By Kevin McGuire
Kevin Kolb was supposed to be the guy who replaced Donovan McNabb in Philadelphia, but McNabb endorsed a free Mike Vick. The rest, as they say, is history.
McNabb was traded to the Washington Redskins. Kolb floundered as a starter and Vick started to reshape his image as a leader on a football team with a new perspective. On Sunday the fates will reunite Kolb and Vick on the football field from opposite sidelines. McNabb’s return to Philadelphia was no memorable outing for one of the top players in franchise history, and if the Eagles’ defense will have anything to say about it, neither will Kolb’s.
Kolb will play his first game against the Eagles since parting ways before the 2011 season. The former second-round draft pick did not play in last year’s meeting in Philadelphia, where John Skelton and the Cardinals pulled out a road victory against the Eagles. Despite having history with the Eagles, Kolb does not anticipate being able to help this year’s Cardinals prepare for what the Eagles will have in the game plan.
“Offenses evolve,” Kolb said on 94 WIP this week. “And even though it’s the west coast, they evolve with different things and different protections. I’ve already had a few discussions, but as far as just real details, you can’t really get into that because then what if they counter it and trick you? So I offer whatever I can, and then if something comes up in the game, obviously then I’ll do my best to pay attention and see if it can give us an edge.”
Kolb also is unfamiliar with the defensive players that Philadelphia has now. Since Kolb left for Arizona, the Eagles have reshaped their secondary by adding Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who was obtained in a trade in exchange for Kolb. The Eagles have also added linebacker DeMeco Ryans and have seen Mychal Kendricks to revamp the linebacker spot once again. For Kolb, a lot has changed over the past two seasons in Philadelphia so there really is no familiarity.
Kolb’s stint in Arizona has been anything but fulfilling, but he enters Week 3 coming off one of the best wins of his career, beating the New England Patriots in Foxboro last week. It was the first loss the Patriots suffered in a home opener since opening Gillette Stadium.
But Kolb is keeping tabs on the team and has an idea of where things stand with his former team.
“I texted some of the guys last week and was just offering some encouragement,” Kolb said on 94 WIP. He added that he has been supportive of his former teammates with a 2-0 record in anything but overly impressive fashion.
“A win is a win,” Kolb said. “I know everybody wants to talk about the turnovers and winning by one point, but in this league, as a player and a coach, when you’re grinding every single game, every week, every game is a tough one in this league, and if you can come out with a victory then who cares how you got it?”
For Kolb, a chance to go up against one of his friends–Vick–is something he will embrace.
“Obviously it’s well-documented that Mike and I are pretty good friends and I’m proud of the way he’s handling stuff.”
On Sunday that friendship will be put on the back burner of course, with a lot on the line for both teams. Arizona and Philadelphia each enter this weekend’s NFC contest with identical 2-0 records, and although there is plenty of football to be played this season, getting to a 3-0 start can help whoever wins get a leg up on the competition. The Eagles enter the week already a game up on the rest of the NFC East, with Dallas, Washington and New York all 1-1 after two games. The Cardinals can assure at least a share of first place in the NFC West with a win, with San Francisco also 2-0 after two weeks.
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Kevin McGuire covers college football for Examiner.com and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. Follow him on Twitter (@KevinOnCFB). His work can be found on Examiner.com.