Finding their Manning? Two years later, Cardinals still need a QB
"Kurt Warner retired two years ago today (January 29, 2010); and the Cardinals enter their third straight off- season still looking for his replacement," wrote Craig Grialou, a reporter here at Arizona Sports.
Thanks for the reminder, Gri.
With Peyton Manning rumors flying around like errant Derek Anderson passes, the Cardinals are certainly not settled at the most important position in sports. Even if Manning does not come to the Valley, there's a chance John Skelton will unseat Kevin Kolb in training camp, thus becoming the team's third Week 1 starter in three seasons.
That's what could happen. Of course, it may not, and Kolb may enter the season with a firm grasp on the starting QB job, ready to lead the Cardinals back to the playoffs.
But does anyone, right now, really believe he can? Does anyone, right now, really believe he will? According to a story by FoxSportsArizona.com's Craig Morgan, there's a chance Kolb's health may ultimately prevent him from being the QB Arizona needs.
Which, in turn, would bring the franchise back to the same place it was that Friday afternoon, when Warner announced he was ending an illustrious 12-year career.
Back then, though, the future at QB seemed clear. Matt Leinart, the prized first-round pick who had lost the starting job before the 2008 season, would take all he'd learned the last couple seasons and become the team's QB of the present and future.
Yeah, not quite. As we all know Leinart was unimpressive in training camp before being released, and the aforementioned Anderson got the job. While he took the game seriously, he wasn't any good. Neither was undrafted rookie Max Hall (imagine that), and while fellow rookie John Skelton showed promise, he was anything but a sure thing. So, the team went out and got Kolb.
Unfortunately the new QB - while better than the players he replaced - wasn't particularly impressive, as him signing a big contract was about the only thing he did last season that would make someone think "starting QB."
So, two years later the Cardinals are in the same place as they were when No. 13 called it quits, with a big-money- yet-unproven QB the presumed starter but really no certainty at the position.
And that's why the Cardinals are being linked to Manning, should the future Hall of Famer be released by the Colts, especially since the team would appear to have much to offer the 35-year-old.
Sure, parting with Kolb so soon after acquiring him would not be great for the wallets, and there are some who think the Cardinals may be reluctant to dump the QB after investing so much in him and getting so little in return.
But would the team really pass on a player who can actually pass just that just so they could see if the guy they traded for might be the answer? Would they let the next Kurt Warner go somewhere else just because they paid Kevin Kolb a lot of money last summer?
Truth is, though, this would have nothing to do with Kolb. Sure, he wasn't great last season, and absolutely, his injury history is a concern going forward. But the team doesn't want to cut him, the team doesn't want to save money and not pay him that big roster bonus.
Any decision to go in a different direction would be based solely on the opportunity to get one of the best QBs the NFL has ever seen, and one who would undoubtedly would be looking to prove to the world that he's still got "it." Does that sound familiar?
Two years ago the Cards said goodbye to a player who brought similar goals to the team, and the team to the Super Bowl. Will Peyton Manning be the answer? Maybe, maybe not. The fact that the question is still being asked, though, is an issue.
Two years ago the Cardinals found themselves looking for a QB they could rely on.
Two years ago the Cardinals were where they are now.