After watching the Arizona Cardinals’ second preseason game — a 27-17 loss to Kansas City last Friday — one phrase stuck in my head.
The NFL is a quarterback’s league and the Cardinals’ much-talked-about quarterback competition has been an exercise in futility through two exhibition contests.
Kevin Kolb, who held an edge (if only by default) heading into camp, has completed only 2-of-9 passes for 25 yards and an interception. His quarterback rating is a big, fat zero. His competition, John Skelton, hasn’t been much better. The third-year pro from Fordham has completed 7-of-12 passes for 67 yards and an interception. His quarterback rating isn’t much better — 39.24.
For a competition that was supposed to be fierce in nature featuring two solid candidates who were supposed to push and bring out the best in each other, this sure has been a dud so far. Nothing discourages a fan base more than seeing a QB position be determined by default.
Back in May, Peter King of Sports Illustrated wrote that he thought Cardinals’ sixth round pick Ryan Lindley out of San Diego State could be the starter for Arizona sometime this season. People thought he was nuts.
Maybe Mr. King knew what he was talking about. In fact, after seeing what I’ve seen so far this preseason, I agree. So I’m calling it — Lindley will make his first start in Week 11 against the Falcons in Atlanta. The Cardinals will be coming off back-to-back games against San Francisco and Green Bay followed by a bye week. The timing could make sense to see what they’ve got in Lindley, and if he doesn’t work out over the last seven games, they can address the need at the position in the offseason again.
I’ll end by saying this: I hope I’m dead wrong.
After news broke Saturday night that Dolphins receiver Chad Johnson had been arrested on a domestic violence charge, I put the following out on Twitter:
Please, please, please let the
#Dolphins Ocho seis Chad Johnson.
— Vince Marotta (@Vincemarotta) August 12, 2012
You’d think that a diva receiver who had a completely forgettable season in New England and was seemingly forgotten about would get the hint and possibly concentrate on football.
Johnson signed with Miami for a chance at redemption and an opportunity to prove that he can still play this game. Instead, he proved that he has no clue, regardless of what his surname is these days.
The Dolphins are featured on HBO’s Hard Knocks this season, and the first episode, at least to me, demonstrated that this guy still doesn’t get it. Every second Johnson appeared on screen during the premiere — from his expletive-littered press conference with local media, to his “hijacking” of a confidential coach’s meeting because “his wife didn’t want him to come home” — wreaked of a petulant child who just wanted attention.
Is Johnson still serviceable? Probably. He’s always taken good care of himself, and has been productive for most of his career. But one of the positives about him is now erased; for as much of a distraction the guy was, he never got in trouble with the law.
The Dolphins moved swiftly and severed ties with Johnson. Some think they moved too quickly and should have waited for all the facts to come out. I applaud them. It comes down to a personnel decision, and undoubtedly head coach Joe Philbin and company can find another serviceable receiver who doesn’t have a domestic violence arrest on his record or the need for constant attention from everyone around him.
For as critical as I’ve been over the years of former ASU linebacker Vontaze Burfict, I have to admit I smiled Friday night when I saw him intercept Jets quarterback Tim Tebow during the Cincinnati Bengals’ 17-6 win over Rex Ryan’s team.
Two things stood out to me on the play. First, Burfict made a hell of a play, breaking off his coverage after reading Tebow’s eyes and laying out to make a tremendous catch (1:50 mark of the video). For a guy who had a tough childhood and a rough offseason, it was nice to see that Vontaze is applying himself in his first crack at being a professional.
My second thought was goodness gracious, what was Tebow looking at? Seriously, it’s the worst throw I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen Baba Booey throw out the first pitch at a Mets game at Citi Field.
Arizona State basketball released their 2012-13 schedule Monday. While there is some excitement around the program since we’ll finally get a chance to see prized point guard recruit Jahii Carson don the maroon and gold, there shouldn’t be any about their schedule.
The Sun Devils’ non-conference docket includes games against only two teams (Arkansas and either Wisconsin or Creighton) that had a winning record last season. In addition, ASU will play five teams that finished last in their conferences a year ago: Central Arkansas (Southland), Cal State Northridge (tied for last in Big West), DePaul (last in Big East), Dartmouth (last in Ivy League) and Texas Tech (last in Big 12).
Other opponents Florida A&M, Cornell, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Sacramento State, Hartford and Coppin State combined to go 66-117 (.361 winning percentage) last season.
And finally, seven of ASU’s opponents had RPI rankings of 300 or lower in the 2011-12 campaign. There were 344 Division I basketball teams last season.
Arizona State’s basketball program has been criticized for many years concerning the quality (or lack thereof) of non-conference opponents, but I never remember a list of teams this weak in my 30 or so years of following the program. A schedule like this could result in a lot of non-conference victories, but will do little in terms of helping Sendek’s team prepare for life in an improving Pac-12 Conference.
Congrats to the Arizona Rattlers for wrapping up their first ArenaBowl Championship since 1997 with a 72-54 dismantling of the Philadelphia Soul in New Orleans last Friday.
Let’s remember that the Rattlers trailed the Utah Blaze by nine points with 67 seconds to play in the conference championship game before rallying to win. Let’s also remember that the game was played in Phoenix at U.S. Airways Center, where yours truly is the P.A. announcer.
Now let’s just say that the crowd was whipped into such a frenzy on the Rattlers’ final defensive stand that ended in a Kevin McCullough interception that set up the game-winning touchdown pass from Nick Davila to Maurice Purify with nine seconds left.
One could certainly arrive at the conclusion that without the increased level in crowd noise, the Rattlers don’t force the turnover, don’t score the game-winning touchdown and don’t advance to the ArenaBowl.
So I guess what I’m really getting at is…Ron Shurts, Joe Windham, Kevin Guy…can I have a championship ring?