Cardinals' O-line needs to carry its weight
Kevin Kolb wasn't sharp. The defense allowed too many big plays, and Jay Feely even missed a field goal. But the main reason the Cardinals fell flat Thursday night in St. Louis was because the offensive line -- once again -- allowed their quarterback to lay flat most of the night.
The Rams sacked Kolb nine times in their 17-3 win. Four days earlier, Kolb was dropped eight times. Cardinals quarterbacks have been sacked 23 times this season in just five games. That's nearly five per game. They're on pace to allow 74. The all-time record is 104, set by the Eagles in 1986. The 1997 Cardinals allowed 78 sacks.
In 2002, I covered a young quarterback by the name of David Carr. He was the number one overall pick in that year's draft, but never quite lived up to expectations. I believe it's because he was sacked 76 times as a rookie. He was hit a whole lot more than that. He was shell-shocked.
Kolb missed some throws on Thursday night. He had Larry Fitzgerald for an easy touchdown in the first quarter, but didn't see him pop open. He made a bad throw to Rob Housler on another seam route, and he and Andre Roberts weren't on the same page on a second quarter throw to the end zone. Not to mention, a couple of other throws could have been intercepted.
So Kolb isn't Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady. That shouldn't be surprising. But the guy needs a chance to throw. He has shown a lot more poise in the pocket so far this season than we saw in the preseason. I don't know how much more longer that will last unless the offensive line, namely Bobby Massie and D'Anthony Batiste, learn how to pass protect.
It might also help if the Cardinals could actually run the ball. Credit the Rams for turning to Steven Jackson and Daryl Richardson in the third quarter when Sam Bradford was struggling.
Not that the Cardinals tried to run the ball much, but when they did, it was pathetic at best. Just 45 yards on 17 carries for an average of 2.6 per carry. Totally unacceptable. If you can't pass protect, at least be able to run block.
Just as love covers a multitude of sins, wins cover a multitude of glaring weaknesses.
Maybe Thursday's loss will serve as a wake up call that something needs to be done about the line. The Rams entered Thursday's game with six sacks on the season.
The Buffalo Bills are up next at University of Phoenix Stadium. Their much heralded defensive acquisitions are off to a slow start. Right now, they probably feel like the Cardinals could be a get well game for the likes of Mario Williams and Mark Anderson.
Kolb should be back under center in that Bills game -- even if John Skelton's ankle is good to go. But after watching what Kolb has endured the last two games, would Skelton even want to admit he's healthy?