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Five games into the 2011 season – A look at Kevin Kolb

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The move to get Kevin Kolb from the Eagles was a costly one, both in contract given and trade cost and it has no doubt elevated the play at quarterback for the Cardinals. However there are still many areas of Kolb's game that he needs to elevate if he is going to prove himself worthy of the moniker "franchise quarterback." Not long after the trade was completed I wrote on this site what the Cardinals needed to do to get the best out of Kevin Kolb. After the jump we will look at area's where Kolb has struggled with his game and whether or not the Cardinals have adapted their offense to play to the strengths of Kevin Kolb here.

After the jump we are going to see where Kolb is going to need to pick up his game, and whether or not the Cardinals coaching staff are putting him in the best positions to succeed.

Kevin Kolb has struggled to work past 10 yards downfield, on throws he has made that have travelled more than 10 yards in the air Kolb has completed just 20 of his 47 attempts, has thrown five of his interceptions to just three touchdowns and his QB rating is just 64.09. One in ten throws Kolb makes past ten yards downfield results in an interception. In contrast, when Kolb thrown the ball between 0-10 yards past the LOS he is completing 71% of his passes, and 2 TD's to 0 INT and has a QB rating of 99.2. This is a trend that Kolb also showed in 2010 in Philadelphia.

Kolb has fumbled six times in five starts in Arizona and 12 times in his last 10 NFL starts. Some can be accepted (i.e., the toss to Wells was more on Wells than Kolb), but in 27 times he has been sacked or run with the ball this season he has fumbled five times. The consistency of his fumbilitis is a worry, as turnovers kill teams in the NFL and in his last 10 NFL starts Kolb has been responsible for 25 turnovers or possible turnovers (13 INT, 12 fumbles)

Half of Kevin Kolb's three interceptions have been thrown in the fourth quarter. That number is a horrible statistic, when you want your quarterback to be at his best, it appears the Kolb is at his worst. In all but one game so far this season the Cardinals offense has been in a position to win the football game and in none of those four chances has the offense actually come through and won that football game for the team. It is a worrying sign, outside of the Carolina game the Cardinals have really struggled, producing just 14 points across four fourth quarters while turning the ball over 5 times in the process.

Has the Cardinals offense adapted to playing to the strengths of Kolb? The short answer is no, long answer, for some reason the offense continues to be tailored towards the weaknesses of Kolb, for reasons which I have no idea. Both in his time with the Eagles and his time in Arizona Kolb has shown a favouritism for his tight ends, and so far this season the he has yet to throw an interception when the Cardinals lineup with two or more tight ends on the field. With one or two tight ends (lined up as a TE) on the field Kolb has is 41/64, a 64 percent completion rate, 538 yards at 8.41 YPA, 3 TDs and 1 INT and a QB rating of 99.61. However, that accounts for just 37 percent of Kolb's passing attempts, amazingly 62 percent (balance is 2 passes with 3 TEs on the field) have come without a tight end on the field (line up as a TE), leading to Kolb posting, 59/106, 55.66 percent completions, 735 yards at 6.9 YPA, 2 TDs and 5 INTs. The Cardinals continue to try and spread the field with their receivers despite a lack of performance for the team in these situations and continues to ignore the obvious success that the team and Kolb has when taking snaps from a traditional, 2 TE, 2 WR, 1 RB set. It should also be noted that on the 62 percent of passes without a TE the Cardinals have allowed 75 percent of their sacks, and on the 37 percent of plays with one or two TEs the Cardinals have allowed 25 percent of their sacks.

Other statistical notes on Kolb; Kolb has dealt well with the blitz, he has thrown 53 passes with 5 or more rushers coming at him, he has completed 31 of them for 502 yards 4 TD's and just one INT and a QBRating of 107.6. I believe this is a result of him being forced to get the ball out quickly, contrast it with plays where he is not blitzed, 70/119, 779 yards, 6.54 YPA, 1 TD, 5 INT's QBRating of 63.67.

Overall there is potential there, you can see it in the plays where he holds in the pocket and tosses a deep pass all the while taking a vicious hit. You can see it when he gets into a rhythm and hits his receivers in stride allowing them to gain YAC. As Kolb becomes more comfortable in the system his performances should improve and take a large leap forward, but the Cardinals staff also need to take a step back and look at how the offense they are running can be tailored to the strengths of their QB and away from some of his weaker points.

**Note I know this game is not played on a stat sheet, but these are the exact same trends we saw from Kolb coming over from the Eagles and it just gets on my nerves that a professional football team is not going to tailor its offense to the strengths of it's prized asset at Quarterback**