Monday, April 5, 2010
Kolb checks in with the Beast
By Dan Graziano ESPN.com
Eagles starting quarterback Kevin Kolb had a series of interviews set up in Philadelphia on Monday afternoon, but he was gracious enough to place a phone call to the NFC East blog. He was home alone Sunday evening when coach Andy Reid called to tell him he'd been promoted to the starting role. Kolb said he took a moment to absorb the news before calling his wife and family members.
Kevin Kolb says he's ready to take the reins in Philadelphia.
"Andy called and said, 'You're the starting quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles,'" said Kolb of the conversation.
During his news conference, Kolb said he'd been preparing for this day since he was 6. His father was a high school football coach in Stephenville, Texas, so Kolb particularly enjoyed telling him the news Sunday night.
"He knew I wanted to do this for a long time," said Kolb of his father. "He still thinks of me as a small-town, west Texas kid. I just reminded him that this was what I was born to do."
There were no signs of nerves as Kolb addressed reporters during a news conference Monday. He said he's already worked to be mentally prepared for the type of week-to-week scrutiny that comes with playing quarterback in Philly. But don't expect him to act like anyone other than Kevin Kolb.
"I don't just block out the bad things that are out there about me," said Kolb. "I also block out the good things. That's the way I've always conducted things."
Kolb said that he and McNabb have missed each other via phone since last night, but he's gone out of his way to express his appreciation for how the veteran quarterback treated him. McNabb wasn't happy when the Eagles drafted Kolb in 2007, but he apparently never took that out on the young quarterback.
"He was very accepting from the start," Kolb told me Monday. "The first time I ever walked in the facility, he walks up, shakes my hand and says, 'I'm glad to have you man.' From that point on, it was a great rapport. It would get really awkward in that quarterback room if we didn't get along. The best thing I learned from him is how to handle the media and the scrutiny that comes with playing here. Even with all the criticism, he always had a smile on his face. He never let his teammates notice if he was bothered by something. And he was always in a good mood. Hopefully I can keep that going."
Kolb said he truly realized he could play in this league during the Saints game last season.
"I came back last offseason and I just felt so much farther down the road," said Kolb. "But when the bullets started flying in that Saints game, that's when I said, 'Man, I got this.' That was my ah-ha moment for sure. I had the belief that I could handle this."
Kolb bristles every time the word "rebuilding" is mentioned in association with the 2010 Eagles. He thinks the fact that young players such as LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson and Brent Celek have all gained valuable experience will help him get up to speed. That's why he didn't hesitate mentioning the words "Super Bowl" at least three times during today's news conference.
"Those guys have been in the battle," he said of his young teammates. "They know what this league asks of you. We're not lowering our expectations one bit. I can guarantee you I'm not."
OK, I'm supposed to visit with Kolb's college coach, Art Briles, this evening. I'll have that on the blog Tuesday. It's been a remarkable 24 hours in the NFC East. I'm hoping to sit down with Kolb in person soon. I'll let you guys fire some questions for him if you're interested.