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In Kolb We Trust?


Donovan McNabb is listed as doubtful to play. To anyone with an ounce of IQ, that means 5 won’t be under center versus the Saints. Sorry, but a broken rib, sticky or not, doesn’t heal in one week. Unless you’re Wolverine from the Uncanny X-Men. Wolverine is a little short to play quarterback, but he’d make one helluva halfback or safety. Imagine the hits.

Kevin Kolb will be the man on Sunday. Let’s hope he’s better than the last Eagle signal caller to wear #4 — the forgettable Mike McMahon, who set quarterbacking back twenty-five years during the 2005 campaign. Ugh. As bad as you think Kolb has been and might be, he’s not as wretched as McMahon… I think.

Some more fast facts for Sunday’s showdown:

– Eagles are 3-3 in home openers at the Linc.

– Overall, since the Linc opened in 2003, the Eagles have a 30-18 home record.

– The Eagles were 5-3 against Saints’ defensive coordinator Gregg Williams when he was with the ‘Skins.

– In his last three games versus the Saints, Brian Westbrook has rushed 47/288/2 and caught 9/17/0.

– In his last three games versus the Saints, Reggie Brown has caught 15/270/2 and rushed 2/25/1.

– In his last two against the Birds, Reggie Bush has rushed 23/78/1 and caught 7/57/0.

– Bush has not returned a punt for a touchdown versus the Eagles.

– The Eagles offense has scored 86 points in their last three against the Saints and allowed 77 points.

A.J. Feeley did it. Koy Detmer did it. Jeff Garcia did it. All three have stepped in for McNabb and performed admirably. Now it’s Kolb’s turn. For once, he has received all the first team practice reps leading up to the actual game. That should help.

I’ve been rough on Kolb, but I think he’ll represent himself and the Eagles well on Sunday. To succeed, he has to be decisive pre- and post-snap. He has to recognize what the defense is showing him and be able to react to different looks. He can’t hold the ball, which has plagued him the last couple years. The Saints can bring the heat. Taking sacks can lead to fumbles, just like last week.

We’ve all been spoiled by McNabb with turnovers. He’s one of the best in league history as far as fewest interceptions thrown. He may be inaccurate at times, but he doesn’t give it away often. Kolb must do likewise. He can’t be afraid to zing it into tight spots, but he can’t panic and chuck it up for grabs either. The defense already faces a tough assignment; short fields will only make matters worse.

This reeks of a Westbrook game. Run Brian left, run Brian right. Screen left to Brian, screen right to Brian. I saw enough of Westy last week to see he’s back. He might not be in tip-top shape, but his acceleration and cutting was solid. It’s time Reid turned him – and Shady – loose. It will alleviate some of the pressure on Kolb and keep the Saints defense guessing.

What about Reggie Brown? With Baskett chilling in Indy, will Reggie get the call, or will it be Brandon Gibson, or both? Brown has a good history against the Cajuns, so I say play him. Kolb needs all the veteran help he can get. I wonder what fans would do if Kolb hooked up with Reggie for six? Stunned silence mixed with joyous disbelief seems about right.

Win or lose, I’m excited to see how this one plays out. One thing is for certain: the mystery that is Kevin Kolb will be solved one way or another on Sunday. He’ll either shock the world or reaffirm what most fans have thought for the last two years. I wish him nothing but good luck. I hope he proves me and the rest of the naysayers wrong.

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