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Friday, September 14, 2012
Kevin Kolb's big chance against Patriots

By Mike Sando

The New England Patriots famously listed Tom Brady on their injury report for years without the quarterback missing a start during that span.

Kolb
Might the Patriots' Week 2 opponent, Arizona, be engaging in some injury-related gamesmanship?

Coach Ken Whisenhunt has not declared Kevin Kolb his starter against New England even though John Skelton appears "doubtful" and Kolb took the meaningful practice reps this week. ESPN's Adam Schefter has reported Kolb will start. It's been difficult to realistically envision any other scenario under the circumstances.

Kolb led the winning drive against Seattle in the opener after Skelton departed the field on a cart, having suffered a sprained ankle. This game against New England provides the Cardinals an opportunity to watch Kolb perform over an extended period without deciding on him as the longer-term starter. It's a good situation for Arizona after Skelton struggled in the opener.

Among the things I'll be watching for from Kolb against the Patriots:
The chart, compiled with data from ESPN Stats & Information, shows Kolb's production by game during his Arizona tenure. I've included one row showing Brady's production in the same weeks. The final row shows how all other NFL quarterbacks -- all but Kolb and Brady -- have produced over the same span.

The second-to-last column shows success rate, defined by ESPN's analytics department as those plays improving a team's expected points. The final column shows QBR scores (100 maximum, 50 average). By that measure, Kolb has been at his best during season openers. He was also above average in Week 2 last season, a narrow defeat at Washington.