Something happens during an off-season. It happens to everyday people and it happens to high-ranking professional sports executives. I’ll first explain how it goes down with an everyday person like myself and then I will extrapolate that out to make a point that will hopefully be relevant to more than one or two people.
Up here in the North we can’t play golf all year round. Some people try, to varying degrees of success, but at some point you aren’t playing golf you are just out there freezing your berries off. I’m not much of a fan of frozen greens, sub-30 degree temps or any of that on the golf course, and so I usually sit out for a solid 3 months. During that time, I forget how aggravating golf can be. I start to think about playing again. I want to hit some balls, but I start satisfying my golf needs by doing things other than playing. I stare at new equipment. I plan a trip that I’ll never take. But, more than that I get grand ideas about my game in general. What should I be doing to get better? What do I really need? The problem is, I haven’t touched a club in months and I am totally detached from reality.
One winter during this stretch of golf inactivity, DC and I decided that we should be playing blades. For those with no golf knowledge, blades are a style of iron. At one point, all irons were blades, but then game improvement clubs came along and blades became the domain of only the good players. In fact, even a percentage of tour players have gotten away from blades. They are still the ultimate status symbol in golf. If you carry them, and can pull them off, it says something about your game. I always considered myself a pretty good ball-striker, but I had never used blades. During this winter we concluded that it was our game improvement irons that were holding us back. Blades would tighten our swings due to their lack of forgiveness, we’d be forced to practice more, and you can’t deny how awesome they look. Take a gander at that picture…
Fast forward through several E-bay auctions and I have a set of MP-14s that I’ve played approximately 3 rounds of golf with. In fact, the irons were in the bag when I launched myself into one of the worst slumps of my golf career. I still have them, and they still look pretty good, but they did absolutely nothing to help my golf game. They were just a tease that I talked myself into because it was the off-season, I was bored, a little desperate and I had to do something. This brings me to the saga of Kevin Kolb. Weeks ago now I wrote that I would be very surprised if the Eagles traded Kolb. He was a cheap backup who the organization was very familiar with. The starting quarterback has shown a tendency to get banged up. After Kolb, the depth chart becomes slop. He serves an important purpose for the Eagles, but in addition to that, the Eagles have a way of overvaluing their players. Kolb was on the block last year and the Eagles wanted a package of high picks for him. With only a couple of games under his belt, no team was willing to bite on Kolb, but now a year later with a bit more experience it appears like the Eagles might swindle some team in coughing up a juicy first-rounder for our old friend K-squared.
And, I contend this is the MP-14s on E-bay scenario. We’re mired in the off-season, the QBs coming out in the draft all have a question mark or two attached to them. Even if you had your pick of the incoming quarterbacks that player is going to be a high-stakes gamble of some kind. But, here in Philly we have this polished up version of Kevin Kolb to show people. He’s got 4 years of NFL experience. He’s played in a respected offensive scheme. He’s shown glimpses of great play against real NFL competition. He’s liked and respected amongst his teammates. Gosh dang Larry Fitzgerald asked for him by name! Kevin Kolb, people. Set the Buy-It-Now at a top-10 pick.
Of course the gleam of the off-season Kolb obscures the fact that he has just seven starts in those four seasons. And, he’s 3-4 in those starts with wins over the 49ers, Falcons and Chiefs. He doesn’t have one top-flight skill. He’s not overly fast or mobile. He doesn’t have a great arm. Interceptions are no stranger to him. There have been plenty of times Kevin Kolb has looked terrible out there. But, the off-season is all about upside. That’s what you look at with the draft and that’s what you look at with Kolb. Is Kolb really the answer for some team out there? Personally, I doubt it. I think he could be a mid-level pro QB, but could he go to some downtrodden team and lead them to the promised land? I highly doubt that.
But, if the Eagles play this right, if they can find the right team, the GM with the proper level of off-season desperation, then it will be a real coup. My dream scenario for the Eagles fans right now is they ship Kolb off to San Francisco for the 7th pick and end up with Patrick Peterson. Of course, the Eagles will probably take an undersized D-end or a NAIA offensive lineman no matter where they pick, but for now you might as well hope for the best. That’s what the off-season is all about.