A deal is getting closer and closer, and to many people in Philadelphia that means one thing: it is only a matter of time now until Kolb is moved.
Whether or not moving Kolb is the right thing to do is a discussion for another post. But assuming the Eagles are ready to move Kolb, as numerous reports indicate, many NFL experts are taking the time to answer the question that NFL GM’s are asking right now- is Kolb everything he is made out to be?
To answer that question, Adam Caplan of FoxSports and Greg Cosell of NFL Films took the time to break down each of Kolb’s starts he has made.
Here a recap of what Cosell and Caplan had to say about each of Kolbs starts, with my opinion thrown in:
1. Eagles vs New Orleans
Cosell: “This game speaks to what Kevin Kolb is and what he needs to be in order to become a successful NFL quarterback. He’s a three step, five step, quarterback who needs to be able to consistently plant and throw the ball. When’s he’s not able to do that, his mechanic break down, and his arm strength is not good enough to compensate for that.”
My take: Kolb’s first career start was a good one, despite the three interceptions. Throwing for close to 400 yards on the Super Bowl winning defense is nothing to be scoffed at, despite where the defense ranked that year. Kolb hit DeSean Jackson for a long touchdown pass in that game, which should have answered some questions about his arm strength. However, the interception he threw at the start of the third quarter was a killer, and an example of Kolb staring down his receivers.
2. Eagles vs. Kansas City
Caplan: “Kolb has plenty of time to throw. But he threw behind his intended receivers quite a bit this game. Sure, most of those passes were competed, but he made the receivers or tight ends have to reach back and grab the football. He won’t get away with that against the better defenses in the NFL over time.”
My take: It is interesting that Caplan saw an inaccurate quarterback after watching the tape, because the thing I got from Kolb after watching the game was how dangerous the offense could be when the Eagles offensive weapons were hit in stride. Kolb did exactly what needed to be done in this game- he beat up on a bad defense.
3. Eagles vs. San Francisco
Caplan: “In this performance, Kolb moved his feet or moved away from the pocket way too much for no apparent reason. There were several instances when he moved even though there were no bodies or defenders around him. He was too concerned with his pass protection rather then keeping his focus down the field.”
My take: While Kolb’s numbers were not off the chart (21-31, 253 yds, 1 TD), it is important to remember the magnitude of this game. Going into the Sunday Night showdown, the Eagles were 2-2 and needed a win to avoid falling to 2-3. Having been benched only 2 weeks ago in favor of Michael Vick, Kolb showed what a professional he was by stepping in and leading his team to a victory. This game showed me more about who Kolb was as a teammate and leader then what he was at that point in his career as a player.
4. Eagles vs Falcons
Cosell: “He really saw the field well. He clearly defined reads and made the right throws. He was much more under control in this game. The one thing that stood out in particular is that he had clarity, a batter understanding of what was in front of him.”
My take: In perhaps his best game as a professional, Kolb lit up the Falcons to the tune of 23-29, 326 yds, and a touchdown. Leading up to the game, a lot of questions were being asked about Kolb’s arm strength, and whether or not he would be able to gain chemistry with DeSean Jackson if he could not throw the ball long. Kolb answered that question with an 83 yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Maclin. Kolb executed a well put together game plan and beat one of the NFC’s best teams at that point.
5. Eagles vs Titans
Caplan: “This was clearly Kolb’s worst performance of the five games. He rushed to many throws and didn’t play under control for most of the game. He turned his body too much to throw the ball instead of planting his feet in the ground and staying in there when he was under pressure.”
My take: The play that will define this game was the botched snap that lead to a fumble- and ultimately the Eagles blowing an important game against the Titans. While Kolb was not sharp, I do not feel he played as poorly as Caplan did. He did not do enough to win a game that was their for the taking, which for a quarterback making his 5th start, might be to much to ask. In addition, the Eagles defense and Ellis Hobbs did not help out Kolb, to say the least.
Cosell: “When the first read is there, given the route combination and the defense, he’s very, very good. But when that first read is not quite there, and he’s forced to reset and look elsewhere, I think he struggles and I think he starts to play a little too fast. He starts to lose his footwork and I think he starts to lose his downfield focus.”
Caplan: “At his best, I think he could be someone like veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. That’s a quarterback who could take a team to the Super Bowl as long as there is good talent around him and has good coaches to work with. Hasselbeck doesn’t have a gun for an arm, but it’s good enough.”
My take: Interchange almost any young quarterback’s name for Kolb’s in those descriptions, and the shoe would still fit. Kolb learning to slow down and react to pressure is something he will only gain by being in there. If Kolb played 5 games in a row, I would be interested to see how he looked in the 5th- not how he looked after 5 games scattered throughout multiple seasons. Kolb has shown he can be accurate, and a team that trades for Kolb also has to hope that he can adjust to the speed of the NFL game- because as an athlete, he can not buy himself the time that Michael Vick can. As a teammate, I have seen how he gets along with his teammates, and despite being the focus of attention and controversy for the last year, holds their respect. If Kolb can adjust to the speed, I absolutely believe he can be a franchise quarterback in the NFL.
Whether or not that means he should be moved, however, is a topic for another day.