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Just The Sports: The Kevin Kolb Era

Just The Sports

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Kevin Kolb Era

By trading Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins, the Philadelphia Eagles officially ushered in the Kevin Kolb era, which will begin this season. Before he fully assumes the starting quarterback position in meaningful regular season games, though, it is worth trying to predict what sort of player in whom the Eagles have invested so much time and confidence. There are some indications based on Kolb's quarterbacking past that while he will not embarrass himself on the field, neither will he put up any kind of Hall of Fame statistics.

Ordinarily, I would disregard immediately a quarterback prospect with the college resume that Kolb has and predict a short and mediocre career for him; he only completed 61.5% of the 1,563 meaningful passes he attempted for the University of Houston Cougars. Yet, there are a couple of aspects regarding Kolb's collegiate career and the Eagles offense in which he will be playing. Although Kolb had a low completion percentage in college, he also had an amazingly high yards per pass attempt of 8.3 for the low level at which he was completing passes. Usually, whenever a low completion percentage is coupled with a high yards per pass attempt figure, it indicates that the offense is largely predicated on big plays and attempting a disproportionate number of downfield passes while eschewing the quick, safe passes that can elevate a completion percentage. Therefore, we already know Kolb is used to being in an offense that largely survives on the big passing play.

Anyone who studied the Philadelphia Eagles last season knows the offense is going in the direction of relying almost exclusively on hoping for downfield completions, which should make Kolb feel extremely comfortable. Last year, McNabb's 8.0 yards per pass attempt was the third highest of his career despite only completing an extremely pedestrian 60.3% of his passes. Kolb will most likely be able to replicate such a season and do it at a younger age and for a cheaper price, explaining part of the reason for why McNabb was traded. Of course, such a season will make Kolb a middle of the road quarterback, but the Eagles have won with an average quarterback like McNabb so there is no reason they cannot do the same with Kolb.

Another advantage which Kolb possesses is the fact that he has not been rushed onto the field and instead, he has been given time to immerse himself fully into Andy Reid's offense until he learned all of its nuances and intricacies. Therefore, there should be few growing pains as Kolb assumes the reins of the Eagles offense. More coaches should take that same patient approach with their quarterbacks if they want them to play adequately as soon as they hit the field.

Kevin Kolb will never be a star quarterback. He will have great games every now and then, but overall, he will be a quarterback with a mediocre completion percentage and an above average yards per pass attempt mark. With numbers like that, he will be able to do everything McNabb did for the Eagles with the addition of bettering McNabb in yards per pass attempt. However, there will continue to be a multitude of quarterbacks in the league who are better signal callers than Kolb so all expectations for Kolb should be tempered, and Eagles fans should not expect him to light the world on fire.



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