Around the NFC West: Kevin Kolb debate

September, 22, 2011
9/22/11
9:38
AM ET
One game between the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks will not determine which team was smartest regarding its approach to quarterback Kevin Kolb.

It'll help frame the conversation in the short term, however.

So far, Kolb has looked like a player the Seahawks could very much use behind center. He has completed 61.4 percent of his passes while averaging 9.8 yards per attempt, with four touchdowns, one interception and an NFL passer rating of 110.3. Five sacks and two turnovers, both committed when the Cardinals were in scoring range during close games, dragged down his QBR to 48.5 -- slightly below average, but still better than Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Ben Roethlisberger and 11 other starters.

The Seahawks' Tarvaris Jackson is averaging 5.4 yards per attempt with 10 sacks, an 80.1 NFL passer rating and a 23.3 QBR that ranks 29th, lower than every quarterback except Matt Cassel, Kerry Collins and Luke McCown.

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune puts it this way: Jackson has not yet been the answer to the many problems the Seahawks have on offense, but he’s not been the most obvious limiting factor, either.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times uses a marital analogy for the situation: "If committing to a franchise quarterback is like tying the knot, the Cardinals have taken the plunge while the Seahawks aren't even in an exclusive relationship yet. They acquired Charlie Whitehurst last year and added Jackson this year, but both were two-year deals as opposed to the kind of long-term commitment Arizona made in Kolb."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says the way Kolb hung tough, risking his health to complete a 73-yard touchdown pass to Larry Fitzgerald in Week 2, showed teammates why Arizona was so eager to acquire Kolb from Philadelphia during the offseason. Fitzgerald: "All the guys in the locker room know how Kevin is. He’s willing to take the big shot for the team. Everyone saw his helmet get knocked off. He’s a fierce competitor who’ll do anything to make this team go." Noted: Having Fitzgerald on his side gives Kolb an advantage Jackson and quite a few other quarterbacks do not enjoy. There is a chance, however, that Jackson could have for the first time this season a receiver with at least some of the physical gifts Fitzgerald offers an offense.

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says Sidney Rice made it through his first practice of the 2010 season amid fears the fourth-year wide receiver might need surgery to repair a torn labrum. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell: "One player can have an effect on your offense. Sidney brings juice and he brings some excitement. He brings the deep threat that you’re looking for just to back people off. When he’s in there, you always have that threat. So it definitely can help." Noted: The Seahawks' longest completed pass covered 17 yards during a 24-0 defeat at Pittsburgh in Week 2. Rice has averaged better than 17.0 yards per reception across nine of the 43 games in which he has at least one catch. His team posted a 7-2 record in those games. Yes, the Seahawks could use that type of production.

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says postgame meetings between Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo and team owner Stan Kroenke do not reflect negatively on Spagnuolo. Miklasz: "The owner-coach summit didn't mean that Kroenke was irate at his coach, or that he snapped at his coach, or that he's turned on his coach, or that he's going to fire his coach. What hasn't been pointed out is that Kroenke also visits with Spagnuolo after the Rams win a game. And yes, Spagnuolo needs to win more games. Definitely. But it's absurd for a reasonable person to conclude that Spagnuolo is squirming on the proverbial 'hot seat' and in any real danger of losing his job only 34 games into a massive rebuild."

Kathleen Nelson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Giants' Deon Grant denies faking injury against the Rams on Monday night. I'll have a couple thoughts on this one as part of a "five observations" item on the Rams later Thursday.

Roger Hensley of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch asks colleagues whether the Rams are being too cautious with receiver Danario Alexander. Jim Thomas: "Alexander has a chronic knee condition, meaning it’s not going to get any better. Five surgeries on the same knee is a lot. So if you want to run him into the ground, go ahead, and he’ll be back in surgery in a couple weeks. If you want to get anything out of him for any extended period of time – like an entire season, for instance – rather than treating him as a disposable object, you’re going to have to manage the knee, manage the reps and treat him differently than other players."

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says the concussion Alex Smith suffered against Dallas was the first one of record during the quarterback's seven-year career. Maiocco: "Smith was sacked six times in the game but did not report any problems to the team's medical staff during the game. It is not known when Smith sustained the concussion. But before leaving Candlestick Park, he checked in with Jeff Ferguson, 49ers director of football operations and sports medicine, and informed him that he didn't feel right. The 49ers placed him through tests, which revealed Smith had sustained a concussion, the team said Wednesday evening."

Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News offers thoughts on a range of 49ers-related issues. There was also this from Smith on Vernon Davis' role: "I think Vernon’s always going to be a focal point of our pass game. It just depends on the flow of the game, how teams treat him. We play some teams and Vernon gets a lot of attention, especially when he’s running. I think you take a lot at the touchdown pass to Delanie, I mean, Vernon’s what makes that play go. Him running down the field eats up two guys and all of a sudden Delanie’s one-on-one. So he’s always going to be a focal point. The type of player he is, the skill-set he has, you can’t afford not to have him as a focal point. I just think it’s one of these things, you’d like to have him more involved, getting more touches, but just the way the game went, that’s the way it happens sometimes."

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