If the Arizona Cardinals learned one thing from their preseason game Thursday in Tennessee it’s that their QB competition is far from finished.
If the Arizona Cardinals learned a second thing from their preseason game Thursday in Tennessee it’s that while Kevin Kolb may have had his best effort of 2012 (which in itself isn’t saying much), it’s that the former Eagle is a poor fit for the offense Ken Whisenhunt wants to run.
Kevin Kolb completed 17-of-22 passes for 156 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions against the Titans. His best throw was a 53-yard bomb to Larry Fitzgerald, and his worst is a tie between two horrid interceptions.
For the sake of this argument we’ll take all three passes out of the equation.
In that case, Kevin Kolb completed 14-of-19 passes for 103 yards and one touchdown. A completion percentage of 74-percent while averaging 5.4 yards per pass attempt.
Not bad, if you’re Matt Leinart.
All of Kolb’s strengths — and all of Kolb’s weaknesses — were on display Thursday night at LP Field. The quarterback is accurate coming off short drops when throwing to his first read and mobile enough to move out of the pocket and buy time.
Unfortunately, he gets antsy in the pocket (who could blame him behind this O-line), doesn’t go through his progressions and isn’t built to take a beating.
In short, Kolb is perfectly suited for the West Coast Offense he used to run in Philadelphia, which is something he’s even admitted is still tough to get out of his system.
“It’s just the way they create the pocket, there versus here,” Kolb told ESPN NFC West blogger Mike Sando. “They teach us to really push up in the pocket in Philly. Two, three hitches up in the pocket when you get up there. You can see that. If you watch Mike [Vick], he has got two really big hitches into his throws. If it’s not there, it’s go or throw, you know what I mean?
“Here, when you get to that 8-yard range [on a drop-back], they want you to hang in that vicinity and just stay there. It is just a different deal. A lot of it is rhythm. As a quarterback, you always want to be on rhythm.”
The problem is that’s just not how things work in Arizona, and it’s tough to imagine Whisenhunt completely revamping an offense that was good enough to reach the Super Bowl.
Kurt Warner made the offense hum because he could read a defense, find the open man, and stay in the pocket long enough to make an accurate throw. That’s simply not Kolb’s game, and that should have been known long before the team gave up Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, a second-round pick and a big contract for the guy.
But not everyone was sold on Kolb — for various reasons — and it appears Andy Reid has once again pulled a fast one on another team.
Well played, Mr. Reid.
It’s tough to completely blame the Cardinals for this mistake. The Cardinals needed a QB in the worst way last season, and yes, many out there felt Kolb was the best available option.
But at this point it’s safe to say the guy is a square peg trying to fit into the round hole that is the Cardinals’ offense, and barring a miracle will not suddenly learn how to be the QB this team wants. So whether this was a scouting miss, a coaching failure or a player issue, the fact remains that this just isn’t going to work.
This is not to say Kolb cannot be an effective QB. After all, he has moved the ball at times and does have talent.
So the Cardinals will likely start Kolb in the season opener against the Seahawks, with the idea that the team needs to see what it has in Kolb before deciding to part ways with him. That’s not entirely accurate.
Though Kolb has played in fewer than a season’s worth of games for the Cardinals, there’s no sense in denying what he is:
The wrong QB at the wrong time for the wrong team.