PHILADELPHIA -- Kevin Kolb took all the snaps with the first team in practice. He answered all the questions about his preparedness to start for the Philadelphia Eagles. He was publicly supported by his teammates and kept his cool even as the team signed Jeff Garcia to be a backup quarterback.
Kolb has done it all this week, except make his first NFL start.
Kolb appears set to have that chance against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. Eagles starting quarterback Donovan McNabb is doubtful to play because of a fractured rib and sat out practice for the third consecutive day Friday.
The Eagles haven't completely ruled out McNabb, leaving open the slim chance that the quarterback who once threw four touchdown passes on a broken ankle can gut out a painful rib injury against the Saints.
"He felt a little bit better today and we'll just keep rehabbing him and see how it goes the next couple of days," Reid said.
Kolb, a three-year pro who hasn't thrown a touchdown pass in eight career NFL games, is ready to start if McNabb can't go.
"In my mind, I'm the starter," Kolb said. "That's the way I have to think of it."
Kolb would start ahead of Garcia, who signed Tuesday as an emergency backup. Garcia would be the No. 3 quarterback if McNabb could somehow play. Michael Vick, suspended for the first two regular-season games as the final league penalty for his role in running a dogfighting ring, isn't eligible until the Week 3 game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Garcia and Vick shared snaps with the scout team Friday.
Reid has faith in Kolb, the Eagles' second-round draft pick in 2007.
"He takes charge in there and he's done a nice job with managing the huddle and the plays," Reid said.
It has been a strange sight this week at Eagles practice, where McNabb, Garcia and Vick mingle in the background while Kolb runs the offense. Three quarterbacks with a combined 12 Pro Bowls and six NFC championship games are reduced to cheerleaders for Kolb, who has 167 career passing yards and four interceptions.
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."
Kolb must make it happen because Eagles fans will demand a change if he has a slow start. Garcia was an instant fan favorite during his first Eagles stint when he led the team to the NFC East title subbing for an injured McNabb. Kolb already has been told he has earned the chance to start and finish Sunday's game.
There are no guarantees he'll have a second start, no matter the result. With Garcia and Vick lurking if McNabb can't go against the Chiefs, the pressure is amped on Kolb to play well and win.
Garcia wished Kolb well but said he's prepared to play if pressed into action.
"I'd be fired up," Garcia said. "If for some reason that opportunity presented itself, I'll be ready. I'll be ready to go."
Then again, Kolb could play well, McNabb could rush back and struggle, and those fickle Philadelphia fans could be chanting "We want Kolb!"
McNabb cracked a single rib when several Carolina Panthers defenders crunched him on his 3-yard touchdown run during the third quarter of last week's win. He didn't immediately get up after the touchdown, and Eagles trainers attended to him before he eventually left the field on his own.
Kolb completed 7 of 11 passes for 23 yards and was sacked twice after he took over for McNabb.
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.
McNabb laughed when asked about his sticky ribs.
"I don't know what that means," he said. "I never heard that in all my life."
They know their fate. Kolb wants a concrete answer on his role.
"Yeah, as soon as possible just because you want to know," Kolb said. "It doesn't matter because I'm preparing right now like I'm the starter. My mind-set is that I'm starting, and that's the way I have to think of it."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press