This season, Eagles' Kafka is bigger, stronger


He just looks different. Bigger. Stronger. More like a real NFL quarterback than some scrawny kid from Northwestern.

Mike Kafka spent most of the off-season in Mesa, Ariz., working out with Jay Schroeder and his Evo Sport fitness and lifting system. This isnt the former Redskins quarterback but a different Jay Schroeder, and the results are obvious.

Im a lot stronger, absolutely, Kafka said after OTA practice in the Eagles indoor bubble Monday. Jay has his own unique system and its shown a lot of benefits. I feel a lot different physically. I really do.

With the departure of Vince Young, Kafka is the early leader to back up Michael Vick this year, and Kafka has been getting a ton of reps during OTAs. No pads, no hitting, no contact, but so far, Kafka has looked sharp, finding the open receiver and getting him the ball.

I feel great, I really do. I feel really comfortable, I feel really confident, I feel like Im getting better every day, he said. Theres always things you want to keep improving on, but on the whole, its just about grinding it out, moving forward, keep on learning.

We didnt have these OTAs and minicamps last year, and it was tough. It really is a valuable time, a really important time for everybody to refine the skills and keep building.

These reps are just so important right now. You make mistakes and learn from them, learn from the things you do well, too.

Kafka was forced into action early last year against the Falcons and the Giants when Vick got hurt late in both games and Young was unavailable because of the hamstring injury he suffered against the Jets in the final preseason game. Kafka played well against the Falcons (7 for 9, 72 yards) in his NFL debut and not so well against the Giants (two interceptions).

But he said hes a different guy now with a far deeper grasp of the offense and more of a pro body as he enters his third NFL season

We wont really know where Kafka is until the Eagles move operations to Lehigh, the pads go on and Jim Washburn unleashes his defensive linemen on the QBs. But the Eagles sure seem high on Kafka, and at this point, it would be a shock if hes not No. 2 when the season starts.

Nick Foles just isnt ready, and Trent Edwards seems more like a guy whos getting a chance to try and resurrect his career than a true challenger for the backup job.

I feel way different than last year, I really do, Kafka said. Mentally and physically. Its about having a lot of fun out there. Its been really a really great few weeks. Im just real happy with where I am right now.

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