For Kevin Kolb, the 2011 season will be one to pretty much throw away.
Traded to Arizona shortly before the games began, the QB had little time to learn the playbook before being asked to lead the team, and when the games started he battled ineffectiveness along with injuries. He played in just nine games - finishing eight - and could only watch as backup John Skelton made a play for his starting job.
So, it should come as no surprise that the 27-year-old views 2012 as somewhat of a defining year in his career.
"I don't know that I want to put that kind of pressure on myself, but that's kind of how it feels," he said Monday. "That's my mentality."
Kolb said he's looking forward to next season, adding that he thinks big things are in store for the Cardinals.
He may be right, but any real success the team has next season will hinge largely on getting improved play from the quarterback, be it Kolb or Skelton. The two combined to throw 20 touchdowns and 22 interceptions this season, and took 53 sacks. That, simply, will not get it done, though the offseason should do wonders for both signal callers.
"I think first of all, you become totally comfortable in the system, you become comfortable with your players," Kolb said of what can be gained over the next few months. Kolb's competition for the job, Skelton, also stands to gain from the time.
Rather than learning his teammates, though, the former Fordham product needs to work on his accuracy, among other things.
"Probably just better decision-making," he said of what can improve. "There's a lot of balls that shouldn't' be thrown; forced balls, obviously turnovers are killing us.
"You learn from your mistakes, you move forward and you try to correct them for next season."
We all knew the Cardinals would learn something about their quarterback position this season, though the hope was it would have something to do with who the guy would be going forward. That didn't happen, though, and the team will now have an entire offseason to determine who the best man for the job is.
Will it be the veteran, Kolb, or the upstart Skelton?
"Life's a competition and this league's about competition," Kolb said of possibly having to battle for the job. "If you're scared of that you're in the wrong league.
"John did a great job this year and he should come in with that same mentality, just like I will."