As a proud graduate of Northern Arizona University I can
assure you that these words have not once, in the history
of the world, ever been spoken:
“What happens at Lumberjack Stadium stays in Lumberjack
It wasn’t a misplaced Vegas reference. Instead, Clark
Haggans said it Wednesday night, trying to describe the
intensity of the Cardinals night practice. Physical.
Intense. Lot of trash being talked. The Cardinals have
reached that point in camp where they’ve grown tired of
each other, and frankly, I agree. We’re all ready for the
games to start. Players are ready; they want to beat on
someone else. Fans are ready; by now we all understand
we’re never going to answer the “big question” at
quarterback based on practice.
Neither Kevin Kolb nor John Skelton has yet to distinguish
themselves after one week of practice. Is it
A. Because it’s been one week, stupid (likely answer)
B. Neither guy is a distinguishable quarterback
(scary answer) or
C. The Cards defense is so good, it’s impossible to
use practice to judge them (sneaky answer that is the
focus of this blog)
The talk Thursday in Flagstaff after last night was
about the defense and just how far ahead it (any really
defense) is over the offense at this stage in camp. A
cliché to be sure, but clearly that’s where the Cardinals
are at. I don’t believe that’s the reason why the QB
competition is a stalemate but it doesn’t help when the
talent is concentrated on the other side of the ball.
I remember at one point last year suggesting the very
identity of the Cardinals was changing before our eyes.
The glory years (you know….all two of them) of putting up
huge offensive numbers with Warner and Fitz and Q and
Breaston are gone, replaced with a defense that’s like a
good dark beer: Stout. This team’s very soul may lie in
players like Campbell and Dockett. Washington and Acho.
Peterson and his healthy ego (second-best corner in the
league Patrick, really?).
Gambo and I debated on Thursday whether this new identity
was born by default (Gambo) or by design (me). In truth it
hardly matters; this is how it is. These aren’t two elite
quarterbacks fighting it out on the fields of Flagstaff.
The thunder and lightning backfield of Beanie Wells and
Ryan Williams could go boom, could go bust. Michael Floyd
won’t be Anquan Boldin on day one.
Now, I’m not trying to trivialize who wins the gig between
Kolb and Skelton. It’s still the most important position
in all of sports. Just understand, no matter who gets the
nod on September 9th against Seattle, the reality is that
the Cardinals will likely win football games just as they
did last year; thanks to their defense and special teams.
Should that assumption come to fruition, follow it with
another: Ray Horton is gone, off to find fame and fortune
as the coach of (insert team here).
Worry about that later. The hope is that a QB emerges that
is able to make enough plays to play to the defensive
strength of the team. Figuring out who that is starts in
earnest on Sunday.