With Michael Vick still recovering from a rib cartilage injury, Kevin Kolb will start on Sunday night in San Francisco. The 49ers spent all week preparing for him, a quarterback with limited NFL action. This will be, of course, Kevin Kolb's fourth career start.
But 49ers head coach Mike Singletary has seen enough from Kolb to know that if you give him time, he can hurt you in the passing game.
"I see a guy who really reads defenses very well, and really tries to get the football in the hands of the playmakers," Singletary said. "He really gets the ball out fast; I think that's what he does well."
In fact, Singletary has his own young quarterback to mentor, and knows all about the maturation process at that position. 49ers quarterback Alex Smith was the first overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, and has yet to live up to those lofty expectations. Through four-plus years as a starting quarterback, Smith has a record of 16-28 and 40 touchdowns against 50 interceptions.
Singletary was asked about the time it takes for a young quarterback, like Alex Smith or Kevin Kolb, to reach his full potential.
"I think there are a lot of different factors that go into that," Singletary said. "The first thing you have to look at is the quarterback's personality. Is he more of a cavalier kind of guy, or is he a guy that will sit back and let you dictate what he does? I think that's the number one thing.
"The other thing, is he stepping into a mature offense that's already in place? Or is he stepping into an offense where he's going to be the new guy here and the whole thing is an experiment? I think all those factors really go into dictating whether a quarterback will ever fully develop into a quarterback that can be effective."
The next step in Kevin Kolb's maturation process will come Sunday night in San Francisco. It is, after all, Kolb's first primetime start since December 1, 2006, when his Houston Cougars took on Southern Miss.
-- Posted by Josh Goldman, 6:05 p.m., October 8