keep taking those steps forward. We don't want to settle. Being flat is not going to be an issue. Guys are pumped yesterday when we were doing the install. There's obviously plenty of energy on this team, there always has been and I don't think that will be an issue for us."
The offensive line will certainly be an important thing to watch tonight as it's filled with question marks. Starters Todd Herremans(foot) & Jamaal Jackson(knee) won't play. Stacy Andrews will start at RG fully healthy and with a year in the system under his belt. Andrews was rehabbing from knee surgery last year and failed to ever make an impact, he'll be looking to bounce back in 2010 and could be a huge boost if he becomes the dominant run blocker he was with the Bengals again. Mike McGlynn will get the start at center, which is a surprise since Nick Cole has held the starting job in Jackson's absence since last year. McGlynn should certainly see tonight as a huge opportunity for himself.
And of course, there's always the Michael Vick show... Vick will play a quarter and a half and more than anything it'll be interesting to see if athletically he looks anything like the Vick of old. Last year we could plainly see he didn't have the speed or confidence that he had in Atlanta, but if you've been down to camp this year you would have seen a different Michael Vick. He looked in a great shape and was moving around very quickly, it'll be interesting to see how much better he looks after having a full offseason in an NFL training program.
More than anything, you just want to see everyone come out healthy. These are just practice games & the final score is irrelevant. If the Eagles win some individual battles, be sound fundamentally, and stay healthy tonight will have been a win no matter what the final score is.