It appears as though many Bills fans are hopeful that Kevin Kolb will start. As we are all prepared to move beyond the Ryan Fitzpatrick era, we should not expect much better from Kolb. As we all know, Buffalo’s track record with QBs has been poor, to put it nicely. It does not appear that the addition of Kevin Kolb will be any better than our previous starting QBs. Here is a closer look…
Kolb had a YPA of 6.4 in 2012. The only QBs with more pass attempts last year that had as low or lower YPA than Kolb were: Christian Ponder, Mark Sanchez, Blaine Gabbert, Nick Foles, Matt Hasselbeck, John Skelton, and Brady Quinn. That's not exactly a great group of people to be lumped with.
He was also sacked every 6.77 pass attempts. That’s dead last for players over 150 passing attempts. You can’t blame the Arizona offensive line, either. John Skelton and Ryan Lindley had 197 combined passing attempts and were sacked 27 times. Kolb had 109 passing attempts and was also sacked 27 times, with the same offensive line.
So what does the statistical evidence tell us?
- 1) He posted a decent completion percentage, but had a terrible YPA. This indicates that his completions were mostly short routes and check downs.
- 2) He had the worst sack rate of any QB last season, even worse than 2 other QBs who played behind the same offensive line he did. His sack rate could be attributed to a variety of things such as:
- He holds onto the ball too long;
- He cannot sense the pocket collapsing;
- He cannot evade the rush;
- He doesn’t throw the ball away when necessary.
Do you think that this type of performance lead the Cardinals to the 4-1 record? Or did they achieve it despite his poor production? Yards and touchdowns look great, but they can be deceiving. Think about it in the sense of Buffalo QBs we have had the displeasure of witnessing over recent years. His YPA is reminiscent of "Checkdown" Trent Edwards (YPA of 6.1, 7.2, 6.4) while his sack rate reminds us of "Statue" Drew Bledsoe (139 sacks in 3 seasons). But did you know that in those 3 seasons, Drew Bledsoe only took a sack every 10.9 pass attempts, compared to Kolb’s 6.77?
Kolb’s 2011 numbers in terms of YPA were actually better. So he regressed significantly last season, which isn’t something you want to see at any point, new offense or not. His YPA went from 7.7 (respectable, but not elite) to 6.4. He still took a sack every 8.4 pass attempts, even in that season. However, 2011 may have been a fluke season for him. In 2010, his last season in Philadelphia, he finished the season with a 6.3 YPA. While he had limited game opportunities in his four seasons with the Eagles, he was with Andy Reid for four consecutive seasons. However, he was no Aaron Rodgers learning on the sidelines. The good news is that he was not sacked as much in 2010 as he was the past two with Arizona. However, as previously mentioned the other QBs on Arizona’s roster were able to escape being sacked with much more success than Kolb. So simply blaming the system or offensive line is not a proper excuse.
I hope this gives you a greater idea of what is more realistic to expect from Kolb. He has been knocked for his poor decision making and inaccuracies. He clearly holds onto the ball too long and does not sense the pressure as he should. Buffalo’s offensive line not looking to be as strong as previous seasons, especially with the still apparent hole at LG. The receivers will also not be able to lift Kolb. Despite having a talented group, they are still young and raw.
Coach Hackett stated he was going to run CJ Spiller until he threw up. I don’t think he necessarily wants to do that, but if Kolb ends up the starter, he may have to do so.