National Football League
Kevin Kolb is the next WHO?
National Football League

Kevin Kolb is the next WHO?

Published Jun. 16, 2011 1:00 a.m. ET

I have an idea. Let’s rank the top wedge busters of all time.

Come on. What is this, amateur hour?

The players are locked out, but we aren’t. News happens every day. SIZZLE happens every day!

The Cardinals are trading for Tom Brady. Cedric Benson is a ray of sunshine in the sea of darkness that is the Cincinnati Bengals.


Wait, what?

It’s time for our weekly sizzle and fizzle in the NFL.


Kevin Kolb

OK. Let’s stop pretending. Kevin Kolb is going to the Arizona Cardinals. Congratulations to the Cards on getting their quarterback of the present and future. It will be (it is) a brilliant trade for the Cards. Move up Larry Fitzgerald on your fantasy board. Don’t be afraid. Go buy a Kolb Cardinals jersey. I can’t wait to hear Dave Pasch call “Kolb to Fitzgerald” touchdowns on the Cardinals' radio network. The Cards are now the favorites in the NFC West.

And if you don’t believe me, ask Kolb’s “former” Eagles teammate Trent Cole.

The Eagles Pro Bowl defensive end joined us on the SiriusXM Blitz on Wednesday and compared Kolb to — wait for it — none other than Tom Brady.

Cole revealed, “Kolb can play. He is very, very accurate. I compare him to Tom Brady. I really do. They can both throw it downfield. But they both know how to use the entire field. They can take five yards and work with that, make it 10 or 15 with yards after the catch. Kolb can make every throw. He knows where his players are. He, like Brady, is a great leader.”

Comparing Kolb to Brady is an attention grabber for sure. And nobody is Brady. Let’s state that for the record. And for the sake of honesty, Kolb had an up-and-down introduction to the NFL as the opening-day starter last year (he did not even finish Game 1). But eliminate the words Tom Brady from Cole’s commentary. Everything he said about Kolb is exactly how Andy Reid and the Eagles feel about him. This is why one of the best organizations in sports traded Donovan McNabb within the division. Reid and the Eagles didn’t do that haphazardly. They did it because they loved Kolb. Reid told me last summer that he fell in love with him watching him play early in his career at the University of Houston. He told then-general manager Tom Heckert to keep his eye on him. The plan was for Kolb to be the starter in Philadelphia for the next 10 years. But then Michael Vick became focused and better than ever.

Kolb was trained by Reid, so that makes him ready to roll. He’s not Brady, but he’s the perfect fit in Ken Whisenhunt’s offense. And with Fitzgerald on his side and another great draft in the desert, Kolb will make a pro bowl in the near future and the playoffs this year. Write that down.

Arian Foster

One year ago, the Houston Texans were prepping rookie second-round pick Ben Tate to be their franchise running back. That officially feels like a lifetime ago.

Tate went down in August with a season-ending injury and Foster is now entrenched as the star back for Houston.

In talking on the Blitz on Tuesday, he tells us the lockout is killing him. Sure, he is working out in Houston with his Texans teammates, but Foster says there is nothing like a structured workout with the Houston staff.

Foster was an undrafted free agent and has catapulted himself to stardom with a legendary work ethic. It’s the ultimate Horatio Alger story. Foster says he wants to prove that last year, when he led the NFL in rushing with a powerful 1,616 yards, wasn’t a fluke. But most especially, all he wants to do is win.

Foster told us, “No man on Earth can outwork me. My goal is to never have an ‘MA’ (missed assignment) when I am at practice. I feel like I haven’t reached my peak as an athlete yet. I don’t want to duplicate last year. I want it to be better. And it will be. I want to be in the playoffs and get a ring. It isn’t about fantasy football or stats. I think I’m one of the best pass blockers in the league. I take pride in that. It’s not about my numbers. It’s about our mentality of finishing in Houston.”

Foster’s passion and commitment poured through the phone. He talked about stepping up as one of the true leaders of the Texans. I could not have been more impressed with Foster during our conversation. If the rest of the Texans play with his pride, they will finally get over the hump and make the postseason.

Cedric Benson

You usually don’t put “leadership” and “Cedric Benson” in the same sentence. The thought two years ago, frankly, would’ve been laughable. He was a punchline in Chicago for his poor work habits and off-field issues. But Benson became reborn in Cincinnati in 2009. Last season, Cincy stunningly went away from the run and the Bengals morphed from division champs into last-place chumps. Benson is scheduled to be a free agent whenever the lockout ends, and speculation after the season immediately was that Benson would fly the coup.

So it was an incredible development to see Benson at the Bengals’ team workouts over the last few weeks.

Andrew Whitworth, who we praised in this space for leadership last week, joined us on the Blitz and gushed about Benson. Whitworth said, “I love the commitment. He is a special guy. He works his butt off. Ced’s a great leader. I don’t know what happened in Chicago but he’s here working all the time. He’s devoted. He has a strict diet. He’s amazing.”

Yes, Whitworth was talking about Cedric Benson.

Whitworth really believes that Benson will come back. The tackle points to Week 1 against New England, when the run game stalled early, Benson lost a fumble and the coaching staff abandoned the running game. That won’t happen under offensive coordinator Jay Gruden.

Ladies and gentlemen, the new Ced Benson!!

I think he will re-up in Cincinnati and the Bengals' running game will be revived.

Jay Cutler

Say what you want about Cutler, but his Chicago teammates swear by him. Safety Chris Harris rushed to his defense on our radio show the day after the NFC Championship in January (when Cutler’s toughness was called into question). And take a look at this telling quote from Harris, regarded as an honest and respected veteran in the Bears locker room, when the safety again joined us on the Blitz.

Harris said, “Jay is a heck of a competitor and we know him, we are there with him on the inside, we see him at practice. Jay is the first person in the building during the week, the first person there and he is normally the last person to leave. I pull in the facilities about 6:30 a.m. and his truck is already there, so he is definitely a guy who takes care of his business on and off the field. He is one of the toughest quarterbacks I have ever been around. For him to get hit the way he got hit last year, I think he had 60 sacks or something like that and to still get up and only miss one game last season, I think it speaks a lot about his toughness and the type of player that he is.”

When someone like Chris Harris says that, you must pay attention. I do.

Keith Bulluck

The intelligent and always energetic veteran linebacker joined us on the Blitz on Monday. Bulluck is fully healthy. After being a rock his entire stellar career in Tennessee, including seven straight seasons without missing a game, Bulluck tore his ACL late in the 2009 season. He left the Titans last summer to sign with his hometown New York Giants. But a nagging toe injury limited Bulluck to only eight games.

Bulluck told us this is the healthiest he has been since 2009. He spent last offseason rehabbing before training for a week. This offseason he’s been training since March 1. This is a major difference.

And while the lockout hurts the young kid trying to make it, Bulluck’s savvy and incredible leadership makes him desirable when we have a new CBA. Bulluck said, “I’ve forgotten more football than these rookies know.” And it is true.

Bulluck listed three teams he would like to play for: the Giants, Lions (head coach Jim Schwartz is his old defensive coordinator), and Patriots. Bulluck loves Bill Belichick’s “no B.S.” style and wants a ring more than anything at this stage of his career. I think Bulluck and the Patriots would be a perfect match.


Carson Palmer

I don’t think the Bengals quarterback is getting ripped enough for his Houdini Act. Let’s just call it like it is: Carson Palmer has quit on the Cincinnati Bengals.

I understand that he’s frustrated with losing and the Bengals' frugal and wacky ways. I get it. He’s angry that Mike Brown and Marvin Lewis have turned a blind eye to troublemakers and selfish players who are counterproductive to winning. But Palmer needed to change the culture, figuratively grab Brown and Lewis by the throat years ago and demand changes. That’s what Peyton Manning would’ve done.

So now while the Bengals work out Palmer talks retirement and stays away. When we asked Andrew Whitworth if he thought Palmer was finished in Cincy, Whitworth told us, “I do. I don’t believe he is the type of guy to joke around. He’s really quiet. He doesn’t speak much. I respect the decision of him and his family. And he needs to respect that we have to move on. We are encouraging everyone to step up.”

Last season, Palmer was a shell of his former self, throwing grotesque picks in big spots, single-handedly losing the Tampa game for the Bengals. I always thought Palmer was underrated in his prime. I called him the “human jugs machine” for his accuracy. But he has embarrassed himself on and off the field in his final days in Cincinnati.

Chad Ochocinco

So let me get this straight. This sideshow clown would rather catch passes from Terrelle Pryor than Andy Dalton, even though he is under contract with the Bengals? What an absolute disgrace. What an absolute fraud. Whitworth told us that he invited Chad to the Bengals workouts and they emailed back and forth. The tackle wasn’t surprised when Ochocinco didn’t show because he never works with the team in Cincinnati. And that right there says it all about Ochocinco’s priorities. He’d rather ride a bull than catch a pass. Clown.

Drew Rosenhaus

Terrelle Pryor is going in the first round of the supplemental draft? You can’t say that, Drew! You are better than that! Pryor wouldn’t have been a first-round pick this year or next year. His nonsense just greased the wheels for Jim Tressel getting fired at Ohio State. Pryor has major character concerns. He will go between rounds 3 and 5 in a best-case scenario.

Kenny Britt

It’s been the sad headline of the offseason; Kenny Britt arrested, again.

I don’t know what happened to this kid. Britt was such a focused player at Rutgers. Now he can’t stay out of trouble, big or small, in Tennessee or when he goes home to New Jersey. It’s such a shame. He has so much talent. And now you can bet on a suspension coming for Britt when the lockout ends.

Undrafted free agents

No class of player will suffer more than that of players who weren’t drafted. It breaks my heart. As Foster, the poster child for the undrafted free agent, told us on Tuesday, “It’s a travesty for them. It is tough enough as is being an undrafted free agent in a normal year. But now, you are going to have to be perfect. You are going to have to go make zero mistakes. If a first-rounder makes mistakes, teams look the other way.”

Foster is right. But every year there is a “Rudy” story in the NFL, with an undrafted free agent turning heads from the first minicamp through the last preseason game. Now, you won’t get the chance to dazzle like Foster did, going from afterthought to 1,600-yard back and a top pick in fantasy football.

And these players will get a limited time to prove they can contribute immediately on special teams. Packers coach Mike McCarthy told us that he loves developing young players, but it is going to be tough to take flyers this year because of the limited time to see these cats. It’s a damn shame.


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