NFL Player Props and Picks: Kevin Kolb and Donovan McNabb
by Alan Matthews - 8/5/2011
Can you blame Kevin Kolb for the apparent downfall of Donovan McNabb’s career?
I’m sure McNabb doesn’t, but it was because of Kolb that McNabb was dealt from the Eagles to the Redskins before last season. You may remember that early in the 2009 season, McNabb, a six-time Pro Bowler who had been the Eagles’ starter since 1999, missed Weeks 2 and 3 with an injury and Kolb saw his first real action. All the 36th overall pick in the 2007 draft did was throw back-to-back 300-yard games to become the first player in NFL history to do that in his first two NFL starts. McNabb, probably not coincidentally, was back the following week, but the die had been cast.
Clearly Andy Reid was enamored with Kolb and the Eagles didn’t want to give McNabb a fat new deal, so he was dealt to Washington following the ’09 season to open up the starting job for Kolb. In a bit of irony, Kolb was hurt in the season opener last year against the Packers and was replaced by Michael Vick. The rest is history as Vick played like an MVP and Kolb stayed on the bench, opening the door for Kolb to leave.
(Quick side note: Kolb’s second 300-yard game in 2009 also happened to be third-string Vick’s first NFL game since Dec. 31, 2006; Vick ran once for seven yards and threw two incomplete passes.)
Anyways, by now you know the Eagles are ready to invest long term in Vick, and they couldn’t really afford to keep Kolb, who made it clear he wanted to start. So Kolb was shipped to Arizona last week for cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a 2012 second-round pick. And, of course, McNabb pretty much flopped in Washington last season, fell out of favor with Coach Mike Shanahan, and was benched late in the year. He was shipped to the Minnesota Vikings last week.
So Kolb and McNabb are intertwined, and thus we pair them for this prop story. Bodog has released a few on both quarterbacks. Let’s start with Kolb’s ‘over/under’ totals: 3,500 passing yards, 17.5 TD passes and 17.5 interceptions (all options -115). McNabb’s totals are: 3,200 yards, 16.5 TD passes and 12.2 interceptions.
It’s hard to know what to make of Kolb, but the Cardinals paid him like a franchise QB by giving him a five-year contract for just under $64 million that includes $21 million guaranteed. The most recent game action we have of Kolb was him filling in for an injured Vick last October, completing 23 of 29 passes for 326 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in a victory over Atlanta.
Kolb will have the benefit of throwing to arguably the best receiver in the NFL in Larry Fitzgerald, and there is talk the Cards might also add free agent Braylon Edwards after losing Steve Breaston to the Chiefs. Remember that this franchise was pass-happy when it had Kurt Warner, so that should add up to some big numbers for Kolb. It also helps that Arizona never seems to be able to run the ball, although the Cards are high on rookie Ryan Williams.
As for McNabb, he will mentor 2011 first-round pick Christian Ponder, but there’s no question who the starter is. Last year, McNabb finished with career worsts in interceptions (15), quarterback rating (77.1) and TDs (14). He still managed to throw for 3,377 yards despite sitting a few games. Still, the Vikings will be a run-first team with Adrian Peterson, and they aren’t very strong at receiver with Sidney Rice gone and Percy Harvin one headache away from a game or two on the sideline.
I think Kolb goes ‘over’ the yards and TDs and ‘under’ the picks. I mean, he is worse than Kyle Orton? Orton went ‘over’ those yards and TDs and ‘under’ the picks last year despite sitting a few games. And only five QBs threw more than 17 interceptions in 2010, while 12 threw for at least 3,500 yards and 18 for at least 18 TD passes. As for McNabb, I find it hard to think he won’t get hurt at one point. And if the Vikings struggle, they could turn to Ponder once the playoffs are out of reach. I would go ‘under’ on all three McNabb options.
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