Small crowds greeted the Arizona Cardinals this weekend at training camp...oh wait, maybe not so small.
I'll admit, I spent most of this weekend pondering what I would write for my very first piece here on Bleacher Report. I thought about writing about what Willie McGinist said about the locker room favoring John Skelton over Kevin Kolb, but nah, that non-story's already been overblown as it is. I needed something, though.
Then Deadspin sent me a free gift: in true Deadspin fashion, an exaggerated critique of the Arizona Cardinals titled "Why Your Team Sucks 2012: Arizona Cardinals." So, for all you angry Cards fans out there (and haters), here's a rebuttal.
There's no counter needed to the idea that Kolb will be bad simply because he's a coach's son. Because, to put it simply, there's no basis for that logic. Who his dad was has little to do with how he will perform as a player throughout his career.
What can be said about Kolb is this: He has shown a tendency to be injury-prone throughout his short career. If he can stay healthy it'll be very interesting to see how he plays this year. Injuries aside, casting judgment on a quarterback that went to a completely different system and was given no offseason to transition is doing so way too quickly. If Kolb can stay healthy, let's revisit this discussion in late October.
"Patrick Peterson is the offense" was another somewhat misguided point. I'm not sure if the writer just missed Beanie Wells' 1,000-yard rushing season (injured at that), or if he just glanced over Larry Fitzgerald's 1,400 yards, but either way, I'm hard-pressed to believe that Patrick Peterson's four punt returns for a touchdown also "doubled as our offensive output." That said, it is nice to know that this team can win games on special teams; it's an important part of the game, you know.
Another goody is the statement made that "all quarterbacks are going to die." Last season a total of 54 sacks were given up by the Arizona Cardinal offense. Sounds horrifying, and in a sense it is, but let's not count out one key factor that led to the Cardinals giving up the second most sacks in the NFL last season. No, it wasn't Levi Brown (who improved as the season went on), nor was it weak interior play.
Poor play at quarterback is one of those points that is often glossed over when talking about the amount of sacks given up by an offense. No offensive line in the NFL can hold off a defense for five or more seconds on every play. Most offenses, including the Cardinals offense, rely on timing.
The quarterback is basically expected to recognize a defense and know within two seconds where he's going to go with the football. Basically, the more you hold on to the football, the greater the likelihood that you end up on the turf. While I agree that better play is needed from the offensive line this year, most notably at left tackle, if Kolb or Skelton can learn to get rid of the football a half a second to a second earlier this season, you'll see a decent chunk taken out of that sack total this coming season.
The idea that Ryan Lindley and Rich Bartel will see significant playing time this season is just lunacy. Let's move on.
After bashing the state of Arizona itself, a place I don't find half-bad mid-October through April, the writer goes on to point out that "there are no Cardinals fans." What a shame. I guess 14,500 people really didn't drive over two hours to watch a practice (more than twice the amount of, let's say, the Philadelphia Eagles). The Cards never really did sell out every game since moving to University of Phoenix Stadium. I guess he's right. I and maybe a couple of others reading this are the only fans out there.
There's plenty of reason to be optimistic in Arizona. Don't hate the haters—smile at them and let this talented young Cardinals team go to work this year.