Much to the delight of the sports fan nation, the NFL returned to action on Thursday night with 5 games to wet the whistle of the faithful. While there were many stories to be had from the first round of games, two that stand out the most are the respective performances by Denver's quarterback Tim Tebow and Arizona's new gunslinger, Kevin Kolb.
Tebow, who is battling both Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn for rotational spots, has had a veritable avalanche of negativity thrown his way in this short NFL preseason. Up to this point he has had a horrible camp, enough so that Denver has all but anointed Orton the starter despite heavily shopping him just a week prior.
To Tebow's credit, however, he has always been known as a far better game day QB than a practice one and that trait manifested itself in his limited action Thursday night. With the second team, Tebow went a solid 6/7 for 91 yards. He did have one interception negated by a penalty and displayed 'happy feet' at times, but this showing was far more promising than anything shown so far this year.
"Now it's about playing real football and not the touch football we've been playing,” Tebow said. “Practice and meetings count, but there's extra credit when you get into game situations because that's how you're judged — either you can score touchdowns or you can't; either you make good decisions for your team or you don't.''
If Tebow is to have any chance to wrest the starting job from Orton, he needs to capitalize on this performance and show even more during the remaining three preseason games.
Over in Arizona Kevin Kolb,former Philadelphia backup and once proclaimed starter of the future before being shipped off to the Cardinals, got his first action with his new team. Kolb, who has only been with Arizona a short, short time, looked solid in limited play and though he didn't lead any scoring drives, he did give fans something to hope for as he and star receiver Larry Fitzgerald showed the beginning of a connection that could be dominant this season.
Kolb completed 4 of 6 passes for 68 yard but hooked up with Fitzgerald in two of those four completions. The highlight of his night was a 43 yard bomb that a well covered Fitzgerald leaped up and snagged with ease. It was a jaw dropping catch that has both Cardinals fans and Kolb himself drooling.
"That's his specialty, right?" Kolb said. "The guy had him beat, I gave him a shot at it anyway, and he squeezed it and made a great play. That's why I am glad he is in red and white."
Fitzgerald is in the final year of his contract and wants to see Arizona move in the right direction before committing to them long term. If Kolb can be the QB that the Cardinals think he can be, then they might be able to land 2 birds with one stone as Fitz is sure to sign.
Photo credit – AP