Scout's Notebook: QB Kelly Holcomb

The Vikings gave it as long as they could to let it play out with the in-house prospects they had, but after the dismal performance by backup Brooks Bollinger against the Seahawks, they had to pull the trigger on the much-speculated trade with the Eagles to add a more proven commodity to the mix in Kelly Holcomb. Here's a full scouting report…

Kelly Holcomb, QB
(6020, 212) Middle Tennessee State

Notes:  Born Bryan Kelly Holcomb, 7/9/73, in Fayetteville, Tenn., where he attended Lincoln County High School.  Lettered in football, basketball and baseball.  Grew up on a small farm in Fayetteville, Tenn.  His father, John, was a manager of the federal water and sewage system, and his mother, Amy, was a county clerk at the town court.  Grew up as a fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates; his favorite player was Willie Stargell.  Has been very active in various community projects throughout his NFL career wherever he’s been.  Held his third annual Kelly Holcomb Celebrity Golf Tournament to benefit his hometown in the summer of 2007.  Owns two dogs, Colton and Bandy, both of whom are Shetland shepherds.  Also owns a cat named Smokey.  He and his wife, Lorie, have 2 daughters, Kellyn (1/12/99) and Jalyn (6/20/01), and a son, Jameson (8/7/03).  He’s an avid golfer, a huge fan of country music and would like to get into sports broadcasting when his playing career is over.

College:  A four-year starter at Middle Tennessee State, he finished his career as the school's all-time leader in passing attempts (801), completions (501) and passing yards (7,064).  Earned first-team All-Ohio Valley Conference honors as a senior, passing for 2,154 yards and 15 touchdowns.  Was inducted into the Tennessee Scholastic Collegiate Hall of Fame in 1994.  Graduated with a degree in exercise science.

Pro:  Originally signed with Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a rookie free agent in 1995 and spent the majority of that season on the team's practice squad.  Was a member of the Barcelona Dragons in NFL Europe in 1996, ranking second in the league in yards (2,382), TDs (14), attempts (319), completions (191) and completion percentage (59.9).

Got his first NFL start in 1997 with the Indianapolis Colts, throwing his first career touchdown pass to Marvin Harrison; finished the season completing 45-of-73 (61.1%) passes for 454 yards with one touchdown, 8 interceptions and a quarterback rating of 44.3 in five games of action.  With the Colts but did not play, 1998-2000.

Signed with the Cleveland Browns in 2001, seeing action in one game with 7-of-12 (58.3%) passing for 114 yards, 1 TD, no interceptions and a passer rating of 118.1.  Replacing an injured Tim Couch, Holcomb started 2-of-4 games in 2002, completing 64-of-106 (60.4%) passing for 790 yards with 8 TDs and 4 interceptions, compiling a passer rating of 92.9. .  Made his first career playoff appearance, starting in the AFC Wild Card game at Pittsburgh (1/5/03) and threw for a career-high 429 yds. and 3 TDs (107.6 QB rating).  His performance produced the third-highest passing yards total in NFL postseason history.  Started 8-of-10 games and completed 193-of-302 passes (63.9%) for 1,797 yards with 10 TDs, 12 INT and a 74.6 rating in 2003.  Played in 4 games (starting 2) in 2004, completing 59-of-87 (67.8%) for 737 yards, 7 TD, 5 INT and a 96.8 passer rating.

Signed with the Buffalo Bills in 2005, where he started 8-of-10 games as he completed 155-of-230 (67.4%) for 1,509 yards with 10 TD, 8 INT with an 85.6 passer rating.  Backup to J.P. Losman in 2006 but did not see any game action.

Acquired by the Philadelphia Eagles on March, 26, 2007 along with LB Takeo Spikes in exchange for DT Darwin Walker and a conditional 2008 draft pick.  But after the Eagles drafted Houston quarterback Kevin Kolb in the second round, it became clear that he would be the odd man out in Philadelphia.

Was acquired via trade by the Vikings on August 27, 2007, in exchange for a future sixth-round draft pick in 2009.  The Seahawks were also in the bidding to acquire Holcomb, who clearly preferred the situation with the Vikings.  Comes to Minnesota with 34 career games, 21 starts, and has completed 523-of-810 (64.6%) for 5,401 yards, 37 touchdowns, 37 interceptions and a passer rating of 79.9.

Positives:  Smart, savvy, experienced, productive veteran.  Has been in a lot of situations – practice squad, NFL Europe, third-stringer, backup, starter, playoffs – and comes in understanding his backup/mentoring role behind Tarvaris Jackson.  Poised leader with lots of intangibles.  Can be almost unstoppable when he gets on a roll and has played some outstanding football for stretches during his career.  Steady, consistent, accurate passer with nice timing, touch and awareness.  Spent this offseason and training camp in the West Coast Offense and should be able to ramp up quickly with the Vikings.

Negatives:  Limited athlete with average arm strength.  Has tended be somewhat streaky throughout his career and has usually been most effective for shorter spans of time than over the long haul.  Doesn’t have the outstanding overall physical tools to carry a team effectively over the course of an entire season.

Summary:  Given the struggles of backup Brooks Bollinger in training camp and preseason this summer, the Vikings almost had to bring someone in that was a more proven commodity behind the young, developing and talented Tarvaris Jackson.  With that criteria, Holcomb in a very nice fit for the team’s current quarterback situation.

What they said:

“I think it’s important that you have the right mix of people in the room, in the quarterback room, and that everybody understands what their role is….I just want to make sure we got insurance.”  - Vikings head coach Brad Childress


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