During NFL training camps, we'll be taking some looks at the local reporting to see what stories the hometown papers and fan blogs are saying about their teams. Today, the Arizona Cardinals and their undecided quarterback battle.
The Arizona Cardinals were briefly in the Peyton Manning chase back in March, but once that fell apart, the team retained the services of Kevin Kolb and paid him his $7 million dollar roster bonus. Kolb had come to Arizona in a trade prior to the 2011 season to be the man. But an injury riddled season and the steady play of John Skelton in his absence led to questions of whether Kolb was truly the answer in Arizona.
Kolb got injured in the first preseason game, but was well enough to get a few snaps in the Cards' loss over the weekend, going 1-5 for 21 yards. Skelton wasn't much better, going 3-6 for 35 yards with a pick. So now, the Cardinals still don't know who they're going to start at QB once the season begins. That's not the way you inspire a fan base.
Some of them are of his creation. He looks uncomfortable in the pocket, and his mobility is both a blessing and a curse. He runs sometimes when he doesn't have to, or shouldn't. Too often, he runs himself into trouble.
Skelton has been marginally better: completing 7 of 12 for 67 yards and one interception. He's benefited from better protection that Kolb, but maybe Skelton's patience in the pocket plays a part of that. He doesn't leave it at the first sign of trouble.
Skelton's biggest issue is the same as it was last year: seeing the open receiver and accuracy.
That, coupled with the fact that the Cards have Larry Fitzgerald has to be extremely frustrating for the team, for the fans, and I'm sure for Fitzgerald as well. Scott Allen of raisingzona.com writes that it's hard to expect any of the Cards' QBs to do well with the O-line they have in front of them.
Skelton, Kolb, Ryan Lindley, and Richard Bartel all experienced offensive line breakdowns. The pass protection was a joke for all of them. The offensive line is playing like they always do. Horrible. The reason? They went out and re-signed the same guys that pass as NFL players.
So these aren't exactly times of lofty expectations in Arizona, and the most likely finish to their season is going to be somewhere between 4 and 6 wins.
The Cardinals next play Oakland on Friday night, and kick off the regular season Sept. 9 at home against Seattle.