How Kevin Kolb Could Have Changed the Philadelphia Eagles' Season
Quarterback Kevin Kolb started this past season as the Eagles' starter. Andy Reid sold the fan base on him, calling Kolb a quarterback who could lead the franchise for the next 5-10 years.
Many believed the Eagles would finish third behind the Cowboys and Giants in the NFC East and end the year as a rebuilding team.
However, Kolb got hurt on opening day, and the rest was history.
Michael Vick turned out to be an MVP candidate and performed at an elite level throughout the season, leading the Eagles to a division berth and the playoffs, where they lost to the eventual Super Bowl champions, the Green Bay Packers.
How would the season have gone with Kolb at quarterback? Well, there would have definitely been growing pains along the way for Kolb and the Eagles.
Here's a look at how the season might have unfolded with Kolb:
Actual: Lost to the Packers, 27-20 (0-1 record)
Hypothetical: Lost to the Packers 30-20 (0-1)
Under the guidance of Kolb in the first half of the original game, the offense put up a measly three points. The Eagles offense, with the amount of weapons it had, would have at least put up a few late scores in the second half.
Michael Vick, in the actual game, kept the struggling defense off the field in the second half and performed admirably in the tough loss.
Actual: Beat the Lions, 35-32 (1-1)
Hypothetical: Beat the Lions, 28-24 (1-1)
Kevin Kolb would lead the potent offense to a much-needed victory.
Kolb would have been asked to get the ball into his playmakers' hands, especially against a horrible secondary like the Lions.
Actual: Beat the Jaguars, 28-3 (2-1)
Hypothetical: Beat the Jaguars, 27-10 (2-1)
Kolb would finally feel comfortable as a starter.
He would put up huge numbers, leading the Eagles to an easy win over a Jags team that lacked a strong secondary.
Actual: Lose to the Redskins, 17-12 (2-2)
Hypothetical: Beat the Redskins, 20-16 (3-1)
Fully prepared for the Redskins, which is not how he was when he had to relieve Vick in the actual game, Kolb would not be hesitant to take a couple of shots down the field to DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin.
Kevin Kolb originally started these three games against the 49ers, Falcons and Titans.
I think the Eagles would play the same in my mock Kolb season.
Week 5: Beat the 49ers, 27-24 (4-1)
Week 6: Beat the Falcons, 31-17 (5-1)
Week 7: Lose to the Titans, 37-19 (5-2)
Actual: Beat the Colts, 26-24 (5-3)
Hypothetical: Lose to the Colts, 31-20 (5-3)
The growing pains for Kevin Kolb start now.
Though Reid almost never loses after the bye, Kolb would face pressure going against someone like Peyton Manning. The offense would not have stayed on the field long enough to keep Manning on the sideline.
Actual: Beat the Redskins, 59-28 (6-3)
Hypothetical: Beat the Redskins, 34-17 (6-3)
Kolb would lead a balanced attack against the Redskins.
With the locker room in disarray, Kolb comes out firing with a great start and play flawlessly the rest of the way.
Actual: Beat the Giants, 27-17 (7-3)
Hypothetical: Lose to the Giants, 24-21 (6-4)
Kolb could not answer with a comeback of his own after the Giants stormed back from an early deficit.
The rushing attack was shut down, putting all the pressure for the offense to succeed on Kolb.
Actual: Lose to the Bears, 31-26 (7-4)
Hypothetical: Lose to the Bears, 27-13 (6-5)
With a lot at stake, Kolb and the offense fall for the third straight time.
The offense could not be jump-started by any big plays, and the Bears defense smothered Kolb.
Actual: Beat the Texans, 34-24 (8-4)
Hypothetical: Beat the Texans, 41-38 (7-5)
Kolb and the Eagles win a shootout against Matt Schaub and the Texans.
Both teams struggle on defense, and Kolb ends up making the big play at the end of the game.
Actual: Beat the Cowboys, 30-27 (9-4)
Hypothetical: Lose to the Cowboys, 28-27 (7-6)
Kolb could not work his magic again, as he throws an interception late to seal the win for the Cowboys.
Kolb loses a battle versus veteran Jon Kitna.
Actual: Beat the Giants, 38-31 (10-4)
Hypothetical: Lose to the Giants, 34-13 (7-7)
The Giants would get out to a huge lead, as they did in the actual game, but this time the Eagles could not mount an improbable comeback.
Kolb has one of his worst games of the season against the tough Giants defense.
Actual: Lose to the Vikings, 24-14 (10-5)
Hypothetical: Beat the Vikings, 23-13 (8-7)
Kolb, in an irregular Tuesday night game, performs well against the Vikings.
Unlike the actual game, the Eagles did not come out flat and performed well to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Actual: Lose to the Cowboys, 14-13 (10-6)
Hypothetical: Beat the Cowboys, 20-13 (9-7)
Even though Kolb started the actual game against the Cowboys and could not get the Eagles offense going, he played with practice-squad players.
Kolb, in this scenario, would still play with the first-teamers and would pull off a victory to end the season against the Cowboys.
Actual: First in NFC East (10-6), earns the No. 3 seed in the NFC
Hypothetical: Second in NFC East (9-7), missed playoffs