Kolb not Manning, but is Arizona's man

March, 16, 2012
3/16/12
6:22
PM ET
The Arizona Cardinals are sticking with Kevin Kolb under center even though the numbers might suggest otherwise. The Cardinals have decided to award Kolb his $7 million roster bonus, all but cementing his status as the team's quarterback in 2012 and ending the Cardinals' pursuit of Peyton Manning.

Kevin Kolb
Kolb
One potential red flag for the Cardinals is that as Kolb has received more playing time, his stats have declined. His action plays (pass attempts, QB rushes, sacks and penalties) have increased in each of the last three years. However, his Total QBR has fallen in each of those seasons as well.

In 2009, Kolb posted back-to-back 300-yard games filling in for Donovan McNabb (his only two starts of the season), which helped him to a 49.7 QBR (50 is average). Kolb then made five starts in 2010 and saw his QBR dip into the 30s, where it stayed last season over his nine starts for Arizona.

In 2011, Kolb really struggled against standard pressure. He threw six of his eight interceptions when facing four or fewer pass rushers, and his touchdown-to-interception differential of -3 ranked 29th out of 34 qualifiers.

He also had the third worst QBR (35.8) among qualified quarterbacks, ahead of only Mark Sanchez and Blaine Gabbert, and the highest sack rate (once every 10 dropbacks).

Despite his poor play against such pressure, opposing defenses rarely capitalized on this obvious hole in his game. Kolb saw four or fewer pass rushers on just 62.3 percent of his dropbacks, the third-lowest rate in the NFL.

Along with his inability to handle the standard rush, Kolb failed to perform when venturing outside the pocket. He completed barely 35 percent of his passes outside the pocket, the second worst completion percentage among qualified quarterbacks, and averaged only 4.8 yards per attempt in such situations.

His struggles last year throwing inside the numbers were also troubling. Kolb completed just 55.4 percent of his passes in that area, the third-lowest rate in the league.

The Cardinals are hoping he can improve those numbers and help the team bounce back from an 8-8 season, during which Arizona won seven of its last nine games following a dreadful 1-6 start.

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