Kevin Kolb Gets the Go-Ahead Heading into Week 3; Skelton's Status Up in the Air
Coming into the regular season, if you predicted the Cardinals to be 2-0 at this point, I must tip my hat to you.
After a preseason that saw struggles from just about every unit on the football field, there was little hope in the eyes of many. Shoot, I'm not going to try and cover up the fact that I predicted them to be a six-win team at best. Even though I did say they would finish the year with a top 10 defense, I never expected them to get two tough wins in a row early on.
Traveling to New England and beating the Patriots almost never happens. Tom Brady's record in his last 37 games at Gillette Stadium is 35-2, so Arizona should be proud that they went into such a hostile environment and won.
The victories did not come easy, yet they rode their defense all the way to the end in both games. They put together a nice goal line stand in the final moments of Week 1, and did an impressive job of stopping Tom Brady and the Patriots after a disastrous fumble in the fourth quarter. Sometimes there's a little luck involved (Gostkowski's unlikely miss), but it seems luck is one your side whenever you play hard.
Unfortunately, at some point, the Cardinals offense is going to have to catch up with their defense. It's hard to rely on the D to win every game, especially in today's NFL where teams put up 30 points like it's nothing.
Over the first two games of the season, Arizona is only averaging 249 total yards of total offense, which puts them as the third worst in all of football. Their third-down percentage is a measly 29 percent and they've only run 118 plays from scrimmage.
With John Skelton playing a majority of the game against Seattle and Kevin Kolb playing the entire game against the Patriots, it's hard to see much difference in the offense. Yardage wise the numbers were about identical (defensively, I would give the nod to the Seahawks) though the running game looked improved in Week 2.
But that could be because Seattle's defense is better against the run, or that the Cardinals' offensive line could have shored up some of the assignment miscues they missed in Week 1. There are plenty of factors as to why this aspect of the game was better and such, but honestly, that question is going to be explored every week. The fans and analysts alike have this offense under a microscope.
The questions I pose are as follows, is Larry Fitzgerald going to get more involved? When is Michael Floyd going to play more? Floyd has only logged 25 snaps through the first two weeks of the season.
Another player I would like to see more involved is Rob Housler. He's big, athletic and a threat up the seam. Sure, he had his fair share of drop issues in the preseason, but he's young and the only way he is going to get better is by playing more. He's just barely above Floyd in terms of snaps played with 29.
When John Skelton returns from injury, who should be the starter?
Kolb has shown some major toughness and confidence when in the lineup. He engineered a game-winning drive against the Seahawks in Week 1 and put the Cardinals up for good with a five-yard touchdown run against the Patriots.
Also, he's showing the ability to get rid of the ball quickly; at times last year, it looked like he was a concrete statue back in the pocket.The true question remains, how long can they win this way?
No one really knows, as there has only been one team that I can think of that won a Super Bowl with an atrocious offense, the 2000 Baltimore Ravens. That defense only gave 165 points all season, but at one point, their offense went five consecutive games without scoring an offensive touchdown.
I'm not sure if I'm ready to put the 2012 Arizona Cardinals into the 2000 Baltimore Ravens category, but this week's matchup against Philadelphia will be another uphill battle as they try to keep pace with the San Francisco 49ers at the top of the NFC West.
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