It must be noted looks can be deceiving when it comes to analyzing the NFL pre-season, but it’s tough to find much of a silver lining about Kevin Kolb’s performance in the Cardinals 17-10 loss to the Saints Sunday night in Canton.
*Here are some concerns people have about Kolb as the Cards starting quarterback:
-makes poor decisions (check)
-doesn’t have great arm strength (check)
-happy feet in the pocket (check)
*Kolb didn’t always get a lot of help from his o-line, but under the microscope of a national audience, his coaching staff, and fans everywhere his first throw of 2012 couldn’t have been worse. A wobbling pass in front of the Arizona sideline which was easily intercepted by Malcolm Jenkins.
*In his second series he misfired on his next two throws before leaving the game with a rib contusion after being hit in the end zone after completing his only pass of the night. He didn’t show the confidence many, most notably the Cardinal brass, hoped we’d see from the guy the organization is hoping takes a stranglehold on the position.
*Kolb’s competition John Skelton didn’t start much better badly overthrowing fullback Anthony Sherman on a simple out route, but recovered nicely leading the Cards on a 14-play, 90-yard scoring drive in the second quarter. He finished 4-6 for 32 yards.
*The play of inside linebacker Stewart Bradley who came in for the injured Paris Lenon early and registered a third-down sack to kill a drive. He also deflected a pass at the goal line to save a touchdown.
*Second-year tight end Rob Housler caught three passes for 51 yards, including a 32-yarder. The coaching staff is hopeful his speed will open up the middle of the field. He also had a beautiful kick out block after coming across in motion on Alfonzo Smith’s four-yard touchdown run.
*The Cards tackling, especially by the first-team defense, was at times awful. I understand players may still be adjusting to the speed of ‘live’ game action, but it’s not exactly what you want to see from some of your playmakers.
*The Red Birds second-string offensive line was brutal missing pass protection assignments and giving back-up quarterback Rich Bartel (who’s in a battle of his own with rookie Ryan Lindley who looked good at times until a late-game interception at the Saints goal line) little to go through his downfield progressions. They weren’t much better in the run game.
*Too many dropped passes. I know it’s the first pre-season game, but many were good throws that need to be caught.
*The replacement refs. About the only one’s who looked shakier than Kolb.