GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 04: Quarterback Kevin Kolb #4 of the Arizona Cardinals throws a pass during the NFL game against the Dallas Cowboys at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 4, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Cowboys 19-13 in overtime. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
The San Francisco 49ers travel down to Glendale to face the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, and the one significant change from three weeks ago is that Kevin Kolb is back in the saddle at quarterback. The Cardinals paid an arm and a leg for Kolb in the offseson, but he has dealt with some injury issues in recent weeks.
Kolb returned last week against the Dallas Cowboys and struggled in the first half with some accuracy issues. He picked it up in the second half though and helped lead the Cardinals to a surprising 19-13 victory over the Cowboys. He had some bounces go his way, including LaRod Stephens-Howling's game-winning touchdown in overtime, but they won and he didn't do too badly at times.
NN and Revenge of the Birds exchanged five questions three weeks ago. Rather than repeat that, I basically just asked them about the one significant difference since last game, Kevin Kolb. Jess Root was kind enough to take a few minutes to provide some thoughts on Kevin Kolb's first season in the desert. Head after the jump to see what Jess has to say.
Kolb's season started out rather well overall statistically. Even with the losses early on, at one point early in the season he was on track to throw for over 4000 yards. However, by watching him, you never got the feeling he was comfortable. It was hard to watch, even when he was making big plays. He was not poised, he would not step up in the pocket and would run backwards or roll out away from pressure, real or perceived.
After a couple of losses, the confidence seemed to go down and the struggles increased. He was getting no help from the defense or offensive line, so the offense stalled a lot.
Coming from a different offensive system, he has had to learn a lot. The footwork and reads are different, as is the terminology. Basically, he season was fraught with inconsistency. Then came the injury and the team started winning without him (mainly because of the defense).
He cam back for the Dallas game and he was still missing receivers. But in the second half, things started moving. The thing for which he has most been criticized is the "happy feet." Those weren't there against Dallas. He stepped up in the pocket instead of fleeing right away. It wasn't perfect, but he led the offense that second half.
So -- the skinny on him. He can make all the throws. His arm strength is solid, but not elite. His accuracy has been inconsistent. Aside from the Dallas game, he will flee the pocket. He has decent mobility and is able to make plays when not in the pocket. He will hold the ball too long sometimes and take sacks.
But he has shown that he can make the offense look pretty good. The offense just has yet to put together 60 minutes of consistent production.