Kafka says he's ready to be Eagles' No. 2 QB

Kafka says he's ready to be Eagles' No. 2 QB
July 12, 2011, 5:48 pm
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EVESHAM, N.J. If the Eagles season comes down to Mike Kafka throwing to Jason Avant, its safe to say things havent gone according to plan.But if it does happen, theyll be ready. Really ready. On Tuesday, Kafka was once again throwing pass after pass to Avant on the artificial turf field at the Memorial Sports Complex in Marlton, N.J. Its been the same thing for a couple months now. Avant runs routes, Kafka hits him in stride. The two have really found some chemistry in the suburbs during their informal workouts during the ongoing lockout. Mike has been great, Avant said. Weve been working out, I feel like I have great timing with him. Even when we miss, I know what hes thinking. I know why he missed. I know if its something I did in my route. I think that hes doing a great job. Just his knowledge of the playbook, we still call out plays and coverages and different things.If anyone would know about the 23-year-old Kafkas progress, it would certainly be Avant. The wideout has spent much of his summer catching passes from Kafka, who in his rookie season was third on the depth chart behind Michael Vick and Kevin Kolb. But with the possibility a real strong possibility that the Eagles deal Kolb, would the Eagles 2010 fourth-round pick from Northwestern University be ready to be the No. 2 quarterback?I have to be absolutely, Kafka said. Thats what Ive been out here doing, getting ready for this training camp coming up to do whatever I can to help this team.Yeah, I definitely think hell be just fine, Avant said. With everyone behind him and with him knowing the playbook. Its such a transformation from your first year to your second year.Kafka left Northwestern as the schools third-leading rusher all-time and its eighth-leading passer.In his rookie season with the Eagles, he was the third-string quarterback and was inactive in all but five games. In those five games, he was the second-stringer behind Kolb. After Vick was named the starter in late September, Kolb started four games (three because Vick went down with injury). With Vicks style of play, it appears that the backup quarterback for the Eagles, whoever it is, will get some playing time. But so far, Kafka hasnt had a single snap in the NFL. Whatever my role is, Im just going to play it to the best I can and try to help the team be successful, Kafka said. Especially with that first year under the belt, everything was just like a whirlwind. Now, I feel more comfortable. I still have a lot more room to grow and get better, but Im looking forward to it.The growth process for Kafka hasnt just been on the field, he says he feel more comfortable in the offense and feels more comfortable running it. His time with the sure-handed Avant hasnt hurt either. Its been going well. Were doing some pretty good communicating, Kafka said. Were able to go through our offenses and talk football and obviously get a lot of repetitions, which is great. Its great working with a guy like Jason, because hes a guy we look to in the game a lot, especially in third-down situations.So sure, its unlikely that Kafka will have a major role in the Eagles offense this season, but his time with Avant has helped, and if needed, both say hell be ready. Today he was on point with all his throws and me, I was a little sluggish, Avant said smiling after a morning of working out in 90-plus degree temperatures. But hes definitely on time with everything, I just have to catch up to him.
E-mail Dave Zangaro at dzangaro@comcastsportsnet.com