The last time Arizona Cardinals fans saw Kevin Kolb at University of Phoenix Stadium a good many felt it fit to boo his performance.
The team’s presumed starter at Fan Fest, his struggles caused an uneasy fan base to let their displeasure be known.
Imagine if he struggles Friday against the Oakland Raiders in front of a sold-out-but-likely-not-all-there crowd not as the presumed starter, but a guy seemingly heading for a job as a high-priced backup.
As chances go, this may very well be Kolb’s last. While a poor performance would not necessarily mean his days as a Cardinal are over (though stranger things have happened), it would likely be the final straw for a fan base that, for all the flack they receive, would be more than happy to see Kolb succeed.
There are no “Kolb Haters”; there are only people who want to see the Cardinals find a legitimate QB. It does not matter whether that guy is the former Eagle QB, John Skelton, Ryan Lindley or someone not yet on the roster. Just find a QB, and find him soon.
And in what could be a cruel twist of irony, the very reason the Cardinals are still struggling to find a quarterback in the post-Warner era will take the field for the Silver and Black Friday, as Matt Leinart will be in town for the first time since being unceremoniously dumped by the team that drafted him.
Had Leinart played better (or kept his mouth shut, or somehow impressed Whisenhunt) perhaps the Cardinals’ search for a QB would have ended with the former Heisman Trophy winner.
Can you imagine the reaction if Kolb struggles while Leinart flourishes?
Double ruh roh.
Chances are good the home fans would not be kind to the 27-year-old, and whatever they said to him back in June will pale in comparison to what would occur here in August.
Is it right? Not really. Kolb’s failures up to this point are not due to a lack of effort or desire. Contrary to what some fans may think, he is not content with struggling and does want to become a good NFL quarterback.
Sometimes, though, it just doesn’t work out. Could that be the case here? Yes, and it probably is.
But blame for that should lie at the feet of the people who overpaid to bring Kolb in, not the player himself. Of course their saving grace may be an improved Skelton, who could have a big game and cement his status as the starter. And maybe the defense will actually put up some resistance and allow people to stop worrying about whether or not the second half of last season was a mirage.
But the reality is that’s neither here nor there, as Kolb’s performance will be what’s scrutinized; Kolb’s performance is what this game will be remembered for.
Maybe this will all be moot. Kolb may play well Friday, regaining faith from the fan base while getting back in the QB race.
Now wouldn’t that be a sight for the sore eyes of Cardinals fans everywhere who just want to see someone — anyone — play well enough to make them believe the QB position won’t be a mess for the third year in a row.