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Arizona Cardinals

Updated Mar 17, 2012 - 12:37 am

So Kevin, about that Peyton Manning flirtation…

We’ve reached the second full week of Manning Watch 2012,
and we know at this point that Peyton Manning will not be
the next quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals.

Friday, the organization beat their 1:00 p.m. deadline to
honor a $7 million roster bonus due to incumbent
quarterback Kevin Kolb, sewing up the immediate future at
the position and effectively ending the Cardinals’ pursuit
of the future Hall of Famer.

So now, I can only help but wonder…what’s going through
the mind of Kevin Kolb right now?

Yes, the Cardinals gave up a lot to get him. Yes, they
gave him big money and yes, they made him the starting
quarterback on opening day last fall.

But, 231 days later, the potential for damage and a
strained relationship is there.

The Cardinals were not sold on their current quarterbacks
enough to avoid the lure of Manning hitting the free agent

Head coach Ken Whisenhunt released a statement Friday
surrounding the pursuit of Manning.

“We’ve said it many times: if there’s an opportunity to
make our team better we’ll explore it,” Whisenhunt said in
that statement. “We view the potential of adding a first-
ballot Hall of Fame quarterback as one of those.”

I understand Whisenhunt’s words. Hell, I whole-heartedly
agree with them. They should resound clearly with
everyone with anyone who has an interest in what the
Cardinals do; from the Bidwills to the most casual of
fans. Of course, there’s one exception to that; his name
is Kevin Kolb.

Having your employer look for your potential replacement
right in front of your face is difficult to experience.
The fact that the target of their recruitment is one of
the greatest quarterbacks to ever lace up cleats would be
of little consolation to me.

If decided to pursue Bill Simmons to
take over my job, only have their efforts squelched by
Simmons instead heading over to oversee the editorial
efforts at Bleacher Report (shiver), I wouldn’t be too
jazzed about coming to work the next day (or ever).

Need another example? Let’s put it this way. You’ve got
a girlfriend. You’ve
been going out for a year and during that time, there have
been some rough patches, but nothing out of the ordinary
a new relationship of that length.

But then, out of the blue, a sexy, smart and successful
woman you’ve known for years unexpectedly divorces her
husband and makes it perfectly clear that she wants to
headfirst into the dating pool right away.

You decide that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,
you make your intentions known, even though you’re still
with your girlfriend. After wining and dining the newly-
single hottie, she decides that she’s getting back
together with an old boyfriend in Nashville.

How do you go back to your girlfriend and make that work
moving forward? The simple answer is, you don’t. The
prevailing feeling is you’ve settled and now you’ve
reverted back to the comfort of the status quo after
looking elsewhere for

That’s the boat the Cardinals and Kolb are in. The big
difference, of course, being that the Cardinals’ courtship
of Manning was front page news for over 10 days.

I know Kolb is handsomely paid, but there’s only so much
damage money can repair when a man’s ego and pride are
involved. If Kolb is wearing Cardinal red next season,
he’ll know that after a full-court press to get him in
2011, in 2012 he became a fallback plan.

And let’s not forget the whole concussion issue. Kolb
took a knee to the back of the head early in the
Cardinals’ win over San Francisco last December. The
ensuing concussion left him in street clothes for the
remainder of the season while his understudy, John
Skelton, racked up wins.

Many people knocked the Cardinals’ offensive line and
placed it on the ‘cons’ list for Peyton Manning to
relocate to the desert. Arizona quarterbacks were sacked
54 times last season in 608 dropbacks (that doesn’t
include plays where the QB dropped back but ran out of the
pocket). Part of the
reason why that number was that high was because Kolb had
a tendency to hold the ball too long and was reticent to
run when the pocket collapsed.

We’ve seen nothing that will lead to the belief that Kolb
has improved in that area, making him a target for future
sacks and concussions.

I like Kevin Kolb, and a year ago, I fully believed he was
the quarterback of the future for the Arizona Cardinals.

But now, I have my doubts, just as his own employer
apparently did. Doubts about health. Doubts about
performance. And now, doubts about Kolb’s psyche.

The Cardinals swung for the fences, and for that, I
applaud them. But that swing didn’t connect, so this
feels like settling.

I hope I’m wrong in this instance, but settling doesn’t
usually work long-term for anyone involved.


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