Yup, another one of these.
This off-season has heard countless calls from Philly fans to trade McNabb and start Kolb. Right. Now. But the truth is Eagles fans aren’t ready for Kevin Kolb to start. We’re very used to McNabb here in Philly and we tend to overlook the things he does well and speak very critically over what he doesn’t do (or hasn’t done yet). The arguments are all the same, “He isn’t accurate,” “He doesn’t fit the offense,” “He’s getting old,” “He never wins the big game,” “He doesn’t put in the effort necessary to succeed in the NFL,” etc, etc. etc…
I’m not here to sing the praises of Mr. McNabb. A lot of the arguments I just mentioned have valuable kernels of truth to them, even if they are somewhat blown out of proportion. What I’m here to do is to raise a few questions about what it would be like if Kolb was running this team, and why it might not be the Superbowl lock that many Eagles seemed to be optimistically disillusioned with.
Lets take a look at Kolb’s numbers, just to get an idea. In his rookie year he played in only one game. In that game he dropped back to pass three times, getting sacked twice and fumbling for a loss once. That was his rookie season, so it’s probably irrelevant for this article, just being comprehensive here. In his second season he played in 6 games in relief work, attempting 34 passes, completing half of them, and throwing four interceptions. Not too impressive, and at the time there were a number of Eagles fans who thought it was time to start looking for another QB of the future. Sophomore slump perhaps? Who knows. Well, lets take a look at his most recent season, especially the starts. In fact, that’s all we’ll look from this season at since its these two games that caused Kolb-mancrush-mania.
In Kolb’s first start against the Saints (a defense that was at best fairly solid and at worst anemic this season) he threw a whopping 51 passes, completing 31 of them (a 60.8% completion percentage) for 391 yards, 2 TDs and 3 INTs. His overall passer rating was 73.2 for the game. In his next game against the horrid Chiefs defense Kolb completed over 70% of his 34 passes (24/34) for 327 yards and 2 TDs. He finished with a QB rating of 120.6. His numbers were respectable this season in his first two starts, and at first its easy to see the excitement over the young QB.
But the key statistic here: Turnovers
In my estimation, Kolb has played a total of 4 full games in the NFL (130 career pass attempts, comes out to an average of about 33 attempts per game for four games), and has turned the ball over nine times (7 INTs, 2 lost fumbles).
This season, had Kolb been the starter, his projected stat line would have looked like this:
QB rtg: 99.8, 5744 Passing Yards, 32 passing TDs, 24 INTs, 6 rush TDs, 10 fumbles, 4 lost
(These stats are mathematically calculated, primarily based off of his two starts, with some Kolb-friendly rounding just to be completely fair to the man).
Pretty good right?
Sure they are, but 28 turnovers is a LOT. And keep in mind that I rounded down with some of these numbers, and the assumption is that no defense would be better than the Saints and half of the teams we played would be as bad as the Chiefs. It could easily be higher, it could be lower. But I think 28 is a fair number.
In perspective, McNabb’s worst turnover season as an Eagle (12 turnovers in 9 games in 2005) would have yielded about 23 turnovers. We went 4-5 under McNabb that year, who played most of those nine games with a sports hernia.
So to those of you who claim McNabb is inaccurate, I propose this theory: McNabb misses open receivers because he throws away from the defense. Because of this he will overthrow and underthrow a lot of passes, but very few of them can be caught by defenders. Kolb, on the other hand, has better “accuracy,” but his playing style has him throw the ball to the receivers, rather than lead them away from the defense. Because of this Kolb will generate more big plays, but after-the-catch carries will be shorter (doesn’t buy as much separation from the secondary) and he will throw more picks.
And one more statistic, for those who say McNabb doesn’t play well under pressure:
McNabb: 2-2 in college bowl games, 9-6
Kolb: 0-2 in college bowl games
And I know that college doesn’t transfer to the pro’s, but Kolb doesn’t have any pro playoff games to compare with so I did both.
This is all I have to say, and I apologize for beating the dead QB. I mean… horse.
And thanks for reading my first fanpost!