Stats & Info: Kevin Kolb

What challenges await new AFC coaches?

July, 25, 2013
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Eight NFL teams welcome new head coaches to the sideline this season. We take a closer look at some of the challenges those coaches will face. Here’s a look at the AFC (the NFC can be found here.

Buffalo Bills: Doug Marrone
2012 record: 6-10


Big addition: Kevin Kolb and E.J. Manuel were brought in to compete at quarterback, and either should add a vertical element to the Bills offense. Since Ryan Fitzpatrick joined the Bills in 2009, his 25.4 completion percentage on throws deeper than 20 yards downfield is worst in the league.

One headache: Are two rookies (Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin) enough to improve the Bills receiving corps? Despite using more three-plus wide receiver sets than any other team last season, Bills wide receivers recorded the sixth-fewest receiving yards (2,152).

Key stat: The Bills allowed 3.5 yards per rush before first contact on rushes between the tackles last season, worst in the NFL. The Bills haven’t finished a season better than 26th in that category since the start of 2009.

Cleveland Browns: Rob Chudzinski
2012 record: 5-11


Big addition: From Week 10 to the Super Bowl, no player had more sacks than Paul Kruger (12). He and first-round pick Barkevious Mingo will help the Browns transition to a 3-4 defense.

One headache: Is Brandon Weeden the right quarterback to run a Norv Turner offense? Weeden overthrew or underthrew receivers on 45 percent of his throws at least 15 yards downfield last year, third highest in the league.

Key stat: The Browns' defense allowed a 28.7 Total QBR last year, third best in the league. However, the offense ranked 30th in third-down conversion percentage (30.7 percent).

Jacksonville Jaguars: Gus Bradley
2012 record: 2-14


Big addition: Luke Joeckel will immediately bolster a Jaguars offensive line that allowed 50 sacks last season, third most in the league.


One headache: Now that they can protect quarterbacks better, they need to find one. Jaguars quarterbacks Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne combined for a 34.8 Total QBR, one of only five teams worse than 40.0.

Key stat: The Jaguars used four or fewer pass rushers on 80 percent of opponent dropbacks last season, fifth-highest in the NFL. Although the Jags depended on standard pressure, they averaged a sack once every 32.9 dropbacks, worst in the NFL.

Kansas City Chiefs: Andy Reid
2012 record: 2-14


Big addition: Alex Smith posted career highs in completion percentage (70.2 percent) and yards per attempt (8.0) last year. Smith’s completion percentage was best among 36 quarterbacks with at least 200 attempts.

One headache: Jonathan Baldwin caught 42 percent of his targets last season, the worst catch percentage among 162 players with at least 40 targets. Free-agent signee Donnie Avery wasn’t much better, with the fifth-lowest catch percentage among 44 players with at least 100 targets.

Key stat: The Chiefs' defense allowed 893 rush yards after contact last year, the most of any team in the league. Only the Colts allowed more 20-yard rushes (21) than the Chiefs' defense (19).

San Diego Chargers: Mike McCoy
2012 record: 7-9


Big addition: Free-agent tackle Max Starks and first-round pick D.J. Fluker will help create holes in the running game. The Chargers averaged 1.9 yards before contact per rush last year, one of two offenses to average fewer than 2.0.

One headache: Robert Meachem will carry a cap hit of $6.9 million this year, 11th-highest among wide receivers. Six Chargers were targeted more than Meachem (32) last year, and he tied for 181st in targets among all players.

Key stat: Philip Rivers has to control the ball better. Rivers fumbled 15 times last year, most in a season since Jon Kitna had 17 in 2007.

Cards must protect Skelton vs stout 49ers D

October, 29, 2012
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Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesThe key for the Cardinals tonight may be protecting this guy.
First place in the NFC West will be on the line when the Arizona Cardinals host the San Francisco 49ers tonight on Monday Night Football at 8:30 ET on ESPN.

It's a meeting of two of the league's best defenses. The 49ers currently lead the league in fewest yards allowed per game (272.3) and are tied for first in points allowed per game (14.3). The Cardinals are sixth in yards (312.1) and fourth in points (16.9).

This will be the sixth Monday Night Football meeting between these teams, with the 49ers winning four of the previous five.

49ers KEYS TO VICTORY
The key for the 49ers on the offensive side will be their running game. Under Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers are 17-0 when they run the ball at least 25 times and 1-5 when they don’t.

If they maintained their current average of 5.9 yards per carry, it would be the NFL's highest single-season mark since the merger.

The other key is reducing turnovers, particularly with their quarterback. Alex Smith led the NFL with a Total QBR of 81.1 through Week 5, but his last two games haven't been so good. Smith has thrown five interceptions this season (including four in last two games), matching his total for all of 2011.

Perhaps one of the reasons for Smith’s recent struggles is due to a sprained finger in Week 5 against the Buffalo Bills. Since that game, his downfield throwing has taken a hit. Smith has gone 5-of-13 (38.5 percent) on throws more than 10 yards downfield his last two games (third-worst), after leading the NFL in completion percentage on such throws (59.5) through the first five weeks of the season.

CARDINALS KEYS TO VICTORY
The key for the Cardinals will be protecting their quarterback John Skelton.

The Cardinals have allowed a league-high 35 sacks (seven more any other team). Arizona's passers have now been sacked 29 times in their last four games, the most suffered by any NFL team over a four-game span since the Cardinals themselves were sacked 29 times over four games in November 1997 (according to Elias).

Skelton hasn’t been particularly great.

Skelton has thrown an interception in 10 straight games, the longest active streak in the NFL.

Skelton has completed just 44.4 percent of his attempts to Larry Fitzgerald more than 10 yards downfield this season, while Kevin Kolb has completed 62.5 percent of such passes this season.

But the Cardinals defense has kept them in games this season. They’re the only team to hold each opponent this season to 21 points or fewer.

Rams D shuts down Cardinals, snaps streak

October, 5, 2012
10/05/12
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Jamie Squire/Getty ImagesKevin Kolb has been sacked 17 times in the last two games.
Two streaks were snapped on Thursday night: The St. Louis Rams snapped a streak of 93 games played without being over .500 and the Arizona Cardinals are no longer undefeated.

The Rams defense (assisted by the Cardinals offensive line) was the main reason those streaks ended.

The Rams sacked Kevin Kolb nine times, tying a franchise record for sacks in a game since the stat became official in 1982.

The Cardinals became the first team to be sacked at least eight times in consecutive games since the Cardinals also did it in 2003.

Kolb was sacked or under duress on 21 dropbacks, seven more than any other quarterback this season.

The Rams defense didn’t allow a touchdown for the first time since Week 10 of 2011 against the Cleveland Browns. The three points allowed are their fewest since a 20-3 win over the Seattle Seahawks in Week 4 of 2010.

The Rams held the Cardinals to 45 rushing yards. It’s the first time the Rams allowed fewer than 100 rushing yards and no rushing touchdowns since Week 9 of last season against… the Cardinals.

The Cardinals offense struggled, but the Rams offense wasn’t spectacular either.

Sam Bradford became the fourth quarterback in the last 15 seasons with at least 20 pass attempts and seven or fewer completions in a win. He joined JaMarcus Russell, Jake Delhomme and Akili Smith.

The seven completions included two touchdown passes, one each to Lance Kendricks and Chris Givens.

For both Kendricks and Givens, it was their first career touchdown. The 51-yard strike to Givens was Bradford’s longest career touchdown pass.

Bradford passed for 132 of his 141 yards and both of his touchdowns on throws outside the painted numbers. In the first four weeks of the season, Bradford completed 50.9 percent of his passes outside the numbers and 73.8 percent inside the numbers. He reversed that trend Thursday, completing one of his eight passes inside the numbers for nine yards, the fewest in his career.

Bradford’s completion percentage of 12.5 on throws inside the painted numbers was the lowest in any regular season game (minimum eight pass attempts) among qualified quarterbacks since the start of the 2008 season.

And don’t forget about Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein's 53-yard field goal, his fourth field goal of at least 50 yards, tying the NFL record for most 50-yard field goals by a rookie, according to Elias.

It’s been awhile for the Rams. It wasn’t pretty, but they’re finally over .500 for the first time since 2006.

Kolb not Manning, but is Arizona's man

March, 16, 2012
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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.

Eagles have enviable backup option for Vick

September, 22, 2011
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Chris McGrath/Getty ImagesIf Michael Vick doesn't return Sunday against the New York Giants, Andy Reid can take solace in the fact that he has one of the top backup quarterbacks in the NFL according to Total QBR: Vince Young.

The Philadelphia Eagles are optimistic Michael Vick will be able to return Sunday against the New York Giants after suffering a concussion against the Atlanta Falcons. Vick returned to the practice field Thursday, one day after his replacement against Atlanta, Mike Kafka, took all of the first-team snaps in practice. That same day, newly acquired backup Vince Young returned to practice after suffering a hamstring injury in the preseason.

Kafka, drafted in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL draft, did not see any regular-season action for the Eagles in 2010. That was one of the reasons Philadelphia signed Young as a backup QB.

While we don’t know who will start for Philadelphia on Sunday – signs point to Vick – we can analyze just how lucky the Eagles are to have Young as a backup.



As a refresher, Total QBR is a quarterback rating that takes into account all of a quarterback's contributions (passing, rushing, sacks, fumbles, penalties) to his team's scoring and winning and summarizes them into one number on a 0-100 scale, on which 50 is average.

Young’s Total QBR of 64.2 from 2008-10 is only a slight drop-off from Vick's (65.9). In that span, Young ranked 11th among the 75 quarterbacks with at least 100 action plays. Obviously, 100 action plays is a relatively small sample size, but since we are dealing with backup quarterbacks, there has to be some cutoff regarding what can be determined as an appropriate minimum value for assessing backups.

There are 14 teams in the NFL that have a backup with at least 100 action plays over the last three years. Among those teams, the Eagles have the fourth-smallest drop-off in Total QBR from starter to backup in moving from Vick to Young. The three teams with a "more favorable" backup situation feature three young QBs who are either playing very well (Ryan Fitzpatrick) or are considered the future of the franchise (Matthew Stafford and Colt McCoy).

A quick glance at the QBR leaderboard from the previous three seasons shows that Young actually rates higher than 22 other starting quarterbacks. That group includes Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, Josh Freeman, Matthew Stafford, Sam Bradford, Kevin Kolb and Mark Sanchez.

For exclusive video, stories and blogs about quarterbacks from every level of competition, check out ESPN's "Year of the Quarterback" page.
The Cardinals used three starting quarterbacks last season and haven’t had one QB start every game in a season since Kurt Warner did it for them in 2008.

They hope that their trade for Kevin Kolb brings more stability at the position, though Kolb has only seven career starts and has never started more than three games in a row.

Kevin Kolb
Kolb
But he does bring a pair of impressive performances in 2009 with him. In his first two career starts, Kolb threw for 391 and then 327 yards -- the most yards in his first two starts by any quarterback in league history.

Kolb blows away the second-place finisher on that list. Elias tells us that Todd Marinovich is next up, throwing for 638 yards in his first two starts over the 1991 and 1992 seasons. That still puts him 80 yards behind Kolb.

Of course big yardage in the first two starts isn’t necessarily a precursor to success. The next two behind Marinovich are Jeff Blake and Aaron Brooks.

In his NFL career, Kolb has been at his best in the first quarter: a 64.2 completion percentage, 8.0 yards per attempts, 3 TD, 0 interceptions and a 107.7 rating. His rating drops every quarter after that: to 87.1, 59.8 and 52.3.

One area where he’s shown a strength – even in a small sample – is in play-action passing. He’s completed 68.8 percent of his passes for 10.8 yards per attempt in play-action. He holds a 104.5 rating on those plays.

The Kolb trade also shines the light on just how little NFL production the QB draft class of 2007 has posted in its four years in the league.

Let’s take a look by the numbers at the 2007 QB draft class, a class that saw 11 QBs drafted:

0 – With a winning record

1 – With double-digit wins (Trent Edwards)

2 – Who do NOT have a losing record (Drew Stanton, 2-2 and Troy Smith, 4-4)

3 – Who never started a game in the NFL (Isaiah Stanback, Jeff Rowe and Jordan Palmer)

7 – Career starts by Kolb, the first QB drafted in the second round in 2007

10 – Combined wins by the two QB drafted in the first round: JaMarcus Russell (7-18) and Brady Quinn (3-9)

Kolb's numbers may not fit Cardinals

May, 25, 2011
5/25/11
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Jason O. Watson/US Presswire (This post originally ran during the lockout on May 25.)

Once the lockout ends, Kevin Kolb could be one of the hottest commodities in the NFL.
The Arizona Cardinals came away from the 2011 NFL draft with eight prospects, but none who play quarterback. Arizona finished 2010 with just 10 touchdown passes, second-fewest in the NFL, among three different starting quarterbacks.

Many were left wondering: in a draft which saw six quarterbacks taken among the first 36 picks, why didn't the Cardinals take one?

Earlier today, John Clayton wrote that the Cardinals may have other ideas and will likely end up "moving boldly" to acquire Kevin Kolb from the Philadelphia Eagles.

What the Cardinals and other quarterback needy teams have to ponder is this: Is Kolb worth the bold move?

A second-round draft pick of the Eagles back in 2007, Kolb has three more interceptions (14) than touchdowns (11) and a 73.2 passer rating in 319 career attempts. Drawing conclusions from numbers that equate to about 70 percent of a season for the average starting quarterback is unfair, but let’s dig deeper.

Quarterbacks get paid to move the chains on third down and those situations have been a struggle for Kolb. Of his 75 career pass attempts on third down, 19 have been scouted as defensed. That equates to a near-interception every 3.9 pass attempts on third down.

His troubles on third down are closely related to Kolb's splits against base defenses versus the defensive packages featuring more than the usual four defensive backs that are more commonly seen on third down.

Dating back to 2008, the average passer rating for NFL quarterbacks against those small packages is 79.6.

Kolb’s passer rating against five-or-more defensive backs over the last three seasons is 66.4. That puts him in the same company with guys like J.T. O'Sullivan (66.0), Dan Orlovsky (64.1) and former Cardinal Matt Leinart (68.0).

Kolb will only see more and more of those looks as his career progresses because that’s the direction the league is headed. Quarterbacks saw opposing defenses line up at least five defensive backs on 48.5 percent of plays last season, up from 44.9 percent in 2009.

That’s especially scary for a team like Arizona that heavily relies on pass-heavy sets that dictate that defensive look. The Cardinals' offense faced a secondary with at least five members on 54 percent of plays last season.

Looking for a glimmer of hope?

Defensive coordinators generally like to send five-or-more pass rushers at inexperienced quarterbacks looking to force mistakes. The good news is that Kolb began to improve against added pressure in 2010. While facing five or more pass rushers, he completed 25 of 41 passes with a touchdown and no interceptions. From 2008-09, he barely completed half his passes (52.9) and had two touchdowns and seven interceptions. They aren’t meaty sample sizes but they do illustrate the type of growth that teams look for.

Eagles QB: Michael Vick or Kevin Kolb?

November, 5, 2010
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Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid has made three different starting quarterback announcements this season, mostly due to injuries, and finds himself with two healthy signal callers this weekend with the Indianapolis Colts in town. Who should it be?

Kevin Kolb, Reid’s second-round pick in 2007, and his hand-picked replacement for Donovan McNabb? Or Michael Vick, the former No. 1 overall pick who was named NFC Offensive Player of the Month in October?

Vick has been sensational this season, with a league-leading 108.8 passer rating, and six touchdown passes without an interception. That’s already the most touchdowns that Vick has ever thrown in one season before his first interception. He’s also averaging 7.2 yards per carry and nearly 50 rush yards per game.

Kevin Kolb
Kolb
Kolb, on the other hand, has been no slouch. He’s thrown for at least 200 yards in every game but Week 1, when he didn’t play in the second half, and that includes a 326-yard, 3-TD performance in a win against the Falcons. And he’s completed more than 62 percent of his passes on third down with a passer rating of 93.3, with more than half of his completions having gone for first downs.

But Vick has been even better on third down, and for that and many other reasons, he is the Eagles’ clear choice. Twelve of Vick’s 16 third-down completions have been for first downs, and he’s averaged 10.1 yards per pass attempt, nearly double Kolb’s average.

But the real difference is when it comes to the deep ball, as Andy Reid likes to chuck it down the field. In 2008 and 2009, Philadelphia had 120 pass attempts thrown more than 20 yards from scrimmage, and 25 attempts thrown more than 40 yards downfield, both seventh in the NFL in that span. Some might say that had more to do with McNabb’s strong arm, but it coincides nicely with the arrival of big-play threat DeSean Jackson.

Michael Vick
Vick
While Kolb has completed 36.8 percent of his downfield throws (21 yards or more from scrimmage) with two touchdowns, he’s also thrown three interceptions for a passer rating of 80.4. Vick has completed 35.3 percent of his passes downfield, with two touchdowns and no picks, and his passer rating of 122.8 ranks third in the NFL (min. 15 such attempts).

Lastly, the Eagles should consider their matchup with the Colts on Sunday. Indianapolis blitzes less than any team in the NFL, sending five or more pass rushers on just 18.1 percent of opponents’ pass plays. Vick has been a much better passer this season against four pass rushers or fewer, while Kolb has yet to throw a touchdown, and has thrown all four of his interceptions, against five or more rushers.

Rodgers, Kolb Under Center of Attention

October, 21, 2010
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AARON RODGERS
A disturbing trend for the Green Bay Packers has started to come to the forefront in recent games. Aaron Rodgers is getting sacked often again. After avoiding a sack in Week 2 and 3, Rodgers’ times sacked have increased each game over the last three contests. In that span, he’s been sacked 11 times. The only quarterback to go down more often is Jay Cutler. That's bad news with the Minnesota Vikings coming to town Sunday night. All they did last season was sack Rodgers 14 times in the two meetings.

TONY ROMO
Tony Romo
Romo
Tony Romo will face the New York Giants at home on Monday Night Football (coverage begins on ESPN at 7 ET). One of Romo's first appearances on a big stage was on a Monday night against the Giants at home. In Week 7 of the 2006 season, Romo relieved Drew Bledsoe to start the second half and his first pass was intercepted. He finished 14-25 for 227 yards with two TD and three interceptions.

Romo is having one of the strangest statistical starts to a season. He's thrown for 1,566 yards but he has just a 1-4 record in the first five games. Since 1970, Romo is the 32nd quarterback to throw for at least 1,500 yards in the first five games of a season. However, he's the only one to go 1-4 in that span.

SAM BRADFORD
The more teams pressure rookie quarterback Sam Bradford, the better he's been. This season, he's had 17 pass attempts from outside the pocket while facing five or more pass rushers. That's the most pass attempts in the league in that situation. He's completed 12 of the passes (70.6 percent) and has a passer rating of 121.9, the highest of any QB with at least four attempts.

KEVIN KOLB
Kevin Kolb
Kolb
Kevin Kolb is going to get the start against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. He is coming off his third career 300-yard game last week against the Atlanta Falcons in just his fifth career start. In his two starts since taking over for the injured Michael Vick, Kolb has completed 73.3 percent of his passes and averaged 9.7 yards per attempt, both best in the NFL over the last two weeks.
The Detroit Lions have now lost 24 straight road games, tying their own record for the longest road losing streak in NFL history. (The Lions also lost 24 straight on the road from 2001-03.)

The Lions were coming off a Week 5 win over the St. Louis Rams, but failed to win Sunday at the New York Giants. The Lions have now gone 46 consecutive games without winning back-to-back games -- a streak that dates back to 2007.

• Before getting knocked out of the game against the Atlanta Falcons, DeSean Jackson had a 31-yard TD run and 34-yard TD reception. Since the merger in 1970, there have now been five instances where a player had a 30-yard rushing and receiving TD in the same game, but Jackson is the only one who has done it twice. (His first instance was Oct. 26, 2009 against the Redskins.)

• Kevin Kolb became the third quarterback in NFL history with three 300-yard passing games in his first five NFL starts, and the first since Kurt Warner in 1999.

• The Falcons are 0-2 in the state of Pennsylvania this season, 4-0 everywhere else.

• The Green Bay Packers' Greg Jennings now has four career touchdown receptions of at least 80 yards. That's the most in franchise history and tied with the Bills' Lee Evans for the most among active players.
Vrabel
• Including the postseason, Mike Vrabel has 12 career receptions and all 12 have gone for touchdowns.

• The Chicago Bears have yet to score a third-quarter point this season (outscored 15-0). They are the only NFL team that has not scored in all four quarters this season.

•  Miami Dolphins' Brandon Marshall has registered double-digit receptions now two games this season. The only other player in team history with multiple 10-reception games in a season is Tony Nathan, who had two in 1985.

• Granted one takeaway was on a hail mary at the end of regulation, but the Baltimore Ravens forced two turnovers and did not turn the ball over in their 23-20 overtime loss to the New England Patriots. It's just the third time in team history the Ravens have lost a game when forcing at least two turnovers and not committing one themselves and the first time since the 1998 season.

• From the Elias Sports Bureau: Ben Roethlisberger is now 11-1 (.917) against the Cleveland Browns. With a minimum of 10 starts, that's the second-highest win percentage against an opponent among active quarterbacks. Tom Brady is 16-1 (.941) against the Buffalo Bills.

Under Center of Attention: Matt Ryan

September, 23, 2010
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As we get ready for another wild week in the NFL, which QBs are under center … of attention?

Matt Ryan had a passer rating of 117.3 in the Atlanta Falcons rout of the Arizona Cardinals in Week Two. Since coming into the league in 2008, Ryan has 10 games with a passer rating of 100.0 or better, and he's 10-0 in those games. Over that same time, Ryan is one of 14 QBs who have enjoyed at least 10 games with a rating that high, but not many of them have a perfect record.

The QBs with the most such games are Drew Brees, Philip Rivers and Aaron Rodgers with 19 each. They are a combined 43-14 in those games.

• It turns out that Michael Vick WILL start Sunday for the Philadelphia Eagles against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

VickFrom the Elias Sports Bureau: Among quarterbacks with at least 50 starts since 2001 (Vick's rookie year), only David Carr has been sacked more frequently than Vick. He's been sacked once every 10.2 pass attempts, while Carr has been sacked once every 9.5 pass attempts. Vick has been sacked eight times so far this season, which ties him with Matt Moore of the Carolina Panthers for the most in the NFL.

• Vick replaces Kevin Kolb as the Eagles starter while Moore gets benched in favor of rookie Jimmy Clausen. Oakland Raiders head coach Tom Cable announced on Wednesday that Bruce Gradkowski will start over Jason Campbell this week against the Arizona Cardinals, and Jake Delhomme still hasn't practiced. If Seneca Wallace starts again for the Cleveland Browns, it would be the first time since 1998 that seven teams started one QB in the season opener and a different QB in the third game of the season.

• Joe Flacco tied a team record on Sunday when he threw four interceptions in the Baltimore Ravens loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. It was the third time in his career that he threw at least three interceptions in a game. He's been able to bounce back immediately after each of those horrific performances:

October 19, 2008: Flacco passes for 232 yards with a TD and no interceptions in the Ravens 27-13 road win over the Miami Dolphins.
December 13, 2009: Flacco throws for 230 yards with a TD and no interceptions in a 48-3 home blowout of the Detroit Lions.

• Ryan Fitzpatrick, who will start for the Buffalo Bills, went to school at Harvard. He's one of two players from Harvard who have thrown a pass in the NFL. The other? The immortal Pat McInally, who threw four passes in his 10 seasons as the Cincinnati Bengals punter.

• The Dolphins are 2-0 and haven't needed to rely on Chad Henne to help them win games. In the third and fourth quarters thus far, Henne has thrown for just 98 yards, the fewest of any QB with at least 20 attempts. Maybe it's a continuation of last year, when Henne ranked 21st out of 34 qualifying QBs in 2nd half passer rating at 69.5.

• Shaun Hill gets the start when the Lions visit the Minnesota Vikings, but don't expect much from Hill on the long ball. He's just 1-for-9 on passes thrown more than 20 yards downfield this season. Don't laugh Matt Cassel, you're 0-for-6 in that situation.

Vick runs better on pass plays

September, 16, 2010
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VickFor the second straight season, the Philadelphia Eagles will start a different quarterback in Week 2 because of an injury. In 2009, Donovan McNabb broke a rib in the season opener and was replaced by Kevin Kolb. Kolb made two starts before McNabb was ready to return. This year, Michael Vick will start for the Eagles against the Detroit Lions, a team Philadelphia has not lost to since Week 11 of the 1986 season (Eagles are 5-0 since that loss).



NEXT-LEVEL: Up until Kolb’s concussion in Week 1, Vick’s role with the Eagles had been limited. Vick only dropped back to pass 16 times in 58 snaps as the Eagles "specialist" quarterback. In the second half of the Green Bay Packers game, Vick played every snap at quarterback and dropped back to pass 30 of his 38 plays (24 pass attempts, three sacks, three scrambles).

NEXT-LEVEL: Vick did most of his damage on the ground on Sunday when he was scrambling. The Packers didn’t have an answer for Vick when he was looking to pass first, but they were able to contain him when the play was a designed rush, including the crucial fourth-and-one play that ended the game for the Eagles.
The Green Bay Packers beat the Philadelphia Eagles 27-20 to win their first game in Philadelphia since 1962. The Pack had lost nine straight in the City of Brotherly Love. While the Packers won their fourth straight season opener, and Mason Crosby set a Packers record with a 56-yard field goal, the story of the game was the Eagles quarterbacks.

KolbIn their first game without Donovan McNabb in nearly 12 years, the Eagles used two men under center Sunday. Kevin Kolb, McNabb's heir apparent, didn't play at all in the second half after suffering a concussion.

So Michael Vick stepped in and nearly rallied the Eagles to victory, and he did it in vintage fashion. He threw for 175 yards and ran for 103, becoming the third Eagles QB since 1960 to have 175+ passing yards and 100+ rushing yards in the same game. The other two were Randall Cunningham and, of course, Donovan McNabb.

After mustering only 23 yards on Kevin Kolb's 17 snaps in the first half (1.4 yards per play), Michael Vick's feet got the Eagles offense moving in a big way. Vick averaged a whopping 14 yards per rush when forced to scramble out of the pocket, yet with the game on the line in the fourth quarter, Andy Reid still decided to call a designed run on 4th-and-1.

VickThe threat of Vick as a runner in the shotgun formation opened up the Eagles passing game as well. Vick completed 14-of-20 passes (7.9 yards per attempt) from the shotgun compared to just 2-of-4 (4.3 yards per attempt) when under center.

The Eagles nearly completed the comeback after getting the Packers out of their comfort zone. Green Bay did not run a play out of its base 3-4 defense the entire game, playing with at least five defensive backs on every play. In fact, they only put seven defenders in the box on six plays. The strategy worked against Kevin Kolb, who went just 5-10 with a 56.3 passer rating, but failed to keep Michael Vick in check.

Sunday afternoon the Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles open up their seasons with a meeting at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Let's examine a couple of the storylines:

Aaron Rodgers might be in for a big day on Sunday against the Eagles. Rodgers torched opposing defenses last season when teams sent five or more pass rushers, throwing 11 touchdowns and just two interceptions. The Eagles rushed five or more defenders on 42.2 percent of pass plays last year, giving them the sixth-most aggressive pass rush in the league.



• The Eagles had the fourth-most pass attempts of 15 yards or more in 2009 and Kevin Kolb found success in those situations. He connected with DeSean Jackson three of the five times he targeted him 15-plus yards downfield, while Donovan McNabb connected on just 14 of his 36 attempts to Jackson.

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