Share this story...
Latest News

Cardinals winning sans offense, but how long can that last?

We asked Cardinals fans a simple question based off an article based off an observation about the Cardinals game against the Patriots.

“How would you grade Kevin Kolb’s performance?

The question came up because the fine folks over at ProFootballFocus.com were somewhat critical of how the Cards QB played in the 20-18 win over the Patriots, saying he was skittish in the pocket and was inaccurate on many of his throws.

“A victory can often make you ignore it, but this was a deeply uninspiring performance, from a deeply uninspiring player,” they wrote.

The responses to our question, which can be found on the Arizona Sports 620 Facebook page, are as varied as they are passionate.

Between the letter grades, which ranged from as low as a D+ to as high as an A, were people saying that the team won so everyone should be happy.

If only it were that simple.

Part of watching the Cardinals morph from laughingstock to legitimate NFL team is the realization by fans that simply competing isn’t enough. Wins are great, but it’s worth wondering if the model for success is sustainable and repeatable.

The defensive formula the Cardinals are rolling with is good enough to get the team back into the postseason, and the special teams unit is one of the best at coming up big when the moment calls for a play to be made.

But the offense has been a struggle.

Through two games Arizona ranks 30th in passing yards and 28th in rushing yards, and their 20 points per game are good for 28th in the NFL.

All those stats are out of 32 teams, by the way.

Though the running game showed some improvement in New England, it’s tough to imagine things getting too much better if the team doesn’t get better QB play than it got in Foxborough.

Kevin Kolb wasn’t particularly good against the Patriots. He completed just 56 percent of his passes, averaged 5.2 yards per attempt. His touchdown pass was for all of two yards, and he missed badly on a couple of throws that could have led to touchdowns.

Be honest: when the Cardinals blocked the third quarter punt and had the ball first and goal from the New England two, you feared they would not be able to punch it in.

That’s the sign of a punchless offense, and it was tied to the play of the QB.

Kevin Kolb not losing the game for the Cardinals is not the same as Kevin Kolb helping the Cardinals win the game, and while he made some big plays, he missed on far too many

Kolb threw just five passes further than 10 yards down the field, severely limiting what Larry Fitzgerald could do as well as the offense in general.

Now it’s possible the offensive gameplan was incredibly conservative, either because that’s what the defense was giving them or because the coaches were afraid to really open things up. Then again, there’s also a chance Kolb is so concerned with making a mistake he’s hesitant to take any type of chance down the field.

The irony is that Kolb won the same way John Skelton did last season, only a little different. Whereas Skelton made more mistakes he also made more big plays. Kolb did neither Sunday.

It worked then. It could work again. But not all the time.

Sooner or later the Cardinals defense will falter a bit or special teams will fail to come up with a big play. It’s the NFL, it happens.

And when it does, the offense will need to be there to pick up the slack.

They’ll only do so if the QB — whoever it is — brings his “A” game.

Cardinals Interviews and Podcasts