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ESPN analyst: Arizona Cardinals offense is 'extremely handicapped'
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ESPN analyst: Arizona Cardinals offense is ‘extremely handicapped’

ESPN NFL analyst Merril Hoge says the Arizona Cardinals will have to run the football this season because of their limitations in the passing game.

Those limitations, of course, are due to the team’s issues at quarterback, which the former NFL running back says will hold the team back.

“Their offense is extremely handicapped,” Hoge told ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike Tuesday. “There’s going to be a lot of things they can’t do because of all the things they can’t do at the quarterback position.”

Can you really argue with the guy?

One of the problems, according to Hoge, is how much Kevin Kolb has regressed since heading to the Cardinals. The analyst said he was a believer in the QB when he was traded from Philadelphia to Arizona last summer, but not now.

“Even watching Kolb last year he was so undecisive, and he has not improved,” he said. “For a guy who has as much experience as him, he declined when he went to the Cardinals.”

Hoge said Kolb looked like a rookie last season, and that hasn’t changed.

“His decision-making has been poor,” he said.

All told, Hoge said it seems like Kolb is still not comfortable running the offense in Arizona.

“He plays almost with a sense of uncertainty, almost somewhat scared as he plays the game,” Hoge said. “There’s no decisiveness, there’s no certainty as to when the ball should come out and how the offense should be run.”

Unfortunately for the Cardinals, while none of this is a ringing endorsement for Kolb, Hoge said John Skelton shares some of the same issues.

Still, if it was up to Hoge, the third-year pro would get the nod.

“He doesn’t play as scared,” Hoge said. “But he does hold the football too long, he doesn’t make the greatest decisions, so I’m going with Skelton.

“But I’m not expecting a lot of great things here and I’m going to have to protect him and hide him.”