Every two days, Rishi Pochiraju will reveal a quarterback on his grand list of quarterback rankings. Each quarterback will receive a grade out of 50 – 10 points for each category. No. 31 is up next on the countdown.
#31. Kevin Kolb, Buffalo Bills
Just like the number 32 quarterback of the countdown (Matt Flynn), Kolb is not set in stone as the Week 1 starter for his team. He has E.J. Manuel on his heels, but Kolb should be able to beat Manuel out. It will be best for both quarterbacks, as well as the team, to let the young rookie learn from a seasoned veteran (although Kolb is considered unsuccessful).
Kolb has experienced his fair share of ups and downs during his career, but one word can effectively summarize it: injuries. His injuries have led to inconsistent play, thus leading to him playing for three different clubs in seven seasons. Now, he hopes the injury plague doesn’t hit him in Buffalo, where he can succeed with the correct coaching, scheme, and supporting cast.
Physical traits and athleticism
The new Bills quarterback stands at 6-3, which is a good height for a quarterback. He is not mobile and his speed is not an asset of his game, but he still can succeed without it. Physically, Kolb needs to stay healthy. His injuries severely limited his success – if he is able to eliminate that, he can be solid. He’s not everything a coach wants in a quarterback in terms of physical ability. Grade: 5.5/10
Kolb doesn’t have the strongest arm in the world, but is capable of making accurate throws. However, when studying him, I’ve come to the conclusion that he does show a little bit of what we call “cabin fever”, or the inability to just pull the trigger on the ball. He couldn’t get the ball to one of the best receivers in the NFL in Larry Fitzgerald. He can make all of the throws, but the protection has to be there, and his intended target has to be open by NFL standards. Grade: 5/10
Kolb has an average throwing motion and often relies on a side-arm sort of throw, perhaps to get the ball around pass rushers and into the throwing lanes. His mechanics become flawed when he’s under pressure – he needs a clean pocket to operate efficiently. Otherwise, he gets careless with his mechanics (such as not stepping into his throw), and that often leads to turnovers. Grade: 5/10
Kolb often looks confused when faced with exotic blitz packages or when he’s simply under pressure. He needs to be more prepared for these situations and should learn to be comfortable in the face of pressure. The fact that he doesn’t read blitzes and defenses well contributed to his lack of production and injuries. Grade: 4.5/10
Kolb has not made a good impression as a starting quarterback. However, he is considered a hard worker, and he attempts to prepare himself well. When John Skelton got hurt in Week 1 last year, Kolb came in and won four straight games; then he got hurt. He made the most out of his starting opportunity last season, but it was cut short because of an untimely injury. Grade: 6.5/10
Kolb might not even start at all for Buffalo, but he knows what he can do to improve himself and earn that starting job. It starts with the mental aspects of the game – as I always like to say, this game is 90 percent mental. Kolb has a lot to work on and his work is cut out for him. Overall grade: 26.5/50