PHILADELPHIA - Arizona quarterback Kevin Kolb now knows what it's like to be the other guy.
Two years ago, he began the season as the Eagles' starting quarterback but got hurt in the opening game and lost his job to Michael Vick.
He started this season on the bench but was called into action when John Skelton was injured in the opener against Seattle. Kolb rallied the Cardinals to a victory and then led them to an upset win at New England last week.
He'll be the Cardinals' starter again Sunday when they take on Vick and the Eagles at University of Phoenix Stadium.
"It's somewhat ironic," Kolb said Wednesday in a phone interview. "But I know better than to look too far ahead. I learned a lot during my time with the Eagles. One of the things I learned was not to try to predict anything."
Few people expected Kolb to be playing for the other team a few years ago.
When the Eagles traded quarterback Donovan McNabb to Washington on Easter Sunday in 2010, Kolb was annointed his successor and stayed in the lineup throughout training camp and the preseason. His status changed when Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews slammed him to the turf in the 2010 opener, giving him a concussion.
Vick took over that game, nearly led the Eagles to a win, and went on to have a terrific season that landed him in the Pro Bowl. Eagles coach Andy Reid promised Kolb he would get his job back when healthy, but then changed his mind. Kolb's four-year tenure with the Eagles ended in July 2011, when he was traded to the Cardinals in exchange for cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a draft pick.
"I try not to live in the past, but in that Green Bay game, I never thought I'd be going into that game and playing that day," Vick said Wednesday. "I never knew what my career was going to be like, how it was going to take off, and where it was going to go."
Kolb, the Eagles' second-round draft pick in 2007, has had a weird career.
Upon signing with the Cardinals, the 28-year-old entered last season as their starter but wound up missing seven games - including the Cardinals' 21-17 win over the Eagles - with a turf-toe injury and concussion-like symptoms. Skelton beat him out during training camp this season for the starting job.
"My career's been wild," Kolb said. "Every time I think things are set, a curveball shows up. That's why I just take everything game by game, week in and week out. That's another lesson I learned in Philly. I learned not to let the highs and lows affect you that bad because you never know how quickly things can change."
His career took another turn two weeks ago, when Skelton suffered a sprained ankle in the fourth quarter against Seattle. Kolb completed 6-of-8 passes for 66 yards and a touchdown. His 6-yard touchdown pass to Andre Roberts clinched a 20-16 victory.
Last Sunday, he was even better at New England. He hit on 15-of-27 passes for 140 yards with a TD and also rushed for 20 yards and a touchdown. His 5-yard quarterback sneak into the end zone was the deciding score in a 20-18 upset of the Patriots.
He has yet to throw an interception this season and has thrown 68 consecutive passes without one. Vick has thrown six this season in 88 attempts.
"He's done a good job doing exactly what we expected of him," Cards coach Ken Whisenhunt said Wednesday in a phone interview. "Kevin's managed the offense, made good decisions and made some big plays. He's taking advantage of his opportunity and that's what you want to see out of a true pro in the NFL."
He'll be under a lot of pressure Sunday, both on and off the field.
As Kolb knows, The Eagles' defense is known for its ability to rush the quarterback. They tied for the league lead last season with 50 sacks and have four sacks to go with 43 quarterback hurries through two games this season.
"You want to think that you know his strengths and weaknesses, but I'll tell you that he's played against this defense a little bit, too," Reid said Wednesday. "He knows the strengths and weaknesses of this defense, so I'm sure it'll all equal out in the end."
Kolb still has a few friends on the Eagles, including tight end Brent Celek, wide receiver Riley Cooper and even Vick. The two never let their competitiveness get in the way of their friendship.
"We all know Kevin is a competitor and I know him as a good friend," Vick said. "I know he's going to be up and ready to play this game. And we're going to be ready for him."
There's no doubt that Kolb will want to at least earn some offseason bragging rights Sunday. But as far as wanting to prove the Eagles made a mistake by trading him, that's not one of his main goals.
He's more focused on riding this wave of momentum for as long as he can.
"It was tough going through all that with the Eagles, but it was a unique experience," Kolb said. "I'm really excited to be playing against them, but there's no bitterness towards the Eagles or anything. I'm more excited that we have a chance to get to 3-0."
Extra points: Safety Colt Anderson (hyperextended knee), tackle King Dunlap (strained hamstring), wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (hip contusion) did not practice. Wide receiver Riley Cooper (broken collarbone) and wide receiver DeSean Jackson (strained hamstring) were limited. If Dunlap can't play, Demetress Bell will start at left tackle against the Cards.
Steve Vallos showed up in time to participate in practice. He was spending time at home in Seattle when the Eagles called to sign him to be their backup center. Jason Kelce was placed on injured reserve Tuesday after tearing two ligaments in his right knee Sunday against Baltimore. Dallas Reynolds is the new starter.
"I feel like I was right on the bubble of making the team (during the preseason)," said Vallos, who was one of the Eagles' final roster cuts. "Obviously, its a tough situation for Jason. But it's a good opportunity for me."
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