Once the lockout ends and team activity can begin, Philadelphia Eagles QB Kevin Kolb could be on the move. If that happens, the NFC West might be the most likely destination, but which team from that division would make the biggest jump with Kolb at QB?
Kolb could get Fitzgerald the ballThe Cardinals were in a Super Bowl not all that long ago. Sure they lost a lot of talent, but it only takes a modicum of half-decent quarterback play to win this division (witness the Seahawks and Matt Hasselbeck in 2010). The Cards had utterly dismal, chronically horrible play from that position last year.
The 49ers are a mess at QB and have a rookie coach coming out of a lockout. If the Cards land Kolb, that means Seattle didn't, so the Seahawks in this scenario are still scrambling for a quarterback. The Rams would be the division favorite, but they're a very young team that will be hurt by the lockout and also faces an absolutely brutal first half of the schedule.
Getting Kolb this late in the summer would be less than ideal, but by the end of training camp he'd know enough of the system to be a tremendous upgrade at the most important position on the field.
49ers have talent, just need a QBFirst off, I'm not completely buying into Kolb being any team's savior. Granted, I think he'll be more Matt Schaub than A.J. Feeley in terms of guys with limited resumes taking over as full-time starters. I just need more proof, I guess.
That said, San Francisco could probably make the biggest leap because they've got more talent than any other team in the division, and its defense and running game could help any transition a new quarterback would have to make. The one thing that's held the 49ers back has been their quarterback play and Kolb, even as a manager, could make a difference.
Kolb could be highly effective in Arizona as well, as long as he could consistently get the ball to Fitzgerald and Breaston. The Cardinals still have some issues along the offensive line, defense and in the running game that the 49ers don't have, but if Kolb ends up with the Cardinals, they could be much improved.
Kolb could finally put 49ers into postseasonThe 49ers ... and it's not even close. The Rams already have a viable quarterback in Sam Bradford. Ditto the Seahawks with Hasselbeck (don't laugh). At this stage of his career, Kolb isn't better than Hasselbeck yet. The Cardinals would certainly be better, but I believe the 49ers have better tools for a young quarterback like Kolb to work with.
First, there's Frank Gore, who's better than Tim Hightower, Beanie Wells or even Stump Mitchell for that matter. Second, Vernon Davis is a very good tight end and would be an excellent weapon for a quarterback who knows how to get him more involved. Remember, Davis scored 13 touchdowns in 2009 with Alex Smith and Shaun Hill running the show. And while not the caliber of Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Crabtree might get there with Jim Harbaugh and Kolb working together, as well as an expanded role in the offense. Defensively, the 49ers are the best team in the division. Kolb could put this team over .500 and into the playoffs.
Kolb might decide this garbage divisionAssuming the question is which team's win total would most improve with Kolb under center, I'll say Arizona. After Kurt Warner took them to 19 wins over the two previous seasons, the 2010 Cardinals looked a lot more like the Cardinals we've come to know (and laugh at) over the decades. Most of the offensive weapons were the same -- except at QB. A legit signal-caller would give the Cards a good chance of winning this garbage division in '11.
I'm not so sure, though, that Kolb is an above-average NFL QB. Yeah, he's better than Derek Anderson or John Skelton, and, yeah, he looked dynamite in those few appearances with the Eagles, but I suspect that might have more to do with Andy Reid's offense than Kolb's talent. If you don't believe me, go ask Feeley and Koy Detmer about it.
Kolb won't make an impact in NFC WestI don't think any NFC West team is making a big jump because they trade for Kolb. He's a nice developmental player, but to think a guy with a 3-4 record as a starter, no postseason experience to speak of, more interceptions than touchdowns and a sack every 17 pass attempts is going to cause a big jump is wishful thinking. He's most likely headed to the Cardinals, and wait until he sees what life behind that offensive line is like. I'm not buying that the Seahawks are serious about getting him this year. Last year maybe, but not now.
All this Kolb talk is just plain crazyThe teams that don't trade for Kolb will be the real winners. Why has the league determined that Kolb is going to be the savior for any franchise? Especially when Kolb is removed from Reid. I was skeptical of Kolb last year when Donovan McNabb was traded and I have less faith in him this year with any of the three NFC West teams looking for a quarterback.
Teams looking for a quarterback should be looking at Kyle Orton, who has done nothing during his NFL career other than put up great quarterback numbers. Orton has proved that he can be a successful quarterback. Kolb has only had promise.
If I'm the Cardinals, I would look at Orton or Carson Palmer. If not, is Kolb really a better option than John Skelton right now?
Kolb could give Cardinals what they needThe Cardinals would make the biggest jump in the NFC West with Kevin Kolb as their starting QB. He would fill the team's biggest need and give them a young quarterback to build around for the future. Although he is still relatively inexperienced despite four years in the league, Kolb has seven starts under belt and spent valuable time on the practice field cultivating his skills.
While Kolb will certainly face growing pains adjusting to Ken Whisenhunt's system, the presence of Larry Fitzgerald and the Cardinals' other offensive weapons should help ease the transition and give him a chance at immediate success in Arizona.
If new defensive coordinator Ray Horton can quickly re-tool his unit, while Kolb sparks the offense, the Cardinals could reclaim their hold on the NFC West.