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Keep expectations low for Kolb

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Kevin Kolb, formerly the heir-apparent to Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, is now the subject of many trade rumors.

Kolb to Arizona for draft choices or Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Kolb to Seattle. Kolb to almost any NFL team that needs a starting quarterback, of which there are at least six or seven searching the market.

But how good is Kolb and is he worth the hype or are there better options available for teams in need?

The Kolb situation reminds me of one about 18 years ago when a young Scott Mitchell exploded onto the scene.

Mitchell was an unknown backup for the Miami Dolphins behind the unequaled arm of Dan Marino. A fourth-round draft choice in 1991 (No.93) out of Utah. In his first two years of mostly holding a clipboard, Mitchell threw eight passes.

Suddenly, Mitchell was thrust into the limelight when Marino went down with an injury in 1993 and the youngster responded. He took over in game six and guided the Dolphins to a 3-1 record before getting injured. He returned to start the final three games of 1993, but Miami lost all three. In seven starts he went 3-4, throwing for 1,773 yards and 12 touchdowns against just eight interceptions.

The Detroit Lions liked what they saw of him, signed him as a free agent to a large contract and installed him as their starting quarterback in 1994. Mitchell had plenty of weapons in Detroit, including Barry Sanders, Herman Moore and Brett Perriman, but struggled for most of his five years in the "Motor City." He lost his starting job to Charlie Batch in 1998.

Like Mitchell, Kolb sat on the bench and watched a veteran run the offense for his first few years in the league throwing just 34 passes in his first two seasons.

Expectations began to rise in 2009 after Kolb started two games for the injured McNabb and threw for 391 yards against the soon-to-be Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints and 327 yards the next week against a weak Kansas City Chiefs defense.

At the end of the season, everyone around Philadelphia was clamoring for Kolb to replace McNabb and the team did just that, sending their veteran quarterback to division-rival Washington.

Kolb opened the 2010 season against the soon-to-be Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers as the Eagles starter and was promptly knocked out of the game with a concussion. He started just four more games last year as Michael Vick grabbed his opportunity to play and performed beautifully.

Kolb owns a 3-4 record, the same as Mitchell after his first three seasons. In his seven starts he's thrown for 1,714 yards with 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

If those numbers look familiar to you, its because they are.

With the most prevalent rumors sending Kolb to Arizona, it's important to have realistic expectations. It took Mitchell two years to have any modicum of success and it will take Kolb just as long. He should certainly perform better than John Skelton, Derek Anderson, Max Hall or Richard Bartel, the Cardinals 2010 quarterbacking corp, but he's no Kurt Warner.

At best, Kolb will be a low-end, spot starter this season and his draft position should be reflective of that level of production.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.


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