The Arizona Cardinals squared off against the New Orleans Saints to kick of the NFL preseason in Sunday’s “Hall of Fame Game”. (Ironically named, considering the level of play in the year’s first preseason game.) Cardinals fans were hoping to see one of the two quarterbacks competing for the starting job take control of the offense. Unfortunately Kevin Kolb got hurt (again) with a bruised chest and John Skelton played very little. The offense had one good scoring drive, but that was due more from RB Alfonso Smith’s strong play than the passing attack. However, seeing Smith have a good game is reassuring since both Beanie Wells and backup Ryan Williams didn’t play due to nagging injury concerns.The scoreboard said 17-10 Saints in the end, but the Arizona starters were very much outplayed by their New Orleans counterparts.
Cardinals fans could only watch with envy as star QB Drew Brees and the New Orleans offense flossed through the Arizona defense with ease on their first and only drive. The Card’s inability to wrap up and tackle made it very clear they hadn’t played a real game for a while. These types of things can be expected early on in the preseason, but a pop warner coach wouldn’t accept the amount of missed tackles they had. Darren Sproles made AZ look silly last night, Defensive Cordinator Ray Horton needs to find the “Wrap It Up Box” from Chappelle’s Show and put one in each player’s locker. Everyone knows how prolific the New Orleans’ offense is, but if the Cardinals want to move up the NFC West their D needs to play better against strong passing attacks.
Seeing Kolb’s face on the sideline last night made me both frustrated and empathetic. Frustrated because he’s getting all this damn money and still hasn’t proved he’s worth it, empathetic because he hasn’t had the best luck either. Injuries and a still-shaky offensive line are severely stopping Kolb from showing us what he can do, but this is the NFL where excuses mean nothing and if Skelton continues to play good enough to get the ball in the endzone then the locker room will only believe in what they have seen. Even if it isn’t pretty, Skelton can stay on the field and compete while Kolb struggles with injuries we’ve never heard of before. I’m not calling Kolb a wimp, but missing games with things like a bruised chest or a rib contusion while you’re a big-money guy doesn’t help you win a battle for a starting job, especially with a coach like Wisenhunt.
The belief here in Arizona is that for the Cardinals to be playoff bound this year, the play of the quarterback and O-line are the most important because they are the most unproven. Neither really proved anything last night in limited time, but there is still hope and optimism surrounding the Cardinals. As long as we have that guy named Fitz then a bum off the street could throw for 18 TDs a year, so hopefully one of these pros can get it done.
See the Cardinals next preseason game as they play @ Kansas City vs. the Chiefs on August 10, 5 P.M. AZ time
About the Author
Written by Thomas Mitchell
Born & raised in Arizona, part of the MJ generation. Lifelong sports fanatic