Eagles' Kolb sees hope in Rodgers' triumph

Eagles QB Kevin Kolb watched Aaron Rodgers win the Super Bowl on Sunday and said to his wife, "I can do that."
Eagles QB Kevin Kolb watched Aaron Rodgers win the Super Bowl on Sunday and said to his wife, "I can do that."
Posted: February 10, 2011

Kevin Kolb could not sleep Sunday night, not after watching the player he looks up to more than any other stand on a platform, the Lombardi Trophy in hand, as the Super Bowl's most valuable player.

Aaron Rodgers is Kolb's guy. They share a brotherhood, each traveling a uniquely complex path to become a starting quarterback in the National Football League.

Rodgers made it to the top. He waited. He endured. He held on when, after three years as Brett Favre's understudy, his confidence was shaken in 2008 after Green Bay's faithful booed him and doubted him and frankly didn't want him. Rodgers survived in 2009 when Favre beat him twice, giving unhappy Packers fans more ammunition in the argument of which quarterback was better.

It took Rodgers three rocky years - no time, really - but he won the Super Bowl. He won the Super Bowl. His receivers and tight end dropped passes, and one of his most valuable defensive teammates got hurt, and Rodgers still found a way to lead the Packers to a 31-25 win over Pittsburgh.

After watching it and seeing how jubilant and grateful and classy Rodgers was in victory, Kolb was jacked up. There was his proof. If he keeps working and keeps being a professional and does not complain about how unfair it was that Andy Reid jerked the starting job from him last season after one half of a football game, he too can get there. All he needs is the chance.

"I told my wife, 'I can do that,' " Kolb said during a phone call Wednesday afternoon while walking on a treadmill at his home in Texas. "If you hear him talk, he says confidence is the one thing that got him through it. They were 6-10. There were a lot of doubters. The coaches, everybody with him knew what they had, but there were times he doubted himself, and I think he's a confident guy.

"You say, 'Man, I can really do it,' and to hear a Super Bowl MVP say it, that means a lot. So you keep pressing. You know it's possible, so you put that in your memory bank and keep working."

Rodgers has elevated himself into the Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees category. He is accurate, tough, crafty, and smart, and he throws as perfect a ball under duress as anyone in the league. He kept hitting his receivers in the numbers on Sunday, and even when the drops mounted, Rodgers did not become frustrated.

It is not unrealistic to think that Kolb can do all of that, too. But after sitting for three years behind Donovan McNabb, he lost his job to Michael Vick and could not win it back, and, from the sound of it, the Eagles will bring Vick back to be the starter here whenever the 2011 season starts.

Maybe Kolb will become as consistent and as accurate as Rodgers. He certainly is as confident and works as hard and, like Rodgers, is a team guy.

But until Kolb gets his chance to make mistakes and have success over the course of one, two, even three seasons, we will not know whether he can be as good as Rodgers. The Eagles said they were going to give Kolb that chance and then took it away from him, so regardless of what they might say, obviously they do not think that can happen.

Now the question is, will Kolb get another chance and, if so, where? If I'm the Eagles, I don't let him go this off-season, even if a team offers a first-round draft pick. With his playing style, Vick is too injury-prone, and the Eagles need a solid backup in the event Vick misses significant time.

The uncertainty over a new collective bargaining agreement does not help Kolb at all. Even if Andy Reid says he will try to move Kolb, teams cannot make trades until there is a new CBA. What if that is not until August or September? Why would the Eagles move him then?

And if they don't, what then? Kolb was the good soldier throughout the switch to Vick, but Kolb has been clear: He has waited long enough and learned all that he can as a backup, and now it is time for him to be a starter. How will he behave if that does not happen?

Kolb was not thinking about that on Wednesday. He said he has finally healed from a hit DeMarcus Ware put on him in the season finale against Dallas and is working out and getting ready for 2011, whenever and wherever that might be. He last talked to Rodgers on the Thursday before the Super Bowl but has not tried him since, because "he's probably a little busy right now," Kolb said.

Rodgers was at Disney World on Monday morning for a parade and was on Late Show With David Letterman that night. Kolb made a point to watch it, then stayed up a few more hours visualizing what it would take to get there.

"I think we have so much in common, and the more I hear him talk and watch his stuff, the more you tend to root for him," Kolb said. "He's a lead-by-example guy, which I consider myself. . . . He's had plenty of opportunity where he could've said certain things I'm sure he wanted to, and he kept his mouth shut, he kept pressuring forward. That's really, really hard to do."

But imagining himself in Rodgers' position on Sunday night, that was not hard for Kolb to do at all. Falling asleep? Now that was nearly impossible.


Contact columnist Ashley Fox

at 215-854-5064 or afox@phillynews.com.

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