Tag:Kevin Kolb
Posted on: December 19, 2011 1:47 am
Edited on: December 19, 2011 10:33 am
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Sorting the Sunday Pile, Week 15: Good losses?

Posted by Will Brinson


Sorting the Sunday Pile takes all of Sunday's NFL action, figures out the winners and losers and asks the big questions. New format! Same old sorting! Send your complaints, questions and comments to Will Brinson on Twitter. Make sure and listen to our Week 15 podcast review below as well and feel free to subscribe via iTunes.

Are Good Losses Good?

You're not ever going to hear Aaron Rodgers or Tim Tebow admit this, but losing isn't always a bad thing. In the case of each, a loss on Sunday actually means significantly less pressure in the public eye over the next few weeks.

For Rodgers, there's no more chatter about whether or not the Packers can run the table. Granted, that was a side story to Tebow for most of the past few weeks but if Green Bay had beat Kansas City, the heat was about to be turned up with questions about resting players, playing stars, Mercury Morris' plethora of media appearances and much more.

The loss stinks, clearly. But now the week will be filled with questions like "Are the Packers in trouble?" and "Are the Saints the best team in the NFC?" (See: below). So a team that hadn't lost in nearly a year is suddenly going to get a free chip put on its shoulder? That seems smart for the rest of everyone.

As for Tebow, we all needed this. I love Tim Tebow's story. I love that my cousins' neighbors have a dog named Tebow. I love that my grandfather sends me newspaper clippings about Tebow's awesomeness. But my, um, God, that last week leading up to the Patriots game was just too much, you guys. We had media wars, Tebrews, preachers recanting TMZ quotes on Twitter and just generally all the other things you'd associate with the Apocalypse.

But now the Broncos lost and the Tebowagon gets a chance to tap the brakes, all while not giving up any ground on the playoffs (except to the Chargers who propped their playoff window open a little wider).

We (me, you, Tim) just need some time apart from Tebowmania. Hopefully we get at least a week.

Winners

It's a good thing Romeo Crennel didn't wear the traditional white shirt on Sunday. (US Presswire)

Romeo Crennel: We've been giving Crennel credit for his defensive schemes for a few weeks now, but Sunday's performance by the Chiefs -- a stunning 19-14 win over previously unbeaten Green Bay -- was absolutely worthy of the Gatorade bath he got after his first game as interim coach in Kansas City. The Chiefs shut down the Packers high-powered offense and Crennel parlayed the "you'd think it's obvious!" decision to bench Tyler Palko for Kyle Orton into a serious résumé builder for the offseason.

Reggie Bush: Look, I've ripped Reggie Bush left and right, especially considering his lack of success as an actual running back over the course of his career. But the dude is going HAMbone down in South Beach and Sunday's 203-yard effort makes him just the 40th running back since 1970 to rush for more than 200 yards on 25 or less carries. If you said you predicted Chiefs over Packers I might give it to you. If you predicted Bush rolling for 200 yards? You're a liar.

Skittles: Marshawn Lynch might've only averaged 2.1 yards per carry against the Bears, but he found the end zone twice and crossed the 1,000 yard mark for the season. The game was in Chicago which means it didn't rain rainbows all over Beast Mode when he dashed in the end zone. But has a candy ever gotten a bigger accidental brand boost from an athlete than what Lynch is giving those little sugar bombs during Seattle's sneaky playoff run?

Kyle Orton: Or, as I like to call him, "Senor Spoiler." Orton ripped the heart out of the Packers chance at an undefeated season and over the next two weeks, he's going to get a pair of shots to ruin some seasons. First there's Oakland in Week 16; a win in KC then and the Raiders are likely done. And then the ultimate revenge game against the Broncos, in Denver, on the final week of the season, against the guy, Tim Tebow, that de-seated him. There might be some major egg on John Elway's face if Orton pulls that "W" out.

Norv Turner: It seems impossible that Turner could save his gig, but that's mainly because the Chargers are dead-man walking when it comes to the playoffs ... or are they? After pummeling the Ravens on Sunday night, they've won their last three games and with losses by the Jets, Broncos, Titans, and Raiders they're suddenly one game back of a playoff spot.

Losers

Tom Coughlin: Just a week removed from taking over the NFC East with an impressive performance against the Cowboys, the target's back on Coughlin's back and it's bigger than ever. You can't watch Dallas dominate the Bucs on Saturday night and then lay a freaking ostrich egg at home against a division rival with four wins. Not if you want to make the playoffs anyway.

Our Souls: Bad news, you guys, because Tim Tebow lost. Naturally, that means that salvation will escape even the most penitent man (or woman). Or, alternately, it's a reflection of the fact that when the Broncos turn the ball over a bunch and hand Tom Brady short fields, the Patriots are really tough to beat. I'm going with the latter.

Santonio Holmes: Really Santonio? You're going to catch a touchdown pass, put the ball on the ground, stand on it and then do a dance mocking the Eagles who are in the middle of pantsing you right out of the playoffs? Really? It's kind of ironic that Charley Casserly compared Eagles wideout DeSean Jackson to Holmes on Sunday morning, considering they've both picked up embarrassing unsportsmanlike penalties now.

Oakland Raiders
: Take a look at the playoff picture. (Now back to me.) You realize that the Raiders, who choked to the Lions with a 99-yard drive to close things out, would be tied with the Broncos and Jets at 8-6 if they'd held off Detroit? Because they would be, and they hold the tiebreaker against the Jets and they're just one game back of the Broncos in conference record (5-5 to 6-4). Just close baby.

Ben Roethlisberger's Ankle
: No one's tougher than Roethlisberger, but did you see what happened to him against Cleveland? He probably doesn't have any business stepping on a football field for another week or so, especially without starting center Maurkice Pouncey. But with the Ravens getting paddled on Sunday, the Steelers are in the hunt for the top seed in the AFC and a division title, so Ben almost has to play. Poor ankle.

These Questions Go To 11

Who's protecting Aaron Rodgers? Excellent question.(Getty Images)

1. Should the Packers be worried?
Yes -- but not in the sense about caring over an undefeated season. They should be worried because even though they're still going to get the No. 1 seed in the NFC and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs, there's concern about how the offense performed without Greg Jennings and bigger concern about the performance of the offensive line and defense. A bad game from Aaron Rodgers and they can be sent home by anyone.

2. Is Johnny Knox OK?
That's the word on the street. The Bears wide receiver was taken to the hospital after a backbending hit that required him to be carted off the field. Fortunately, he's expected to have surgery to stabilize his vertebrae and according to reports his prognosis is good for a solid recovery.

3. Can the Eagles really still make the playoffs?
Somehow, yes. A lot of things need to happen, but it's not that crazy. 1) Philly wins out (duh), beating. 2) Dallas loses out, against Philly and at the Giants. The Giants go 1-1, losing to the Jets and beating Dallas. If those things happen, the Eagles, Cowboys and Giants will all finish 8-8 and Philly will win the NFC East through tiebreakers. *cues up Gary Wright*

4. What about the Chargers?
YES, THEM TOO. And they have two options -- either the Chargers can win out and the Broncos can lose out and the Bolts win the division. That's the "easy" way. Alternately, if the Jets lose out (against the Giants and Dolphins) and the Bengals can go 1-1 (losing to the Ravens) and the Chargers win out, they can make the playoffs as a wild card. Hope springs eternal in December and whatnot.

5. Should the Bears have called someone?
Yeah, and I'll go so far as to say Brett Favre could've been that guy. Marc Bulger might've made more sense from a perspective of knowing Mike Martz offense, but maybe he wasn't interested. Whatever, Caleb Hanie isn't getting it done.

6. Are the Texans cool with T.J. Yates?
Cool's a relative word, because there's really no excuse for a grizzled veteran of a rookie like Yates to get baffled by a Panthers defense that's running on fumes. Carolina's D showed up big time in Houston, but Yates made some pretty critical mistakes in the 28-13 loss and if Yates ends up with more passing attempts than Arian Foster and Ben Tate have rushing attempts combined, Houston probably lost the game.

7. Why did the Raiders use single coverage on Calvin Johnson?
Honestly, I have no idea. Johnson's the best wide receiver in the NFL and he walked out of a 28-27 win with 214 receiving yards a pair of teeters. It's one thing to trust your cornerback in coverage late in the game. It's another thing entirely to just throw caution to the wind and give the Lions an easy opportunity at going 98 yards for the win, which is what Oakland did Sunday. On the other hand, Darrius Heyward-Bey is starting to look like he could actually be a No. 1 receiver at times. That doesn't help the defensive scheming but it's something, right?

8. Should the Ravens be worried about their road record?
Hell yes they should. Baltimore's been unstoppable at home, rolling to a 7-0 record. On the road they've rolled over for lesser teams like the Jaguars, Seahawks and Titans. And now the Chargers. If Pittsburgh wins on Monday night, it's going to be really tough for the Ravens to land anywhere other than the fifth seed in the AFC, which means they're going on the road throughout the playoffs. And that probably means that the Ravens will be sitting at home in February.

9. Did Jim Caldwell save his job on Sunday?
I know Bill Polian reportedly said all Caldwell had to do was win one game, and the Colts did that by beating Tennessee 27-13 for their first victory on the season. But come on -- this team's going to draft their new franchise quarterback in April in Andrew Luck and Caldwell's not the guy that's going to train him to be Peyton Manning 2.0. Polian can pay lip service all he wants but having Manning/Luck on your roster is like sitting on pocket aces in the hold 'em game of finding a coach who wants to work somewhere with a franchise quarterback.

10. Are the Saints the best team in the NFC now?
If Greg Jennings is guaranteed to be out, if Aaron Rodgers offensive line is completely shredded, and if the game's in a dome ... then maybe, yeah. Drew Brees is as hot as it gets right now (and it's the right time to be hot) and he's going to crush Dan Marino's record for passing yards in a season -- he needs just 305 to break it. And that's in two games, so it's broken. But if (when?) the Saints have to go to Lambeau for the NFC Championship Game, it's a whole different ballgame and the Packers will have a couple weeks to get healthy too. If the Niners can stay afloat, the Saints don't have those luxuries.

11. Should you jump off the Tebow bandwagon?
No you shouldn't have. As mentioned above, the Broncos made some critical mistakes that put the Patriots in a good position to win. The hype was so out of control that it was easy to freak out when New England started rolling. This is a game that Denver should've been more competitive in, but turnovers and a strong defensive performance from the Pats doomed them. They won't see the same sort of challenges against a tepid Bills team that gave up 200 rushing yards to Bush Sunday.

Worth 1,000 Words


GIF O' THE WEEK

This contest was over as of about 6:00 p.m. ET when dog-riding monkeys started herding sheep in Denver.


Award Watch Worth Watching

I'm tempted to open up the MVP race here, but let's get real: it's still Rodgers, despite Brees going ape smell. But how about Offensive Player of the Year instead? Typically speaking, this awards goes to "the most productive person on the team without the best record" or something like that, but I think Brees, if he breaks Marino's record -- and holds it -- is starting to lock it down. But you could make a great case for Calvin Johnson (gobs of touchdowns), Tom Brady and Rodgers too.

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Posted on: December 18, 2011 11:19 am
Edited on: December 18, 2011 1:20 pm
 

Cards could move on from Kolb relatively cheaply

If Kolb continues to struggle, Arizona could move forward with few financial ramifications. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

The Cardinals moved quickly to trade for Kevin Kolb during free agency, partly because it was abbreviated due to the lockout, but also because head coach Ken Whisenhunt probably couldn't bear the thought of Derek Anderson as Arizona's starting quarterback for another day.

But even as the organization was announcing that they had acquired Kolb from Philly for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second-round pick, and promptly gave him a $63 million contract extension that included $20 million in guarantees, we (along with plenty of other people) were wondering why the Cards would invest so much in an unproven quarterback.

Well, we're heading into Week 15 and and Kolb has struggled with injuries and inconsistencies this season. He's started just nine games, completed 57.7 percent of his throws with 9 TDs and 8 INTs. Put differently: he's an improvement over Anderson but not a $63 million-extension improvement. Which is why Arizona can move on from Kolb relatively cheaply. Details via NFL Network's Jason La Canfora:
Kolb will earn a $10 million signing bonus and $2 million salary in 2011. He is due a $7 million roster bonus this March which could conceivably be declined by the club, meaning they would could get out of Kolb's deal after paying him just $12 million over one year.

Kolb has a $1 million salary in 2012, bringing his total compensation for that year to $8 million, and $20 million over the first two years of the deal.

With a $9 million salary and $2 million roster bonus due to Kolb in 2013, the Cardinals again have another chance to move on with limited financial ramifications at the beginning of that league year.

If Kolb were released in 2013 -- when the salary cap projects to jump considerably -- he would count just $6 million in dead cap space. He would count $8 million against the salary cap if released in 2012, but the team would save $8 million in real dollars by not owing him his $7 million roster bonus and $1 million salary.
Kolb will almost certainly get another year to prove he's a capable NFL starter, but if 2012 looks a lot like 2011, the Cardinals could again be in the market for their next franchise quarterback.

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Posted on: December 2, 2011 5:21 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2011 5:23 pm
 

Donovan McNabb clears waivers, becomes free agent

Posted by Will Brinson



Despite a glaring need at quarterback on a number of playoff contenders, no one claimed recently-released quarterback Donovan McNabb on Friday.

McNabb, who reportedly asked for his release after being demoted, was supposed to draw interest from someone, like the Bears (currently starting Caleb Hanie) or the Texans (currently starting T.J. Yates), but instead passed through waivers, which makes him an unrestricted free agent.

Quite obviously, the limited upside that McNabb offers just wasn't worth the downside of picking up the rest of the quarterback's contract with a waiver claim and/or dealing with bringing McNabb into a backup situation that he probably wouldn't be happy with anyway.

McNabb could still sign with someone as a free agent, but Chicago seems like the only truly viable option for him, what with Houston inking Jake Delhomme recently.

Which means that this may be the end of the road, at least for now, for McNabb, who's impromptu live appearance on ESPN Thursday night may be the best predictor of what he'll be doing in 2012. He's now been demoted by three different teams and benched for Kevin Kolb, Rex Grossman and Christian Ponder in the span of two years.

The same team that just cut him, Minnesota, claimed Sage Rosenfels to take McNabb's place. Houston seems willing to roll with Jake Delhomme as Yates backup rather than taking a flier on McNabb. In other words, you don't need shades to stare at McNabb's future on the football field.

But hey, on the bright side, it's not like the Redskins, Eagles and Vikings -- 10 wins between them this year! -- are having a bunch of success this year.

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Posted on: November 17, 2011 5:38 pm
 

Mornhinweg says Kolb had no impact on Eagles

K. Kolb was trying to call out Philadelphia's signals to his Arizona teammates (US Presswire).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Even though Kevin Kolb wasn’t on the field helping his team to a big win against his former Eagles squad last week -- apparently, John Skelton was exactly what Arizona needed -- he still tried to help out as best he could by calling out the plays Philadelphia ran on its final drive.

"During the two-minute drill, you almost feel guilty," Kolb said. "Mike (Vick) is sitting there giving the signals, and I’m standing there on our sidelines, screaming at our corners, 'Hey it’s a go ball, hey he’s running a screen, hey he’s running a slant.'"

In the end, Kolb said his screaming probably didn’t have much of an impact on Arizona’s defense, and a day later, Eagles offensive coordinator Mary Mornhinweg said Kolb was absolutely correct.

"That’s a story you can always anticipate, an ex-player that's on another ballclub and who’s injured and wants so badly to be a part of a win," Mornhinweg said, via Philly.com. "In the two-minute (offense) we only called two plays on the line. Completed the third down and then dropped a big one."

Mornhinweg also said he went back to review the film to see if Kolb had any discernible effect on the Cardinals defense, and he found nothing (though as the website points out, how would he know, since Arizona DID stop the Eagles on that drive?).

"It’s clear on film,” Mornhinweg said. “Also I think that stuff's sort of overrated. Just put yourself in a corner's position, and some guy on the sideline’s yelling at you something. You've got to trust yourself."

But if you also know you’ve got a former quarterback of the opponent you’re playing yelling about the plays that are being called, it also isn’t a bad idea to listen up either. You might just help your team stuff the offense and win the game. Which Mornhinweg said didn’t happen. But it could have.

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Posted on: November 16, 2011 11:46 am
Edited on: November 16, 2011 2:48 pm
 

Kolb was calling plays during Eagles final drive

Posted by Will Brinson

Whenever you hear that a quarterback was calling plays during a team's two-minute drill, that's usually pretty impressive. It's even more impressive if that quarterback is on the other team, as Kevin Kolb was on Sunday when Arizona beat Philly 21-17.

Kolb, according to an interview he gave on the radio Tuesday afternoon, was alerting the Cardinals defense as to what plays the Eagles were running on offense near the end of the game.

"During the two-minute drill, you almost feel guilty," Kolb told 94 WIP, per Sheil Kapadia of Philly.com. "Mike’s sitting there giving the signals, and I’m standing there on our sidelines, screaming at our corners, 'Hey it’s a go ball, hey he’s running a screen, hey he’s running a slant.'"

Oddly, after pointing out that he knew all the Eagles plays (on a day when the Eagles stunk it up on offense, no less), Kolb then pointed out that it probably didn't make a difference.

"How much of an effect do I really have?" he said. "I’m screaming to one guy. He may hear me, he may not. Luckily for us at that point, the crowd was pretty dead and some of our guys could maybe hear it."

Maybe it wasn't all Kolb, and certainly injuries to Michael Vick and Jeremy Maclin, plus the absence of DeSean Jackson, caused the Eagles offense to slow down significantly. But even then, it's pretty odd that Vick sputtered as much as he did -- 16 of 34, 128 passing yards, two picks, no touchdowns -- against a below-average secondary on a team that happens to feature the last guy to take starting snaps for the Eagles.

Or maybe Kevin Kolb's just a defensive genius. If that's the case, Andy Reid should hire him this offseason.

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Posted on: November 11, 2011 1:40 pm
 

Podcast: Week 10 NFL preview, Oakland/San Diego

Posted by Will Brinson & Ryan Wilson

Week 10's gotten started, thanks to Oakland's big win in San Diego, and we break down that game -- the return of Carson Palmer! -- before diving into Week 10's preview podcast.

Are the Bengals capable of upsetting the Steelers at home? Does anyone care about the Eagles-Cardinals game except for Kevin Kolb? Have the Bears improved enough on offense since losing to the Lions last time to move into a tie for second in the NFC North this week? Can we really bank on the Patriots losing three-straight games? Is Chad Ochocinco really the key to beating the Jets this week? Are the Giants overmatched heading out west against San Francisco?

All those questions answered, plus much, much more, below.

Did we mention that you should subscribe to the podcast via iTunes?

If you can't listen to the podcast below, download it here. And if you'd like to keep working while listening in your browser, pop that puppy out in a new tab here.



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Posted on: November 10, 2011 4:25 pm
 

Eagles still have faith in Rodgers-Cromartie

D. Rodgers-Cromartie has struggled this year, like here against E. Bennett (US Presswire).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Of the three big-name cornerbacks employed by the Eagles, the biggest disappointment has to be Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Nnamdi Asomugha and Asante Samuel have made mistakes for a team that’s been the most underachieving in the NFL this year, but they’ve also had a few good moments.

Rodgers-Cromartie, on the other hand, has struggled, and when he’s allowing his receivers to catch balls in his coverage, he’s also not tackling all that well (and, in some cases, making little effort to do so).

So, what’s going on with him?

"We know in time, DRC will be the best nickel guy there is, because he has that kind of ability," said defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, via the Philadelphia Daily News. "With Dominique, he's such a talented player, good kid, hard worker ... That nickel position is a tough position because the receiver has a two-way go. Our goal is that Dominque has that kind of ability to be a special guy in there. We knew it was going to take a little bit of time, 'cause it's something tough for him to do to get in there.”

But yeah, he hasn’t been very good this year, has he?

No, as Pro Football Focus wrote following the Eagles loss to the Bears: “He was a step behind on every almost every target, allowing three of four passes to be complete for 56 yards. We agree with him that’s he a better player than his play would suggest right now, because right now, his play stinks.”

The silver lining? The player for whom Rodgers-Cromartie was traded, Kevin Kolb, isn’t faring much better in Arizona these days, and it looks like he’ll miss another game with turf toe. Another look at the positive side? At least, Rodgers-Cromartie is showing passion – even if it is on the sideline.

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Posted on: November 8, 2011 11:16 am
Edited on: November 8, 2011 11:50 am
 

Rodgers-Cromartie explains MNF sideline rant

CB Rodgers-Cromartie arrived in Philly with a reputation for shying away from tackles. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

A week ago, the Eagles had finally shown their Dream Team form. They made quick work of the Cowboys and even though Philly's record stood at 3-4, the consensus was that they were again a legitimate threat to make the playoffs and they might even win the division.

That changed Monday, when Philadelphia's offense sputtered and their run defense returned to it's early season no-tackling form. The Bears came into the Linc and outplayed the Eagles in all three phases, winning 30-24.

That loss, coupled with the Giants' victory in Foxboro the day before, means that Philly is three back in the loss column to New York, and tied for the worst record in the division with the rudderless Redskins.

When teams with high expectations underachieve, it's not uncommon for players to take it out on one another, often during games. We saw that on the Eagles' sideline Monday night. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, acquired in the trade that sent Kevin Kolb to Arizona before the season, was seen ranting on Philly's bench, pointing at teammates and having an animated discussion with defensive coordinator Juan Castillo.

Details via the Philadelphia Inquirer's Jonathan Tamari:
[Rodgers-Cromartie's] was the latest and most visible example of how the speedy cornerback has failed to find a good fit on his new team. He was victimized over and over again by the Bears, including on one early play when he appeared to give up as Earl Bennett caught a pass and continued running for a 14-yard gain, the Eagles safeties stopping him instead of Rodgers-Cromartie.

When he came to the sideline in the fourth quarter, Rodgers-Cromartie was confronted by Castillo, appeared to point to his secondary teammates on on the bench, then moved away from them. Nnamdi Asomugha and then Andy Reid came to calm him down.
"I got frustrated on a play that I should have known was coming and instead I did something else, so you know I kind of went off," Rodgers-Cromartie said after the game. "(Shoot), I was mad, it was in the heat of the moment, (stuff) is going to happen."

One of the reasons the Cards unloaded Rodgers-Cromartie (other than the biggest one: they were in desperate need of a quarterback) was because he had been inconsistent during this three years in Arizona.

"[He's] coming off a poor season and admits his attention span is not as long as it should be," Arizona Republic beat reporter Kent Somers wrote in July. [Cardinals] coaches have continually emphasized to him the need to concentrate every day and spend more time studying schemes and opponents."

So it's no surprise that Rodgers-Cromartie is prone to lapses. Tamari adds that he "was supposed to be a Pro Bowl-level cornerback, but he has not performed well and has yet to contribute a big play. At times he appears to run away from tackles."

Must run in the family. (Look for No. 31 and then it will all make sense.)


Matt Forte bounced back from two costly turnovers and Jay Cutler rallied the resilient Chicago Bears to a 30-24 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night. Lovie Smith was pleased with the play of his team.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com