Arizona Cardinals  

 

Kolb would help Cardinals, but immediate impact is unlikely

If the Cardinals successfully pry Kevin Kolb from the Eagles, don't immediately pencil in Arizona as NFC West champions.

When you consider Kolb's inexperience (seven career starts) and potential learning curve transitioning into Ken Whisenhunt's offense, it is not a given he will blossom into the elite quarterback the Cardinals envision.

Relocation in the Cards
Eagles QB Kevin Kolb says he would be thrilled to play in Arizona alongside star WR Larry Fitzgerald, but will be sad to leave the Eagles and coach Andy Reid behind. More ...

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» Could Kolb shift power in NFC West?

Eagles coach Andy Reid and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg have a distinguished reputation for developing quarterbacks, and it is not out of the realm of possibility that Kolb is the byproduct of their quarterback-friendly system. Former Eagles quarterbacks A.J. Feeley and Donovan McNabb struggled outside of the scheme, and that should cause Cardinals' fans to worry about Kolb's transition into Whisenhunt's system.

Kolb has spent his four-year career mastering the nuances of the West Coast offense in Philadelphia. Although the principles of the scheme are in every NFL playbook, the Cardinals don't fully utilize all of the concepts. That could cause Kolb to struggle initially as he adjusts to a different offensive structure without the benefit of a full offseason.

Of course, those are only minor impediments if Kolb possesses the talent to play at an elite level. Based on his small body of work, he certainly appears to have the skill set to succeed. He shows above-average arm strength and throws the ball with zip. Kolb is lauded for his high football IQ, and his awareness is apparent. He quickly works through his progression to deliver timely throws from a clean pocket.

While he's not a dynamic athlete, Kolb has enough mobility to escape pressure in a collapsing pocket. His maneuverability on the perimeter allows him to work effectively on movement throws.

Kolb's inexperience shows up when playing against opponents with complex coverage or pressure packages. He can be baited into mistakes with pre-snap disguises, and he doesn't fully understand where the designated hot reads are in the route progression. That could continue to be an issue as he transitions into a new system in Arizona.

One factor that could help Kolb adjust quickly as a Cardinal is the presence of five-time Pro Bowler Larry Fitzgerald. The 6-foot-3, 218-pound playmaker is a remarkable talent. He consistently comes down with contested balls, and his extraordinary catching radius makes him an ideal target in the red zone. Although most opponents opt to direct double coverage in Fitzgerald's direction, he routinely gets open against the tactic and remains a viable option against all coverage.

With the Cardinals also beefing up their running game - Arizona took running back Ryan Williams in the second round of the draft -- to set up a potent play-action passing game, Kolb might find some comfort operating in a system that is vastly different from an Eagles' big-play scheme.

The Cardinals are only a quarterback away from regaining their 2008 NFC title swagger, but Kolb will need time to make a difference in Arizona.

Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.

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