I’d be interested to see a picture of Ken Wisenhunt’s hair before this preseason and after, because I’m sure its gotten a little more grey in some areas. Having to chose the starter for the team’s most important position has got to be stressful, especially when the two competing for it have made it such a headache. Kevin Kolb, in my eyes, worked his way back to being neck & neck with John Skelton tonight as the Cardinals lost a game that went down to the wire in Tennessee, 32-27.
John Skelton got the start tonight fresh off reports last week that he was the favored starter for the season and that at least one other NFL player thinks Kolb is “scared”. Skelton didn’t play like a starter tonight though, he went 4-11 for 41 yards and a pick. The offense was able to get a field goal under him, but the defense was on the field a lot more than the offense when Skelton played, and that isn’t a good sign. The offensive line was struggling from the beginning and routinely got beat. Skelton continues to be inconsistent & choppy, and at this point its starting to look like his only advantage over Kolb is his durability.
The defense did play very well despite the 5 turnovers from the offense and is quieting concerns from poor tackling in the first 2 games. The running defense was on point all night, as Chris Johnson failed to break off one rush of 10 yards or more. Although Jake Locker was able to break the defense down a few times tonight, as a whole they should pleased. I couldn’t help but notice Titans rookie WR Kendall Wright school Patrick Peterson a couple times, one for a touchdown early in the first quarter. I wouldn’t bring this up with anyone else, especially a good player like Peterson, but this is a guy who said after Darrelle Revis he is the best corner in the league, which is looking like a pretty brash statement right now. We still love the confidence though, because he definitely has the ability.
While Skelton’s performance was a like a deep plunge, Kolb’s was more of a roller coaster ride. Kolb came onto the field midway through the 2nd quarter with the first team offense to show what he could do. After completing a couple passes he threw an interception to Colin McCarthy. When Tennessee failed to capitalize, Kolb came out and led the team on an impressive 85 yard touchdown drive to end the the half, including a 55 yard bomb to Larry Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald finished with 5 catches for 91 yards, most of that with Kolb.
Kolb’s stats (17/22, 156 yds, 1 TD & 2 INTS) were just decent, and those two picks he had were pretty bad on his part, but I think he stepped up and showed something tonight that his doubters were waiting to see. He took multiple hits, which is going to happen if you’re calling snaps behind Arizona’s line, and stepped up in pressure and made some throws. He also showed proficiency in quick 10-20 yard passes that Arizona should utilize more often due to their weak protection. Kolb showed tonight that when he’s on his game he has an effective rapport with Larry Fitzgerald and can put together strong drives. How consistent he can do that remains to be seen, but a lot of that has to do with the protection from the line, which is consistently terrible.
The conclusion I got tonight was that Kolb should be the starter at the beginning of the season, because his best is better than Skelton’s best. However, his durability issues and very weak offensive line will likely either cause him to miss too may games or harass him into inconsistent performances, helping Skelton’s case. The fact of the matter is the offensive line needs to really step up because they looked awfully junior-varsity tonight, which simply won’t suffice. Arizona also needs to think hard about signing RB William Powell. Powell has been killing it this preseason and continued tonight taking 3 or 4 tackles attempts before going down, amassing 71 yards and 1 TD on only 7 carries.
Hopefully one quarterback can finally separate himself from the other in the final preseason game (Next Thursday in Phoenix) because this battle of mediocrity has to finish soon so the offense can start mixing it up more. Whoever wins it better have some Icyhot on hand too, he’s gonna be all types of sore this season.
About the Author
Written by Thomas Mitchell
Born & raised in Arizona, part of the MJ generation. Lifelong sports fanatic