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Skelton 1, Kolb 0

I got a text from the producer of the Burns and Gambo show
last night at halftime of the preseason opener. It simply
read:

Skelton 1, Kolb 0

Yep. That’s about right.

All of our fears about Kevin Kolb were realized in the
first 15 minutes of the preseason. The biggest of which
has nothing to do with performance. It has to do with the
ability to stay on a football field.

Concerns about Kolb have morphed from “is he good enough”
to “can he stay upright long enough”. Last night’s chest
injury is merely the latest example and an unfortunate
metaphor for the big picture problem facing Kolb. The pick
was bad. The injury worse.

Some will say I’m questioning Kolb’s toughness; his
willingness to play through the injuries that have plagued
him over the last calendar year. Not at all. As Mike Sando
pointed out on his ESPN
NFC West blog
, Kolb would have
been a fool for playing through a concussion late last
year and it was pointless to gut it out during a silly
preseason game. Ken Whisenhunt correctly pointed out that
it irrational to make judgments this early in the process.

But the facts remain. He’s played in a little more than
half of the games in his Cardinals tenure. And once again,
as Sando notes, this is the fourth consecutive preseason
or regular season that an injury has knocked out Kolb.

I will say this though; at the start of camp the NFL
Network’s Willie McGinest suggested that the players he
was talking to in the Cardinals locker room favored
Skelton over Kolb. While this report was dismissed as
hooey, I thought at the time that – hypothetically, if it
were true – it was in part because the players may view
Skelton was able (notice I did not write “willing”) to
absorb the punishment in ways that Kolb would seem to
struggle with.

Either way, the smile on Skelton’s face was obvious every
time the cameras cut to him Sunday night. He knows his
candidacy took a step forward with his steady play during
the TD drive. And in a moment that some may consider
revelatory and some will describe as merely interesting,
as Kolb was gingerly walking off the field, Skelton
approached him to give him a high five. Kolb left him
hanging
. The pain of yet another injury and a night
gone
horribly wrong was apparently just too much to bear.