Problems for the Cardinals? Kolb’s not even in the top three

Oct 10, 2011, 4:08 PM | Updated: 5:37 pm

Without question, the rumors about where Kevin Kolb would
land to play quarterback in 2011 were the most prevalent
during the offseason and NFL lockout. Of course, most
people knew that Kolb would end up in Arizona, and he did.

We know that the Cardinals gave up a lot to get him. We
also know that the Cardinals rewarded Kolb with a hefty
contract that guarantees him $21 million.

This decision split Cardinal fans into two different
categories; those who though Kolb was the answer, and
those who thought the price the Cardinals paid in the
trade and the contract was entirely too steep for a player
who had seven career NFL starts heading into the season.

After a 1-4 start including Sunday’s 34-10 loss at
Minnesota (and the Kolb era), and the number of fans
heaping on criticism on Kolb, blaming him for the dismal
showing and calling for his ouster is growing by the
minute.

The question is, why?

I nearly fell off my chair on Sunday following the
Cardinals’ ugly 34-10 loss to the previously winless
Minnesota Vikings, when a caller phoned into “Cardinal
Talk” with Jon Bloom and Rob Fredrickson, and suggested
that Richard Bartel is the answer for the Cardinals at QB.

Huh?

Look, I’m the first to admit that Kolb has been average at
best. He was good against Carolina, decent against
Washington and the Giants and bad against Seattle and
Minnesota.

But if you’re arguing that Kolb’s not the answer because
he doesn’t have the experience at this level, you can’t,
in the next breath, suggest that a guy who has thrown a
total of 34 garbage-time passes in the NFL is.

And don’t throw the “Bartel was awesome in the preseason”
argument at me either. So was Max Hall. The NFL
preseason is nearly meaningless—it’s a dressed-up
practice. Seattle’s Charlie Whitehurst was the league’s
top rated passer in the preseason. To quote Forrest Gump,
“that’s all I have to say about that”.

On my list of concerns with this football team heading
into the bye week, Kevin Kolb’s play ranks 5th. The
offensive line has done a less-than-stellar job in
protecting Kolb. He was sacked four times against the
Vikings, and was hit six more. There’s already been a
shuffle at right tackle with Jeremy Bridges replacing
Brandon Keith. At left tackle, Levi Brown is, well, he’s
Levi Brown.

On defense, the pass rush from outside linebackers has
been virtually non-existent. Veterans Joey Porter and
Clark Haggans have combined for one quarterback sack this
season. They’ve been able to hold off youngsters O’Brien
Schofield and Sam Acho on the depth chart despite little
production.

And the pass coverage, for the most part, has been bad as
well. It’s not that evident on the stat sheet from
Sunday, mostly because Donovan McNabb isn’t very good, and
the Vikings ran the ball on nearly 64% of their offensive
snaps. Both A.J. Jefferson (who was actually pretty good
on Sunday) and Patrick Peterson have been picked on, and
the safeties have lagged in coverage all season.

And there’s also that issue of number two wide receiver.
Andre Roberts has been a disappointment so far, and Early
Doucet has been okay. But neither is a big enough threat
to dissuade opposing defenses from bracketing Larry
Fitzgerald. Fitz has more catches through five games this
year (28) than last (26), but has been targeted 11 less
times. This is simply because he’s rarely open because of
the defense’s attention to him.

I won’t sit here and say everything’s fine with the
Arizona Cardinals and that it’s early, there’s a lot of
football left, and they play in the worst division in the
NFL. From what I’ve seen through five games, I can’t
paint that picture with any kind of conscience.

This is a below-average football team at best. But the
blame shouldn’t be pointed solely in the direction of the
quarterback.

No, this 1-4 start has been a total team effort.

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Problems for the Cardinals? Kolb’s not even in the top three