Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Reid still selling Kolb? Warner comparison
By Mike Sando
Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid made an interesting comparison Wednesday when asked about Kevin Kolb's rough transition as the Arizona Cardinals' starting quarterback.
"Things take time, so you come in and you learn," Reid told reporters covering the Cardinals. "You had one of the all-time great ones there with Kurt Warner and that was up and down initially, and then he came in and got it all figured out and it was lights out. That’s how those things work."
Reid coached Kolb for four seasons before trading him to the Cardinals for a 2012 second-round pick and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Kolb has a 1-6 starting record with Arizona to go with a turf-toe injury that could keep him from playing against the Eagles in Week 10.
Any suggestion that Warner flourished in Arizona after experiencing a Kolb-like transition invites a closer look. Reid, having already talked up Kolb to teams before trading the quarterback, could have been in coach-speak mode Wednesday. Or, he could have been providing needed perspective only seven starts into what could wind up being a long, successful run for Kolb in Arizona.
Warner did suffer through some inconsistencies upon signing with the Cardinals in 2005, posting a 3-12 starting record in two seasons under Dennis Green. The struggles Warner experienced once Ken Whisenhunt took over in 2007 are easily forgotten for a couple reasons. One, Warner eventually took the Cardinals to the Super Bowl, for which he'll always be remembered. Two, even though he struggled some during that first season under Whisenhunt, his overall numbers were good.
Warner, like Kolb, made his first start under Whisenhunt against Carolina. Warner lasted long enough to attempt two passes before a dislocated left elbow forced him from the game. Arizona lost, 25-10.
Warner started against Tampa Bay two weeks later and completed only 10 of 30 attempts for 172 yards. He tossed two interceptions and finished with a 26.0 NFL passer rating as Arizona lost, 17-10. Afterward, Warner said he was "embarrassed" and "disgusted" by the overall offensive performance.
Warner then put together three exceptional games. But a five-pick performance in defeat at Seattle soon followed. After that game, which ended Arizona's chances for an NFC West title, Warner lamented having "cost my team the win" by forcing throws.
Warner then closed out the season with three more strong games, giving him 27 touchdown passes and 17 interceptions. The Cardinals were 5-6 in games he started.
There are obvious differences between then and now. Warner had already been a Super Bowl quarterback. He had vast starting experience and was playing under a modest contract. Expectations were low. The rich contract Kolb signed brought expectations for immediate results.
I thought Kolb's backup, John Skelton, appeared more comfortable with the offense Sunday. He appeared more comfortable in the pocket. He avoided turnovers and posted a 53.9 QBR score that was higher than any Kolb has posted in a game this season. More on that in the NFC 411 video Thursday.
Earlier: Kolb and Matt Cassel.