Today we start our series of 12 positions in 12 days previewing the upcoming Eagles training camp. Rookie and selected vets report to Lehigh July 26th and each day leading up to that date we will bring you a preview of a different position battle.
We start the with the most important position, but possibly the least interesting battle. Quarterback.
Donovan McNabb enters his 11th NFL season as the unquestioned starter at the QB position. Any shred of doubt there was as to McNabb's position in the organization was erased this offseason when McNabb signed a restructured deal that virtually guarantees his position on the Eagles for the next two seasons. Nothing outside of an injury(knock on wood) will unseat McNabb as the starter coming out of camp.
Injuries have always been the main area of concern for McNabb and are likely what led the Eagles to draft Kevin Kolb 2 years ago. Since then however, McNabb seems to have put his injury issues behind him missing only 2 games over the past two years and zero last year.
What to watch for
There's two main storylines at the QB position heading into this year's camp. First and foremost is how McNabb starts to gel with his new weapons and protections. For the first time in his career, he won't have Jon Runyan & Tra Thomas watching his flanks. Although Shawn Andrews and Jason Peters could likely represent an upgrade over those two, there's bound to be a learning curve. Add in Stacy Andrews, and McNabb will have just two players/positions that remain unchanged from last year's starting offensive line.
Then comes the new weapons. Leonard Weaver (who will start), Jeremy Maclin, & LeSean McCoy are all expected to play important roles this year and that will start with getting in sync with McNabb. In addition to those 3, draft picks Cornelius Ingram & Brandon Gibson will look to successfully hook up with McNabb.
The other QB storyline is clearly the development of Kevin Kolb. With no 4th QB currently on the roster, Kolb is going to see a LOT of time both in camp and in the preseason. The former second round pick is entering his 3rd season and fans are expecting to see progress from him. In very limited time last year in tough situations he struggled... However, a strong camp and preseason could go a long way in building the fan's confidence in him. He could cement his future as this team's starter after McNabb, make himself valuable trade bait, or he could edge his way toward "bust" status. This is a big preseason for Kevin Kolb.