If Kevin Kolb is going to be the starting quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals this season, he needs to erase memories of his start to the preseason. Getting healthy might also factor into it.
Kolb got off to an inauspicious start Sunday night in the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Game. On his first pass of the game, he threw an interception on a pass intended for Andre Roberts. That was the first of three series Kolb played in the game, and by no means the most disastrous of them. With six and a half minutes left in the first quarter, Kolb was tackled by Sedrick Ellis on his own goal line, a hit that ended his night with bruised ribs and a bruised diaphragm. It also complicated the Cardinals' quarterback picture.
Oh, and to add one more sour note to it, Kolb was injured just as he completed his first pass of the game.
More: Kevin Kolb's Injury
John Skelton had a much better outing, though a brief one. He picked up a pair of plays in relief of Kolb before leading the Cardinals on a 90-yard, 14-play touchdown drive against the Saints' first team defense. Skelton finished his work with 32 passing yards on four completions in six attempts.
The tide clearly turned in Skelton's favor who looked decisive making quick passes to move his team downfield on their lone touchdown drive.
It was only one preseason game after less than a week in pads, so the Cardinals have plenty of time to sort out the mess under center. Kolb already had his detractors; the Cardinals tried to woo Peyton Manning in the spring. A bigger concern might be his injury. A serious concussion ended his season in 2011, and even though his latest injury is typically more of a day-to-day thing, it does nothing to help Kolb shake the label of an injury-prone player still trying to live up to his potential.
Another Saints Running Back?
New Orleans apparently has some kind of Midas touch when it comes to running back, or just scouts who know what to look for in a ball carrier. The most exciting position battle taking place on the field in Canton was for the Saints' fourth running back job.
Chris Ivory is the incumbent, sitting behind Darren Sproles, Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas. Injuries limited his production last season, and he has been identified as a potential roster casualty in the coming weeks. He finished the game, working mostly with the second and third team, with just 13 yards on nine carries and one reception for 15 yards.
Stealing the spotlight was Travaris Cadet, an undrafted rookie from Appalachian State. Cadet led the Saints with eight receptions for 80 yards and a touchdown and six carries for a loss of three yards.
Measuring 6'1, 210 pounds, the Saints snapped him up following the draft this year. Before playing at Appalachian State, he was at Toledo working mostly as a wide receiver. Cadet even played some quarterback in college. The Saints also had him on special teams, where he explosiveness could be a real asset once the games start to matter.
If Cadet does not make the final cut, another team will grab him off the wire quickly. A more likely scenario is that the Saints part ways with Ivory and his injury concerns, opting to hang onto the talented rookie.
Warnings of dire consequences with officials new to the NFL game were unfilled in a sleepy performance by the replacements. The most egregious miss of the evening was a missed holding call on Cardinals offensive tackle Levi Brown in the first quarter on a play that would have likely resulted in a safety for the Saints.
The refs, led by former Big Ten official Craig Ochoa got off to an embarrassing start. He flipped the coin and called the wrong results, correcting himself as the player captains walked away from the coin toss.
For the most part, the refs kept their flags in their pocket and were relatively inoffensive. Nevertheless, it does not appear that the replacements will be heading back to Division II or even retirement anytime soon, so the quality of the officiating will continue to be a concern as the preseason continues.
Michael Floyd And More
- The Cardinals are counting on rookie receiver Michael Floyd, their first-round pick, to bolster their offense and help whoever ends up at quarterback. He has some work to do between now and the start of the season. Floyd played with the second team, catching one pass from Arizona's third quarterback Richard Bartel. He at least made his one reception count, a 15-yarder that gave the Cardinals a first down with about three minutes left in the first half.
- For a time, it looked like Chase Daniel might have been the Saints' starting quarterback while the organization and Drew Brees started each other down over the franchise tag. Daniel played well, despite an ugly interception. Color man Mike Mayock described Daniel as accurate and tough. No doubt the Cardinals were watching in awe.
- Arizona was without its top running backs, Ryan Williams and Beanie Wells. Alfonso Smith started in their place and showed well for himself. He finished the game with 46 yards and a touchdown on eight carries, helped by some solid run blocking by the Cardinals' interior line.
By the third quarter most fans were reminded why their love affair with the NFL has never applied to preseason football. Poor tackling, stunted plays and all of the other things that go into August's glorified practice sessions sent everyone to Twitter to express in blurb form just how ready the world is for the regular season.
One month, a little more actually, to go before the games count.
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