(AP) — Lost in all the hoopla of Cam Newton's NFL debut at Arizona was the performance of the other quarterback on that field.
Kevin Kolb's debut for the Cardinals was somewhere between solid and superb, and he expects better things to come as he heads for familiar ground this weekend against the Washington Redskins.
In Arizona's 28-21 victory over Newton's Carolina Panthers last Sunday, Kolb completed 18 of 27 passes (67 percent) for 309 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. His quarterback rating of 130.0 was third among last week's season-opening performances, behind only Ryan Fitzpatrick of Buffalo (133.0) and Aaron Rodgers of Green Bay (132.1).
Kolb has thrown for over 300 yards in half of his eight NFL starts, the first seven with the Philadelphia Eagles. Next up for Kolb and the Cardinals is a trip to Washington to face the Redskins, a team he should know well from his time in the NFC East.
Kolb played a significant amount against the Redskins last season when Eagles starter Michael Vick was injured early in the fourth game. He completed 22 of 35 for 201 yards and a touchdown with one interception in that game.
So he said he is "a little bit" familiar with Washington's personnel.
"Their front seven is legit. They are as good as anybody, and you throw in the different schemes that (defensive coordinator Jim) Haslett likes to have," Kolb said after Wednesday's practice. "He's an aggressive guy. He does some pretty unique things. It's something different than anyone else does, so you have to make sure that you know what your conversions and route schemes are toward those things."
Kolb twice took advantage of Carolina's blitzes for long touchdown pass plays of 48 yards to tight end Jeff King and 70 yards to wide receiver Early Doucet. With the Panthers' defense smothering Larry Fitzgerald, Kolb completed passes to eight receivers.
"I think it's just our offense. We all know Larry draws a pretty big distraction out there," he said. "It's important for me to make sure I can get it into the right guy's hands, and we have a lot of guys who can do something with it after the catch just like we showed here just last Sunday."
Coach Ken Whisenhunt said he was pleased with Kolb's debut but did have some criticism.
"There are some things we have to clean up. There are some things he missed," Whisenhunt said. "There were some checks he missed, there was a slight adjustment he missed, but he compensated a couple of times being able to move and get out of the pocket."
Then again, the coach thought his new quarterback took off too soon at times.
"There were a couple of times he should have stayed in the pocket and made the throw," Whisenhunt said. "Once again, that's getting a feel for his teammates and those live situations."
Kolb said that the more he reviews tape of that first game, the more he realizes how much talent he has around him.
"When we needed a play, we made it," he said. "It wasn't like we had to dial up a play. That's kind of an important thing on offense, that you don't have to dial up a special gadget play in order to make one.
"We can make plays when it's just a routine deal. We have athletes across the board and that's encouraging. If we can continue to do that and just fix the easy things, then we can take it to the next level."