Monday, May 4, 2015

Rich Hofmann: Eagles' Kolb might grow from this fiasco - if he gets another chance

Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb only completed two of his final nine passes during yesterday´s loss. (Clem Murray/Staff Photographer)
Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb only completed two of his final nine passes during yesterday's loss. (Clem Murray/Staff Photographer)
Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb only completed two of his final nine passes during yesterday´s loss. (Clem Murray/Staff Photographer) Gallery: Titans 37, Eagles 19

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Well, Kevin Kolb is old news again. Kolb is moving out as the Eagles' starting quarterback and Michael Vick is moving back in, commuters passing on a busy train platform. Kolb's presumed season of development is over again and Vick's unexpected season of redemption is returning. This is how coach Andy Reid wants it and this is how it is going to be and there is no sense arguing anymore, especially not after this one.

Quote of the day from Kolb:

"It's nobody's fault and it's everybody's fault."

He is right. He was talking about the blown-up handoff/fumble 3 yards from the end zone that stopped the Eagles' momentum in the third quarter, but he could have been talking about the whole entire disaster that was Titans 37, Eagles 19. Kolb also is a big part of everybody. His fingerprints were all over this one.

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  • If you are going to praise Kolb when he wins and looks impressive, as he did in wins over San Francisco and Atlanta, it is impossible not to point out when he can't hit anybody downfield, both underthrowing and overthrowing his way out of big plays that might have made the fumbled handoff moot.

    As long as Reid has created this construct - that this is about performance now, and development be damned - then it is impossible not to go back to Vick in the Eagles' first game after the bye against Indianapolis. By then, his rib cartilage should be pretty fully healed; Vick said he could have played yesterday in an emergency.

    Asked if the decision was disappointing, Kolb said, "Sure it is. I enjoy playing out there and I want to continue to play. You learn something every time. You feel like you read things a little faster every time. And that's what you want to continue to do. But I'll say it again: I always trust [Reid]. I trust him now."

    The interesting question, though, is what happens if the Eagles' offensive line has a lousy day in the near future and Vick's elusiveness isn't quite elusive enough, and Vick throws a couple of picks. That is the danger point for Reid, the point where one more change turns his quarterback position into a game-by-game proposition.

    That is for later, though. This is about one horrific loss - most of which falls upon an abject defensive collapse in the fourth quarter. (Note: The Titans scored 27 points in the fourth quarter. The last time a team scored more points against the Eagles in the fourth quarter, it was when the 49ers dropped 28 on them in 1989. But that was Joe Montana and Jerry Rice, not Kerry Collins and Kenny Britt.)

    Still, Kolb knows the part he played before the cave-in.

    "I missed too many easy ones early," he said. "We had a chance to get one of those shots on them - really about three of them. We just didn't execute it and I feel like that really kept them hanging around. You can't do that. We have to have, as we've been saying for a couple of weeks now, a step-on-their-throat mentality - and it came back and bit us today.

    "We're a young team. We have to learn from it and I have to execute those early. When it was an eight- or nine-point ballgame, we just kept letting them hang around. In the NFL, that's going to get you in trouble."

    For the day, Kolb was 26-for-48 for 231 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. His passer rating was an anemic 56.9. He had two downfield misses on the Eagles' second drive of the game, both overthrows of open receivers, one to Brent Celek and the other to Chad Hall.

    The big underthrow came later, a deep duck - admittedly thrown out of a rickety pocket - intended for Jeremy Maclin that was intercepted by Titans safety Michael Griffin. Kolb's longest completion of the day - a 37-yarder to Riley Cooper that was on a double-reverse pass out of the Wildcat formation - was also a badly underthrown ball on which Cooper made a great adjustment. Later, there was a deep post to Maclin that was underthrown and broken up by the Titans' Chris Hope.

    There were other misfires. The Titans' Alterraun Verner dropped what could have been a pick-six interception early in the fourth quarter on a drive where the Eagles settled for David Akers' fourth field goal. Later, trying to come from behind, Kolb threw behind Cooper over the middle on a third-and-7 play, forcing a punt. In all, the Eagles didn't have a first down in their final four drives of the game.

    This team has tended to turtle at the ends of games all season. This is the first time, though, that it completely blew up on them.

    "We just have to keep our aggressive mentality," Kolb said. "It's human nature when you get ahead to settle. That's why you see comebacks like that. We can't settle. It starts with me. I'm the guy with the ball in my hands on the offensive side."

    Well, he was the guy.

    Meanwhile, in the other dressing room, old warrior Kerry Collins was talking. His day as the Tennessee quarterback started miserably, but he just kept hanging in and hanging around.

    "You've got to keep playing," Collins said. "That is part of playing quarterback in the NFL. You are going to start out, there are going to be bad decisions, there are going to be some bad throws . . . I think a lot of playing quarterback in the NFL is being able to fight through those kind of things and hopefully you can make the plays to help your team win."

    Words to live by and learn by for Kevin Kolb - for the next time, whenever that might be.

    Send e-mail to hofmanr@phillynews.com,

    or read his blog, The Idle Rich, at

    http://go.philly.com/theidlerich.

    For recent columns go to

    http://go.philly.com/hofmann.

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