The Arizona Cardinals didn't do much to upgrade the quarterback position this offseason. The improvement would come, they were hoping, from the increased health, comfort and efficiency of one Kevin Kolb. The team gave Kolb a six-year, $65 million contract before the 2011 season, but Kolb played in just nine games and struggled throughout his first season as an NFL starter.
The idea was that in his second year in Ken Whisenhunt's system, Kolb would pay dividends by running a more dynamic offense.
By that standard, Sunday night's Hall of Fame Game was a disaster. The New Orleans Saints beat the Cardinals, 17-10, in the 2012 preseason opener at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio. Kolb completed one pass for 4 yards and had an interception.
Kolb looked uncomfortable and inefficient before leaving the game injured. His first pass was intercepted. Kolb was looking for Andre Roberts on a 10-yard out that didn't seem to have nearly the necessary velocity. Malcolm Jenkins stepped in front of it and picked it.
Two incompletions followed, and then Kolb, with the pocket collapsing, ran for his life in his own end zone before unloading a short, desperate completion to fullback Anthony Sherman. Kolb suffered a bruised rib on the play and didn't come back.
Then, on the way off the field, he may or may not have snubbed John Skelton on an attempted fist bump. I'll give Kolb the benefit of the doubt on that one and say he didn't see Skelton until it was too late for knuckle bumping. So there's a positive, Cards fans. Kolb might not be very good, but he also might not be a complete jerk. Optimism!
John Skelton looked much better than Kolb in relief. He only threw six passes, so you might want to hold off on ordering that Skelton jersey, but he was the better quarterback. Clearly, there's still work to be done in determining who's the better option for the Cards here. Kolb should be back on the field soon enough, so they'll get to compete some more.
Of course, all of this comes with the standard preseason disclaimer: It's the preseason, it doesn't mean anything, you can't draw any conclusions from it, etc. I think that applies more to preseason success, though. If you look really good in preseason, there's no guarantee that you'll look good when things get real. Poor play usually translates pretty well, though.