Can Kevin Kolb Actually Deliver in the Dessert?
Kevin Kolb is a lot of things. He is strong-armed, quick-footed, coachable and patient.
But is he a franchise savior?
In trading for Kevin Kolb this past week, the Arizona Cardinals made one thing abundantly clear; they are placing the entire franchise on the back of Kevin Kolb. Of course, the coaches will give you the usual spiel about how the team is not built around any single individual and that it takes 50-people to make this thing work. However, if football and sports were 100% about the team, then individuals wouldn’t be traded for groups of other individuals and/or draft picks the way they are. And if Kolb wasn’t worth more than 1/50th of the Cardinals on-field potential, they would not have traded their starting cornerback and a draft pick to Philadelphia just to get what was a second-string quarterback a season ago.
Given that the Cardinals gave up so much to get Kolb, the pressure is on. Fans who knew they had a 10-year starter in cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie are going to expect a lot out of Kolb and question whether he was worth if from the first game of NFL Week 1.
And who can blame them?
Not many Pro-Bowl caliber defensive players pass through Arizona, so to give one up for a guy who has not played an entire season worth of football since 2006 when he was in college seems pretty risky.
And it is.
Head coach Ken Whisenhunt knows he has essentially staked his coaching career on this decision. Sure, the guys who enabled this trade from their cushy seats in the press box are the ones who let this stuff happens, but often times their careers are less-tarnished by the results of the trades than the very people who had nothing to do with pulling the trigger on the acquisition.
So now Whisenhunt must turn what has, to this point, been nothing more than potential into a solid, starting, NFL quarterback. That’s a hard job to do; but it’s not one that Whisenhunt hasn’t had success with in the past. It was Whisenhunt who made Ben Roethlisberger one of the most successful young quarterbacks in the history of the NFL. As the Pittsburgh Steelers young offensive coordinator, Whisenhunt got Roethlisberger to win his first 15 games as a rookie starting quarterback, and then he helped Big Ben get a ring in 2006.
Since then, the grass has not been as green. Turning potential-laden Arizona quarterbacks into budding, young stars has proven a difficult task. Whether it was Matt Leinart or an even more seasons Derrick Anderson, Whisenhunt’s quarterback struggles have sank his team. In two seasons with Kurt Warner as the full-time starter, the Cardinals and Whisenhunt enjoyed 4 playoff victories. In the remaining two seasons, the Cardinals have managed a 13-19 season and no trips to the postseason.
And now Kevin Kolb is going to turn it around…right?
Truth be told, one of the best ways to draw interest in a team is to be the Eagles backup quarterback. First it was AJ Feeley, for whom the Miami Dolphins paid a pretty penny to take off the Eagles hands. Then it was Jeff Garcia, who was soon courted by Tampa Bay for big dollars to start for the Buccaneers. Once Donovan McNabb was slated to become the backup, the Eagles got big draft picks for #5 via the Washington Redskins. And now we have Kevin Kolb, for which the Cardinals traded away their most reliable defensive player.
But if Kolb turns out to produce the same results that the other Andy Reid rejects have produced, his Arizona career will be short-lived. Feeley was a failure in Miami and got benched. Jeff Garcia lasted all of one season and was down in South Florida. And Donovan McNabb is now on his 3rd team in 18 months.
Kolb is different though, right? After all, unlike Feeley, Kolb was a high, blue-chip draft pick with division 1 size and talent. Oh wait, he went in the second round?
Yeah, but unlike Garcia, Kolb can see in the pocket and doesn’t break it unless unnecessary. Come again? Kolb got sacked 7% of the time last season.
Okay, but Kolb is much more accurate than McNabb ever was.
Ding! Ding! Ding!
We have a winner. Kolb is more accurate at the age of 27 than McNabb was. Then again, Kolb also had DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Brent Celeck and LeSean McCoy to throw to last season and threw for 60%. McNabb’s quality receivers list consisted of Chad Lewis, Charles Johnson and Duce Staley and he compiled 58% of his passes.
I do not want to be Debbie-downer here, but the history of the Eagles backup quarterback doesn’t bode well for the Cardinal and Ken Whisenhunt’s job security. Maybe it’s the Eagles system, maybe it’s Andy Reid constantly being in a QB’s face, or maybe it’s just a coincidence. Either way, 3, 6, 15 and 20 seasons from now, people will be making historical judgments on the basis of this trade and whether Kolb was worth it.
All I can say is that I doubt Kolb will be at that party.
No related posts.