Nearly 2 years after that Atlanta game, Kolb has weathered some twists and turns.
"My career's been wild," Kolb told a conference call with Philadelphia reporters Wednesday. "That's why I say I'm done predicting. Every time I think I'm settling in, something comes up, there's a curveball somewhere."
The Cardinals gave him a $63 million, 5-year contract at the time of the trade and made him their starter, only to switch gears and go with former Fordham quarterback John Skelton when Kolb missed time with foot/toe injuries and a concussion, and threw eight interceptions along with the nine touchdown passes he managed in nine starts last year.
Last season revealed the double-edged nature of Avant's observation: If you don't keep Kolb clean, he seems to lack great pocket presence under pressure. And, listed a tad generously at 6-3, 218, he tends to get dinged.
"He can make any throw on the field - that's basically what I was saying - and if he has time to make the decisions, he's a really smart player," Avant said Wednesday. "If you get, like a lot of guys, hit a little early, it kind of rushes his timing, and he may not see the read as well as he normally would."
This year, Skelton won the starting job in training camp. Perhaps not coincidentally, Skelton is 6-6, 244. But he played poorly before suffering an ankle injury in the season-opening victory over visiting Seattle. Kolb came on and helped turn the game around, leading the Cards to victory. Then he did it again last week at New England, a game dominated by the Arizona defense. Now, the sense is that it is Kolb's job to lose again. Some of his former teammates would like to help him lose it.
"We gotta put the pressure on him," defensive end Brandon Graham said Wednesday. "That's what we saw happen to him when he was here; put the pressure on him, he's a different guy. But if you let him sit back there, he can pick you apart a little bit. We don't want to have him just throwing it up to No. 11 [future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald]. We know he can go get it. So we've just got to make sure we put the pressure on him, get him out of the game early. Hopefully, we can cause some turnovers, too."
Packers linebacker Clay Matthews got Kolb out of a game early, the 2010 season opener that was supposed to herald the beginning of the Kolb era in Philadelphia. Matthews slammed Kolb down from behind, gave him a concussion, opened the door for Vick to win the starting job. It wasn't all that different from what happened in Arizona 2 weeks ago, between Skelton and Kolb.
Kolb said he hadn't thought about that, until someone brought it up this week in an interview. He said his experiences in Philadelphia have helped him survive the bumpy ride in the desert.
"It helped me a lot through the time when they named John the starter, in the beginning," Kolb said. "I just told myself, 'Hey, don't sulk, don't feel sorry for yourself, it could happen in a hurry.' . . . It helped my approach, in making sure that I was mentally ready for an opportunity."
Kolb bristled when asked whether he thinks he needs to show the Cards he can stay healthy.
"I don't know how you could show somebody that you can't get hurt," he said. "When you get hurt, you get hurt. I'm just playing it game by game . . . I'm not going to get caught up in trying to prove to the Cardinals I can't get hurt."
There would seem to be some scars there, a few of them arising from the preseason, when Oakland defensive end Tommy Kelly sacked Kolb for a safety, then said: "He is skittish. He is scared back there. Any time anybody gets close to him, he starts looking at the refs. As a defensive lineman, you love a quarterback like that. He ain't even trying to look at the routes no more. He is paying attention to us, and you ain't going to get nothing done like that."
Kolb vigorously denied the charge at the time, and said Wednesday: "I just wanted it to be known that that's definitely not the case. Who in this entire league plays the game scared? I thought it was somewhat ridiculous."
Another former Kolb teammate, Jason Babin, didn't want to say anything derogatory.
"He's just trying to find his groove. He's had a lot of issues with injuries . . . He's a good dude. He has a ranch in Texas. I was actually going to text him, see if he wants to make a little friendly wager - loser's got to donate a hunt to the Wounded Warrior Project. We'll see what he says," Babin said.
Babin said that any quarterback "playing against our d-line, it's not unfair to say they'd probably be a little scared."
Babin said Kolb is "not afraid to run and throw and get outside the pocket, left, right, middle."
Against Seattle, Kolb completed six of eight passes for 66 yards and the game-winning TD pass. At New England, he was 15-for-27 for 140 yards and a touchdown. Kolb has been sacked only once this season.
"Kevin managed that game very well on Sunday," said Eagles coach Andy Reid, the man who designated Kolb as Donovan McNabb's successor, then took the job away from him, 2 years ago Thursday. "I thought he did a great job with that. He mixed it up - they do a lot of different things offensively."
Kolb was asked whether he ever thinks about how things might be different had he not taken that hit from Matthews in the 2010 opener.
"No, I don't," he said. "I really haven't thought about it since I left there. It all happens for a reason; that's the way I go about life, that's the way I think about things."
Contact Les Bowen at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @LesBowen. For more Eagles coverage and opinion, read the Daily News' blog at eagletarian.com.