It would be a major surprise if Kevin Kolb is not the Philadelphia Eagles' starting quarterback against New Orleans on Sunday.
Donovan McNabb, who has a fractured rib, missed his third straight day of practice Friday. Coach Andy Reid listed him as "doubtful" on the official injury report, which means McNabb has only a 25 percent chance of playing in the home opener.
"He felt a little bit better today and we'll just keep rehabbing with him and see how it goes the next couple of days," Reid said Friday in quotes provided by the team. "It's hard (to say if McNabb will play) because he made improvements every day here, so you don't exactly know where he'll be by (1 p.m. Sunday)."
McNabb bellowed "I feel great" and laughed as he left the Eagles locker room. Coach Andy Reid said there was a chance McNabb would participate in today's walkthrough.
Reid said McNabb's rib has become "sticky" - or, more stable - which was encouraging.
"When they start feeling better, that's normally a sign that's happened," he said.
Kolb has taken all the reps with the first-team offense in practice this week in preparation for his first career start. Jeff Garcia, who just re-signed with the Eagles on Monday, likely will be Kolb's backup.
Michael Vick was promoted to the active roster this week but is ineligible to play against the Saints. He can make his regular-season Eagles debut the following Sunday, Sept. 27, against Kansas City, though his role has yet to be determined.
Vick could be a backup to McNabb, Kolb or Garcia, he could start, or he could get playing time as part of the Eagles' version of the Wildcat offense.
Kolb said he was more comfortable at each practice and knows he's ready to handle the Saints and the rest of the NFL.
"I had about 12 people come up to me and say, 'God, you look as ready as you'll ever be,' " Kolb said. "Now it's about going out there and making sure it happens."
Reid might be tempted to rest McNabb because of the uncertainty on the offense line.
Right guard Stacy Andrews told reporters that he will not start against the Saints. Max Jean-Gilles will be in the lineup in Andrews' sport. Andrews will rotate with Jean-Gilles and starting left guard Nick Cole.
It has not been a good week for the Andrews' brothers. Shawn Andrews, who was supposed to be the starting right tackle, was placed on injured reserve Tuesday with persistent lower back pain. He is thus ineligible to play this season. He is expected to go to Marina Del Rey, Calif., within the next few weeks to start a rehab program with Dr. Robert Watkins. Watkins repaired a herniated disc in Andrews' back last season.
"We're just working on what's best for (Shawn)," Reid said Friday. "If he went to California, he'd be near the doctor that did the surgery and that's where he rehabbed before."
Stacy Andrews, who played the entire game in the Eagles' 38-10 victory at Carolina last week, said his surgically repaired knee is not bothering him. He felt like he needed more work with offensive line coach Juan Castillo on his pass blocking techniques.
He sat out all of the Eagles' offseason minicamps after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee last season while playing for Cincinnati.
"Whatever it takes to win. It's not no punishment-type thing at all," Stacy Andrews said about the decision not to start him against the Saints. "I know I still got a ways to go, as far as learning the technique and getting everything that Juan is teaching. I didn't get an offseason with Juan and everybody, as far as learning the technique and everything. So once I get caught up with that, I'll be fine."
Extra points: Safety Quintin Demps (strained hamstring), guard Todd Herremans (stress fracture in foot) and linebacker Joe Mays (sprained shoulder) will not play against the Saints.
(Dan Gelston of The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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