I know you’ve heard the expression that actions speak louder than words. That saying is never more true than on the football field. For example, a quarterback can say he has confidence in his offensive line a million times, but line him up behind them and you learn how that quarterback really feels about that line.
On Friday, Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb didn’t have confidence in the middle of his offensive line. He started rolling to his right after spending a second and a half in the pocket. Nearly immediately upon catching the snap, Kolb started rolling to his right, to buy time for his receivers.
The four-year quarterback was hit every time he threw ball on the first series. It wasn’t that he held the ball for a long time, but the middle of the line which consisted of left guard Max Jean-Gilles, center Mike McGlynn and right guard Stacy Andrews were giving up pressure every time the ball was snapped. On each play, one of the Bengals defensive linemen were quickly beating their man and rushing Kolb at full speed.
Those hits made such an impression on him, so that he instinctively started remedying the situation with his legs. During the first half of the game against the Bengals, Kolb hit DeSean Jackson a few times after buying time by rolling out to his right.
By nature, Kolb isn’t as quick to leave the pocket as Michael Vick. He’s really a classic pocket passer. The former Houston Cougar will stay in the pocket if he feels secure, that’s why you could tell he had lost his confidence in the middle of that line early in the game. If he feels that way about the middle of that line, it will have an effect on his play in the pocket.
With two games down and only one game to really play for the first string offense before the opener against the Green Bay Packers, Andy Reid and his football team don’t have much time to eliminate current problems. Their first priority should be solving this weakness in the middle of that line because it’s going to affect their young quarterback if they don’t.
Lack of consistency and effectiveness on the offensive line has already force Kolb to alter his style of play and it will affect the play of the receivers in a short time, if they don’t correct it. It’s very important that players have the confidence in their teammates to do the job.
You can’t run the ball or throw the ball with penetration in the middle of the line. Unblocked three-hundred plus pound defensive linemen in the backfield is something that can’t be tolerated.
I think the addition of Todd Herremans will be a big boost to the effectiveness of the line, but I don’t know if that will solve the problem completely. If the middle of the offensive line continues to have trouble, that may force Reid to keep fullback Leonard Weaver and tight end Brent Celek in at times to help.
That move would give Kolb less receivers to throw to and take away his safety-valves when he’s feeling pressure. Reid is normally slow to keep extra players in to block. He’s relied on Donovan McNabb’s ability to escape the pressure and buy time, but will he put that pressure on Kolb. We’ll just wait and see how they take care of this problem.
Will Jamaal Jackson come back before game one? Will the Eagles sign a veteran center or guard? Will they start McGlynn or Nick Cole if Jackson isn’t ready to go early in the season?
Will they stay with Stacy Andrews at right guard, if his play doesn’t improve? The decisions that Reid makes on that offensive line will have a major effect on the rest of the season. Stay tuned.