Cam Newton Grabbed the Headlines, But Don’t Forget About the Winning Performance Turned in by Kevin Kolb

September 13, 2011 – 7:30 am by Eric Schmoldt

I think we all knew heading into Week 1 of the NFL season that the matchup pitting the Carolina Panthers and the Arizona Cardinals was going to be an interesting one at the quarterback position. The Panthers had top draft pick Cam Newton starting for the first time, while the Cardinals were starting Kevin Kolb after picking him up in the offseason. I don’t think too many thought that the two quarterbacks would both play as well as they did.

Newton stole all kinds of headlines, throwing for more than 400 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. His 422 yards matched Matthew Stafford for the most by a rookie quarterback in NFL history.  The rookie’s performance stole the show, but it was Kolb — who threw for 300 yards and two touchdowns of his own — who picked up the victory.

Kevin Kolb joined ESPN Radio with Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo to discuss winning his first start in Arizona, how impressed he’s been with  Patrick Peterson, the challenge of learning a new system, his ability to be mobile in the pocket, the weapons he has around him outside of Larry Fitzgerald, how the Cardinals reacted to how well Newton was playing, and if he watched the Eagles at all on Sunday.

What was the mood in the locker room like after you held off the Panthers?:

“It was awesome just because we got our first win, but there was a lot of mistakes. There always is Week One, especially when you’re a team like us that has 60 percent new players. So we knew that was going to come, but it’s nice to come out with the victory even though we made those mistakes.”

How impressed have you been with Patrick Peterson, who had the critical punt return for touchdown Sunday?:

“He’s made plays all camp and had a pick returned to the house during preseason as well. He’s a dynamic player. I’m obviously pretty happy he’s in red and white. As he just grows as a corner, he’s going to be an elite corner very soon.”

How much of a challenge has it been to learn the new system?:

“It’s a big challenge, it really is. If I said anything different, I’d be lying. The thing for me is every day is more beneficial — and every game and every situation. I’m just trying to put the notches in my belt and keep learning and getting better. I think the biggest thing is just never stop striving to get better.”

How have you been able to develop as a mobile passer in the pocket and get receivers to understand that part of your game?:

“We work on it in practice. When I first came here and when I was in Philly, I tried to implement that into 7-on-7 and team periods. A lot of guys just want to stop when the play breaks down in practice and, shoot, that’s when big plays are made. … I want to say that at Houston, under Art Briles, that’s when he really taught me to understand that part of the game.”

Does everyone focus so much on Larry Fitzgerald that they don’t understand some of the other weapons you have there?:

“Absolutely. They’re going to do their best to take No. 11 out of the game because they know how important he is to our team, but we have athletes all the way around. … Even though they may not be big names yet, it’s coming and we look forward to putting up some big numbers.”

What was the reaction like of your teammates to what Cam Newton was doing?:

“I think about the third quarter, everybody looked at each other and went, ‘Man, this guy can really play.’ … He made some tight throws throughout the game to keep drives alive, third-down completions, a big, strong guy in the pocket. As long as he keeps pressing, he’s going to be a great player. And I think he will because he wants to be a star in this league.”

Did you watch the Eagles on Sunday?:

“I didn’t; I didn’t at all. I just saw that they won and it looked like Mike moved around a lot. … Like I’ve said all along, if we don’t win it, I want them to win it. And I truly mean that.”

Listen to Kevin Kolb on ESPN Radio here (Interview begins at 9:45)

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