Irony is hard at work today touting Sunday's Eagles-Cardinals tilt as Kevin Kolb versus the world, or versus the team that dumped him anyway.
Ironic because it would've been Kevin Kolb versus the Eagles last season, except he was hurt and couldn't play. Ironic because at best this is Joe the Quarterback versus the Eagles, and at worst, it's John Skelton's backup versus the Eagles.
I have trouble making this encounter about Kolb, most of all because if the Cardinals do win the game, chances are play under center will rate as the fourth or fifth key to victory somewhere behind defense, special teams, and Larry Fitzgerald. At this point, in particular while operating behind Arizona's paper-mache offensive line, all Kolb can be is a game manager.
In their stunning upset at New England last week, Kolb was 15-of-27 for 140 yards passing and a TD -- hardly the impact performance that tipped the scales. And while his quarterback rating is a lofty 95.7 in 2012, his 5.9 yards per attempt is 30th in the NFL. Cleveland's Brandon Weeden is 29th.
Kolb hasn't been making mistakes though, throwing zero interceptions and getting sacked once since replacing the injured Skelton. He's even been clutch, leading the offense 68 yards and tossing the game-winning touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to overtake Seattle in Week 1, then running a gutsy QB draw for six against the Patriots which also proved to be the decisive score there.
And now the Cardinals are 2-0.
The true turning point in both outcomes played out elsewhere however. Arizona's defense held the Seahawks to 3.6 yards per snap and 17 field position-aided points to leave their offense with an opportunity to rally, and Kolb isn't sneaking into the Patriots' end zone if a blocked punt doesn't put him on the goal line.
I don't hold nearly the low opinion of Kolb many folks around Philadelphia seem to have. He's performed well with the tools he is provided -- an offense with no running game, one real playmaker in the passing attack, and roughly half of a second to scan the field before a defensive lineman is breathing down his neck. In a safer work environment, he could probably be successful.
On the Cardinals, he's just a guy whom the front office nearly decided to cut back in March. That doesn't mean if he gets a chance, Kolb can't make the Eagles pay on Sunday. It just means when he does, the story most likely will not be all about him.