The last time a rookie quarterback received this much attention at an Eagles training camp, the team was coming off its worst season in the 16-game era and there was no doubt that by the end of the year the kid in camp would be starting instead of the veteran.
From that standpoint, the pressure is not nearly as great on Kevin Kolb today as it was on Donovan McNabb when he made his way to Lehigh University for the first time in 1999 as a backup to Doug Pederson.
"I'm not going to say [Kolb] doesn't have to feel the urgency to be ready, nor will we coach him any different than" a rookie McNabb, Eagles coach Andy Reid said the night his rookies reported to camp. "But it is a different situation. Donovan McNabb is a starting quarterback and one of the best in the business at what he does. He's being counted on to play this whole season, and that's a different situation than when Donovan came in. We knew somewhere in that first year, Donovan would have the opportunity to be a starter."
Kolb, the Eagles' first selection in the April draft out of the University of Houston, knows his first snap in an NFL game might not even come this season, but he's treating this camp as a valuable training ground.
After his first practice Saturday, Kolb, a 22-year-old Texas native, agreed to answer some questions about his past, present and future, on the field and off.
Question. Do you have any fond memories of being a Dallas Cowboys fan?
Answer. Yeah, when they won those Super Bowls with [Troy] Aikman and [Michael] Irvin and Emmitt [Smith], that was a pretty good dynasty.
Q. Did you own an Aikman jersey?
A. No. I wasn't a crazy fan. Like I said, when you're in football, you're not as crazy as when you get to play the game.
Q. You were married in February. Where was the honeymoon?
A. We didn't have one. It was . . . right before the draft, so we had a lot going on. I didn't want to waste a week in there where I'd have to build up my body and I wanted to stay mentally right. I felt like I was in good position at that time and my wife [Whitney], she actually helped me make that decision. We'll do it later on. We'll have plenty of time to plan a trip.
Q. What did you get her for a wedding gift?
A. I got her a ring. That was it. That's all she wanted. I guess I bought her a house, too.
Q. What has been your most useful wedding gift?
A. A barbecue pit.
Q. What did you like most about Houston?
A. The thing I liked was that it's a city with a lot of hardworking people. It's a city that revolved around oil and natural gas and a lot of those people, they built their way up from small things and I like people like that: good, blue-collar, hardworking people.
Q. What's your best college memory?
A. No doubt about it, winning the Conference [USA] championship [vs. Southern Mississippi] last year. We packed the stadium for the first time, the fans rushed the field, and we won the school's first championship in eight years. It was my last game at home, so there's no better way to go out than that.
Q. Best meal in Philadelphia so far?
A. The Capital Grille in downtown. Everything is good on their plate. Every one of their steaks is good. I'm a steak-and-potato guy, so they fit right into my groove.
Q. What about the cheesesteak? Have you had one yet?
A. Yes I have.
Q. Wit or witout?
A. You mean the Cheez Whiz? I've had it both ways and they were both good.
Q. What's the scariest thing to ever happen to you while you were hunting wild boar?
A. I had about a 250-pound boar shed one of our dogs, and I was going in to stab him at the same time. He spun on me just at the right time, and I kind of jumped back and he was coming at me. Somebody released our other catch dog, and the bulldog hit him right when he was coming at me and he took him out.
Q. The dog saved your life?
A. Yeah, basically. I won't be doing any boar hunting now that the contract is signed.
Q. What's the funniest thing Donovan has said to you so far?
A. That probably needs to go unsaid, but he is a jokester. He's a funny guy.
Q. All right, what's the best advice he's given you?
A. I think the thing I appreciate the most is he's obviously the best-paid guy here, and the first thing he told me was to save your money. That's a mature man speaking. He understands that we're not going to be able to play this game forever, so when you get paid, you better keep it so it can last during the longevity of your life.
Q. Who's your best friend in football?
A. Probably my dad [Ray] or my college coach. Coach [Art] Briles, he calls all the time and checks in on me and what we're doing.
Q. What did you learn from them that you know will be with you forever?
A. I think just to fight no matter what and to respect the game. You have to understand that bad things happen to everybody, and you have to fight through it. That's what makes you a champion, when you fight through it.
Q. What has been the most difficult thing so far about learning the West Coast offense?
A. The details. Things convert against different coverages and different routes will bend a certain way accordingly, and you've got to learn it all. I don't know if it's necessarily the West Coast, I just think it's this profession. It's your job and when you come in as a rookie you have to pick up on it pretty fast and they expect you to. You have to study and be ready.
Q. What's been different so far from the college game?
A. I think the demand of excellence is so much more. This is your profession, so they demand things of you, and if you don't get it done there's somebody behind you that can. It's not like college, where they might have to go get a recruit or transfer to replace you. They can replace you right now.
Q. Donovan is starting his ninth season, and you're starting your first. Where do you want to be when you're starting your ninth season?
A. I'd like to be right where he's at. I'd like to have a Super Bowl under my belt. I'd like to have a couple of Pro Bowls, and I want to stay healthy. I think Donovan will tell you if he stayed healthy, there wouldn't be any issues at all.