How Can Kevin Kolb Save His Starting Job with Arizona Cardinals?

Ryan PhillipsContributor IIIAugust 20, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 17:  Quarterback Kevin Kolb #4 of the Arizona Cardinals during the NFL preseason game against the Oakland Raiders at the University of Phoenix Stadium on August 17, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Kevin Kolb is in an awful position. After a dismal, injury-plagued season in 2011, the 27-year-old had hoped to turn things around during his campaign in the desert. So far in the preseason, things haven't gone according to plan.

Through three preseason games, Kolb has completed just five of 15 passes for 47 yards. Meanwhile, John Skelton has displayed a steady hand while under center for the Cardinals. As things stand, Skelton looks firmly entrenched as the team's starter, while Kolb is on the outside looking in.

To win back the starting job, Kolb has to stop being so tentative. While Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Tommy Kelly claimed Kolb was scared in the pocket, the bigger issue is that the 27-year-old won't let the ball go.

The protection has been brutal so far in the preseason, but Kolb has also hesitated to actually throw the ball. He can't do that. At some point he has to just let the ball go and have confidence in his ability to complete passes. 

On Friday against the Raiders, Kolb completed three of six passes for 22 yards, while taking three sacks. He's simply not performing up to the level of a starting NFL quarterback. Skelton hasn't exactly been lighting the world on fire, but he has been far more consistent and steady with the ball in his hands.

Kolb certainly has the tools to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. But for some reason he hasn't been able to translate his skill level onto the field. Last season he played in nine games and completed just 57.7 percent of his passes for 1,955 yards, with nine touchdowns and eight interceptions.

Those numbers simply aren't good enough for a guy who signed a six-year, $65 million contract in July of 2011. 

This offseason the Cardinals opted to keep Kolb and pay him a $7 million roster bonus. The hope was that he would step up and develop into the team's starter. Just five months later it is abundantly clear that he hasn't stepped up the way Arizona had hoped. 

Kolb's time in the desert is clearly winding down, and the organization's patience is wearing thin. He has to somehow develop confidence in himself and his abilities or he may find himself out of a job in a very short time.