Kolb-Watch, Day 1,475: Yours for the Bargain Price of Two Seconds?

Kolb-Watch, Day 1,475: Yours for the Bargain Price of Two Seconds?

One Cardinals beat writer thinks so. Kent Somers with the Arizona Republic blogged about Kevin Kolb's value yesterday, and he concluded a package of picks headlined by a first may be too rich for the Eagles quarterback.

Somers compared Kolb's situation to that of Matt Schaub, which is funny because he too was blocked by Mike Vick at one point in his career. Schaub, a third rounder out of Virginia, showcased the tools to be an NFL quarterback in several relief appearances, and the Texans made him their franchise quarterback in 2007. The price: Houston and Atlanta swapped first round picks (numbers 8 and 10), and the Falcons threw in a pair of second rounders.

What Somers is getting at is that trade could provide a template for any possible Kolb-to-the-Cards deal, and the similarities are certainly there. Two largely unproven quarterbacks who weren't exactly top prospects coming out of college, with no apparent chance to be named the starter ahead of Vick.

It's a shot in the gut, as we've speculated for a long time the Eagles could get at least a first for Kolb. However, there are still several key differences between Schaub in '07 and Kolb present day that lead me to believe they can still get that kind of compensation.

First of all, we can't truly use that trade as a template, because the move in the first round is a big deal. It may only be two spots, but that early in the draft, two spots can be the difference between a Pro Bowler and a Hall of Famer--though Atlanta wound up with DE Jamaal Anderson, a huge bust.

Furthermore, the Falcons had the advantage of doing that deal a month before the draft. The Eagles and Cardinals can't swap first round picks now because this year's draft is already over, and who knows where anybody will finish in 2011. That takes one component of the deal right off the table.

Then there is the comparison between Schaub and Kolb. Granted, nobody is saying Kolb is any kind of sure thing, but his small body of work dwarfs the Texans QB's at that stage of his career. Schaub started two games for the Falcons, went 0-2, and threw 161 total passes. Kolb has seven starts, is 3-4, and two NFC Offensive Player of the Week awards.

Plus, the two have slightly different pedigrees. Schaub was the fifth quarterback taken in '04, and 90th overall. Kolb was the third signal caller off the board in '07, 36 overall. Ultimately, that may mean nothing, but there were greater expectations for Kolb in the NFL.

Then again, Schaub has gone on to develop into one of the better passers in the league, throwing for over 4,000 yards in consecutive seasons, and making the Texans relevant in the process. Maybe Somers is right, and some seconds are about what the Birds can hope for in the exchange.

I still don't think so. That may have been fine for Atlanta and Houston, but there are far more examples where young, franchise-type quarterbacks go for firsts than examples where they go for less. Look at Matt Hasselbeck, Jay Cutler, Brett Favre. Every situation is different, but even with Schaub, firsts were exchanged.

And of course, there are the various reports that at least one team already has a first on the table. It's only a rumor, but one that contradicts the idea the Eagles won't receive at least that.

Why not? If Kolb is an NFL-caliber quarterback and can stay healthy, there's no reason Arizona should be picking in the top five again next year. Is it a risk? Hell yeah. I think Kolb could be a fine quarterback, but I've also seen A.J. Feeley have success in Andy Reid's system.

That's the price you pay though, Mr. Somers. The Cardinals had the opportunity to draft a franchise quarterback in the first round, and didn't. That doesn't mean the Eagles should treat them like a charity case, taking less than the perceived value.

>> Setting a trade value for Kevin Kolb [Arizona Republic]

Jake Thompson tweaks delivery, offers ray of light on a dark night for Phillies

Jake Thompson tweaks delivery, offers ray of light on a dark night for Phillies

BOX SCORE

On the surface, this was not a very positive night at the ballpark for the Phillies. They had just four hits and lost, 4-0, to the Washington Nationals in front of the smallest crowd of the season – 16,056, announced – at Citizens Bank Park (see Instant Replay).
 
But lest we forget, this is a rebuilding season and in a rebuilding season the final score isn’t always paramount. So on an otherwise dark Monday night there was a ray of light for the Phillies.
 
Jake Thompson had the kind of start those who traded for him a year ago and those who watched him pitch this season in Triple A said he was capable of having.
 
“It was great to see,” manager Pete Mackanin said. “That’s just what he needed. He needed a real positive outing. I think this will do wonders for him down the road.”
 
Thompson held the NL East-leading Nationals to two runs over seven innings, his longest of five outings in the majors.
 
“He looked like the pitcher that was advertised,” Mackanin said.
 
Thompson’s first four outings in the majors were poor. He was tagged for 22 hits and 21 earned runs in 19 1/3 innings. He walked 13 and struck out 13. Those results were starkly different than his last 11 starts in Triple A. He went 8-0 in those 11 starts and recorded a 1.21 ERA while allowing just 10 earned runs in 74 1/3 innings. He gave up just 52 hits and 18 walks over that span while striking out 42.
 
After watching Thompson for four starts, pitching coach Bob McClure decided to suggest some delivery changes to the 22-year-old right-hander.
 
Players are often receptive to making adjustments when they are struggling. Thompson incorporated the changes McClure suggested and found success Monday night.
 
“We just tried to simplify his delivery so he could make better quality pitches,” McClure said.
 
In his old delivery, Thompson started off facing home plate. He pulled his arms over his head, turned and lifted his front leg before delivering the ball. McClure eliminated many of the moving parts. No more lifting the arms above the head. No more body turn. Thompson started his delivery with his body already turned, like a modified stretch. He simply lifted his leg, let his body go down the slope and fired. The new delivery slowed everything down for him. He looked poised, especially after the first couple of innings, and started attacking hitters with first-pitch strikes like a confident pitcher does.
 
Considering he only worked on the new delivery in two short bullpen sessions Saturday and Sunday in New York, Thompson was a pretty quick study.
 
“It was huge,” he said of the new delivery. “Just on the physical side of things, I’m in a better position to make pitches. I took away some moving parts to make it easier on myself.”
 
Thompson allowed seven hits, walked one and struck out three. All three strikeouts came in his final inning of work. He struck out leadoff man Trea Turner with two men on base with a slider to end the inning.
 
That’s another adjustment McClure made. He had Thompson stop throwing his curveball and focus on his fastball, slider, cutter and changeup.
 
Both of the runs that Thompson allowed came in the first inning on a solo homer by Jayson Werth and an RBI single by Anthony Rondon. After that, Thompson recorded six straight shutout innings. His teammates didn’t support him offensively. Washington right-hander Tanner Roark pitched seven shutout innings. He is 3-0 and has allowed just two runs in 28 innings in four starts against the Phils this season.
 
Thompson needed a start like this for a couple of reasons. First, if he had been pounded again, Phillies officials might have had to consider taking him out of the rotation just so his confidence didn’t get ruined.
 
And second, with Aaron Nola and Zach Eflin out with injuries, the team needed to know something was going right for one of the young pitchers being groomed for the future. Vince Velasquez, another young arm, had three poor outings before pitching well in New York on Sunday.
 
“This will help his confidence a lot,” McClure said.
 
McClure then offered a little glimpse into Thompson’s competitive character.
 
“He seemed pissed that he wasn't pitching well,” McClure said. “But he wasn't deflated. We felt like we should keep starting him because he didn't seem beaten. He seems like a tough kid mentally. We felt like once he started making better quality pitches, he'd get better results.”
 
It happened Monday, a ray of light on an otherwise dark night.

Instant Replay: Nationals 4, Phillies 0

Instant Replay: Nationals 4, Phillies 0

BOX SCORE

The Phillies were beaten, 4-0, by the Washington Nationals on Monday night, but wins and losses don’t matter as much as development in a rebuilding season, so there was a bright spot: Rookie right-hander Jake Thompson finally broke through with a good start in holding the Nats to two runs over seven innings.
 
The Phillies’ offense was not good. It produced just four hits on the night.
 
Washington got all the offense it needed when Jayson Werth, the second batter of the game, homered off Thompson in the first inning.

The Nats lead the NL East at 76-55. The Phils are 60-71.
 
The crowd of 16,056 was the smallest of the season at Citizens Bank Park.
 
Starting pitching report
Thompson had struggled in four starts — 9.78 ERA — since arriving from Triple A and there were questions whether he’d even make this start. But he put together a nice outing. After giving up two runs in the first inning, he pitched six straight scoreless innings, finishing his outing with three strikeouts, the last of which came on his 111th pitch when he froze Trea Turner with a breaking ball with two men on base. Thompson allowed seven hits — four in the first three innings — and walked one.
 
Washington right-hander Tanner Roark pitched seven shutout innings to improve to 14-7. He held the Phils to four hits and a walk and struck out five.

Roark is 3-0 with a 0.64 ERA (two earned runs in 28 innings) in four starts against the Phillies this season. The Nats are 15-4 in his last 19 starts.

Bullpen report
Frank Herrmann gave up two runs in the ninth.
 
At the plate
Odubel Herrera had two of the Phillies’ four hits.
 
Werth’s homer in the top of the first was his 19th. Anthony Rendon drove in a run with a two-out single in that inning. Clint Robinson and Turner had RBI singles in the ninth to push the Nats’ lead to 4-0.
 
ICYMI
Herrera is staying in center field for the remainder of the season, Pete Mackanin said (see story).
 
Up next
The series continues on Tuesday night. Jerad Eickhoff (9-12, 3.87) pitches against Washington right-hander Max Scherzer (14-7, 2.92).

Eagles sign Soul DT Jake Metz following workout

Eagles sign Soul DT Jake Metz following workout

Jake Metz has gone from the Soul to the Eagles.

Soul majority owner Ron Jaworski on Monday night tweeted a congratulatory message about the defensive tackle signing with the Eagles.

Metz and Soul wide receiver Darius Reynolds, fresh off an ArenaBowl title last Friday, worked out for the Eagles this afternoon before practice. Metz is the 74th player on the roster, which means the team is still below the next cut line — which is Tuesday at 4 p.m. — of 75. The Eagles' roster has to be at 53 by 4 p.m. on Sept. 3.

Metz, 25, graduated from Souderton Area High School and played his college ball at Shippensburg University. For the Arena Football League champions, Metz posted Soul highs in sacks (eight) and tackles for loss (10).