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Playing is as important as playing well for Arizona Cardinals QB Kolb

You know what was weird about seeing Kevin Kolb lying on the field last Sunday in pain, injured?

Not the fact that the QB was hurt, as that happens far too often.

But the reaction from the media and Cardinals fans alike to Kolb exiting the game was more indifferent than upset, more understanding than scared.

The team’s starting quarterback was injured in the team’s first preseason game and yet there were no tweets about how the season was over and no commentary about how a Cardinals team without Kolb under center is one that can prepare for another top-10 draft pick next April.

The truth is the only thing Kolb going down led to were groans and thoughts of “here we go again”.

That’s what happens when you have yet to win anyone’s confidence.

Kolb has been unable to stay on the field long enough to prove what kind of quarterback he is, and his track record is a mixed bag of competence, excellence and downright awful QB play.

Is the 27-year-old the QB who threw for 247 yards and one touchdown in a win over the Cowboys last year, or is he the guy who completed just half of his passes and was picked off twice in Minnesota against the Vikings?

Maybe Kolb is something in between, a decent quarterback who could be effective if there are quality pieces around him, especially along the offensive line.

As ESPN.com NFC West blogger Mike Sando points out, the protection Kolb received against the Saints was less-than-stellar.

But even though Kolb was the recipient of some tough hits — including the one by Sedrick Ellis that knocked him out of the game — the simple truth is this is a quarterback who needs to prove not that he’s tough (seriously, can you make it to the NFL and not be tough?), but that his body can withstand the punishment of playing in the NFL.

Even QBs playing behind great offensive lines get hit. Should he win the starting job, Kevin Kolb will not be playing behind a great offensive line.

Just because a QB gets hit — hard — does not mean he should get hurt. While injuries do happen, the majority of contact does not lead to players exiting the game and missing time.

As it goes, no matter how good a player might be he is of little use to a team if he can’t be on the field. Unfortunately for Kolb he’s not a Peyton Manning, as he has no history of success to fall back on.

Sure there have been moments, but they have been fleeting.

Fortunately for Kolb his poor performance in Canton, along with his injury history, will not cost him the starting job. It was his job to lose in training camp, and it’s still far too early in the process to assume John Skelton will be under center for the September 9 season opener.

But time is running out for Kolb to prove he should get the job. Sooner or later he’ll run out of opportunities. Friday’s game in Kansas City is another chance for the former Eagle to step up and claim the job he was handed one year ago.

It was thought last season that Kolb’s lack of familiarity with the Cardinals had an adverse effect on his performance, and the various injuries he suffered prevented him from showing what he could do.

The truth is we don’t really know what kind of QB he is; he hasn’t played enough games to determine if he’s destined for stardom or the clipboard.

Now familiar with the offense, it’s up to Kolb to not only play well, but play.