Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb described his career to this point as "wild." He is right in that he has experienced a very unique NFL career.
The Eagles' top draft pick in 2007, Kolb was selected while Donovan McNabb was still in the prime of his career. The pick came as a surprise to a lot of people. Kolb's first opportunity to prove himself came at halftime of the Ravens game in 2008 when McNabb was benched at halftime. Kolb drove the Eagles down the field only to see safety Ed Reed return an interception 108 yards for a touchdown in a 36-7 loss.
Kolb started two games for an injured McNabb in 2009 and became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for 300-or-more yards in each of his first two starts. It was those performances that made the Eagles believe that Kolb was good enough to be the franchise starting quarterback, which he was after McNabb was traded Easter Sunday night of 2010 to the Washington Redskins.
The Kolb era in Philadelphia lasted, however, for just a little over a quarter. Packers linebacker Clay Matthews slammed Kolb into the turf causing a concussion. Michael Vick was brilliant in relief of Kolb; earned the starting job and has never looked back.
Kolb was dealt to Arizona in 2011 just after the lockout was lifted in exchange for Pro Bowl cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second-round pick. Kolb was given a lucrative contract by the Cardinals and expected to finally have a place where he would be the starting quarterback.
Well, as Kolb has learned not everything goes according to plan. He missed seven games due to injury and had his struggles in the games he did start. Kolb was 3-6 as a starter last season, but the Cardinals finished 8-8 on the year overall thanks to quarterback John Skelton. Kolb's bad luck last season included the win in Philadelphia which he did not take part in due to a foot injury.
"It did bother me last year," Kolb said on a conference call with Philadelphia reporters. "You always want to be playing, but, for us and myself, we're trying to approach (this Sunday's game) as the next one in line; it's the next week."
Kolb has an opportunity to seize the starting job as Skelton is sidelined with an ankle injury. Skelton was injured in the season opener against Seattle and Kolb came in and sparked the Cardinals to a 20-16 win. Last week, Kolb took the Cardinals on the road and stunned the Patriots 20-18 handing New England its first loss in a home opener since they moved to Gillette Stadium in 2002.
"I'm excited. Obviously more excited because we have the chance to go 3-0 as (the Eagles) do," Kolb said. "It's going to be an exciting game and there will be plenty of energy in the building."
The irony that Kolb regained the starting job after an injury is not lost on him. The biggest thing he learned from his time in Philadelphia was not to be so affected by the highs and the lows that come with the job. Kolb is not bitter about how things played out in Philadelphia and recalls many fond memories.
Kolb still keeps in close touch with some of his former teammates. In fact, Kolb and defensive end Jason Babin texted each other Thursday morning. Babin said it was to discuss hunting and not football, but maybe Babin simply wasn't revealing that Kolb is what he will be hunting. The Eagles run a different defensive scheme now than when Kolb was here, but it certainly has gotten Kolb's attention in film study this week.
"They're good. They're fast. They're playing to their strengths," Kolb said of the league's fourth-ranked defense.
Through everything that happened in Philadelphia, Kolb always put the team first. He never complained about his role. Now, he is hoping those experiences can be parlayed into a secure spot as Arizona's quarterback.
"I've learned through my time in Philly and through my time here I'm not going to try and predict anything," Kolb said. "If you start to look at the big picture, it's going to take your focus off of what you're trying to do."
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