My pick of the day! -- Jess
It has been a week sine I posted an article defending Ken Whisenhunt. Showing that he has drafted pretty good for this organization to try to bring in talent. I wanted to compare his five drafts to the previous five drafts of the Cardinals, but I figured 2600 words was long enough. Now I am going to do something just as crazy defend Kevin Kolb. How? Well it starts with his attacks the major ones are; "How can is playing this bad when there are rookies playing their first season at a decent level?", "How can he be in his fifth year and not know his foot work?" and "Why can't he get on the same page as his offense when (insert name here) can?". This post will analyze they play of other Free Agent QBs (explained later) and rookie QBs as well as the main topic of this post Kevin Kolb.
I will begin with the rookie QBs. It has been complained many times that rookies like Andy Dalton and Cam Newton are having "better" seasons then Kevin Kolb. Many fan think this is the ridiculous but is it true?
Andy Dalton currently has a 84.3 quarterback rating, he has thrown 189 passes completing 118 for a 62.4 completion percentage. He has thrown for 1311 yards, 7 TDs and 5 Ints. The most telling stat is he has 6.9 yards per attempt and has been sacked only 10 times.
Cam Newton currently has a 82.8 quarterback ratings, he has thrown 252 passes and completed 152 of them for a 60.3 completion percentage. He has thrown for 2103 yards, 8 TDs and 9 Ints. Again a telling statisitc is th eyards per attempt at 8.3 and sacks which is 14.
So why the relative "success" in this severely condensed off-season. Well the answer is that rookies had little time to learn the offense is a huge fallacy. The rookies were drafted in April 28th of 2011 and were given the playbook on April 29th during a short period when lock out was stayed. That is nearly six months from now making the size of the playbook seem not as big. Not only did these rookies get their playbook but they also built chemistry and timing in their plays with their receivers. Not only that, they were given the privileged of communication with player in the system to improve their game. If that wasn't enough rookies like Cam Newton had half the offense thrown out the books and replaced with the spread option so that the rookies learning curve could be decreased. Sure it was not as good as working with coaches but what did free agents get.
Then lets compare some of the top Free Agent QBs/ or Trade QBs that were signed this mean that they could not practice with the team until August 4th. That is less than half the time that rookies got with their playbook.
Kerry Collins- 65.9 QB rating, 49.0 completion percentage, 4.9 yards per attempt. (Didn't include yards TDs or Ints as he only played in 3 games 2 full games)
Tavaris Jackson- 81.0 QB rating, 157 attempt and 99 completions, for a 63.1 completion percentage. Has 1012 yards 6 TD, 5 Ints and 6.4 yards per attempt. This is despite knowing the offensive system that was installed in Seattle.
Rex Grossman - 66.5 QB rating, 165 attempts and 92 completion, for 55.8 completion percentage. Has 1132 yards, 6 TD, 9 Ints and 6.9 yards per attempt. Once again this is despite being in Washington's same system last year and being in Kyle Shanahan's system for more than 3 years.
Donavan McNabb - 82.9 QB rating,156 attempts and 96 completions, for 60.3 completion percentage. He has 1026 yards, 4 TDs, 2 Ints and 6.6 yards per attempt. Once again this is despite being familiar with the west coast offensive system Minnesota runs
Alex Smith - 95.2 QB rating, 158 attempts and 100 completions, for a 63.3 completion percentage. He has 1092 yards, 8 TD, 2 Ints and 6.9 yards per attempt. He has chemistry with his wideouts, a good O-line and a running game but this is a good improvement.
Matt Hasselbeck - 87.2 Qb rating, 211 attempts and 131 completions, for 62.1 completion percentage. He has 1518 yards, 10 TDs, 6 Ints and 7.2 yards per attempt. Good number for shortened time. Why? Well his O-line is 100times better than it was in Seattle, his WR were prior to injury 100 times better than Seattles and he had a RB who ran for 2000 yards to years ago.
So now that I have listed some of the QB in similar position as Kevin Kolb here are Kevin Kolbs number.
Kevin Kolb - 78.8 QB rating, 206 attempts 119 completions for 57.8 completion percentage. He has 1558 yards, 7 TDs, 7 Ints and 7.5 yards per attempt.
Lets see Kolb has thrown for more yard than every one of these QBs but Cam Newton and he has a much greater yards per attempt value. Not only this but he has been sacked more than anyone of these QBs. Why? Well not all of that is on him. Looking back against the Steelers there were to plays that exemplified the Cards offensive struggles. On the first drive the Steelers sent only four. Bridges took Ziggy Hood, Sedlein and Hadnot took McCledon, Daryl Colledge took no one as Levi Brow took Brett Keisel. No one block Lawrence Timmons on the left side of the line. This should have been a simple pick up but wasn't. Kolb wanted to go to a wide open Doucet in the flat but couldn't be cause of Timmons so went to Housler. It was deflected and intercepted. The second was the safety play. The defense sent 5 the o-line had 5 to block easy pick up. Once again the guard ad center double teamed the nose tackle. the LT was then forced to take the DE and no one block Lamarr Woodley. Again a WR was open in the middle but Kolb had less than 3 seconds on the play.
Kolb may be playing under level but the reason is because he has only been playing in the offense since August 4th. By now he now's the plays but he doesn't have the muscle memory for his drops. Coming from a completely different system that was keen on timing, he tend to revert back to those drop mechanics. This is why an off-season was needed because it would allow him to get reps in the offense and build that muscle memory. Whisenhunts' vertical offense is far different from the "West Coast" of the Eagles. Even the rookies got to work on the offensive drops,a d chemistry with player but the Free Agents didn't know where they were going to be so could't. It is going to take time to get the drops down without thinking about them. Whether he takes a three step drop with a hitch, or a no hitch can be a huge factor in timing which is crucial to QB play. It is this along with chemistry that will take time to learn. However he will not get better if the O-line can't pick up a simple four man rush or a 5 man blitz. I will say it again Kolb has played in six games and in the Steelers game I notice major improvement with pocket awareness and footwork. If by week 11 he is not noticeably improved than you can start talking about bad Free Agent acquisition.
I will state again Kevin Kolb will never be an elite QB, but I do believe he can be an above average QB (think Matt Schaub) and that is what the Cardinals need. He will need to work on accuracy issues but most of these are tied to his footwork. The Cardinals got him as a future plan knowing that the preset will be rough. I predicted this team as a six to nine win team. They have more holes then other teams with Free Agent QBs and more then I think they estimated. They have inconsistent run game unlike the 49ers, Titans and even the Bengals. They have an worst defense because of front seven issues then 49ers, Titans and even the Bengals. It is because of these reason and replacing a future Hall of Fame QB in Kurt Warner that Kolb has the pressure on him. Some of you think I may be making excuses but know that Kolb isn't making any he knows where he needs to improve and has been slowly improving week by week. Kolb will play better but time will tell if that will be enough to get the Cards wins or will he need a complete team effort. I vote the latter.