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Monday, April 1, 2013
Better protection boosts Kevin Kolb's stock

By James Walker


New Buffalo Bills quarterback Kevin Kolb has a bad reputation for two things: He's injury-prone and often gets rattled in the pocket.

Those are not good qualities to have for a potential starting quarterback. However, both issues can be minimized with better pass protection.

The Bills believe Kolb can flourish in ways he never had the chance to with the Arizona Cardinals. It all starts will Buffalo's solid offensive line.

Kolb has taken a beating the past two seasons, which has led to various injuries and erratic play. In 15 games with the Cardinals since 2011, Kolb has been sacked an amazing 57 times. That's an average of 3.8 sacks per game. By comparison, former Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was sacked just 30 times in 16 starts last season, or 1.87 sacks per game.

In addition, Kolb never had a consistent running game in Arizona to relieve the pressure. The threat of Bills dynamic tailback C.J. Spiller should keep opposing defenses honest and more off balance, which is another advantage for Kolb in the pocket.

The Bills liked what they saw on tape with Kolb. He has a good arm to make most throws, and Kolb is athletic enough to use his legs when necessary. Fitzpatrick did not have a strong arm for deep passes and wasn't as naturally athletic as Kolb. The Bills gained upgrades in both areas for next season.

But durability remains a huge concern for Kolb. The Bills need Kolb to play well and stay healthy for 16 games to have a chance to compete next season. Expect Kolb to take less of a pounding in Buffalo, which could boost his stock from the erratic quarterback we've seen the past two years in Arizona.