Kevin Kolb and the 2011 Arizona Cardinals: Over/Under
Far gone are the 2008-2009 Arizona Cardinals that shocked the world with their 1st ever NFC Championship.
With very few players remaining from that roster, most believe that this Cardinal squad has not done enough to leave last season in its dust.
But after a year of wandering in the wilderness of defeat, the 2011 Cardinals have reloaded with a decent list of additions, giving hope of resurgence in a free-for-all division.
Will Patrick Peterson live up to his draft hype? Will the NFL's newest "bromance" of Kevin Kolb and Larry Fitzgerald kindle the chemistry needed to be an offensive force?
You decide if the featured cast of Cardinals will exceed or fall short of their projected stats...
1. Will Kevin Kolb Follow in the Footsteps of Matt Schaub and Aaron Rodgers?
Over/Under: 20 TD Passing. 10 INT. 2800 Yards.
After trading for Kevin Kolb, fans only need to be reminded of the names Matt Schaub and Aaron Rodgers to send shivers down the back of a hopeful Cardinals fan.
Both Schaub and Rodgers served as a backup for 3 years, before moving on to become elite NFL QB's.
Kevin Kolb has every opportunity to succeed.
Throwing to Larry Fitzgerald, fans are hoping that this is a connection that will rival the likes of Schaub to Johnson, or Rodgers to Jennings.
If so, the Cardinals could be a force to be reckoned with for years to come.
Unfortunately, it takes practice to develop that connection.
Kevin Kolb will succeed as a Cardinal. It just won't be this year.
With the challenge of learning a brand new system in Arizona, along with limited practice, there will be growing pains. Look for numbers that are closer to 16 TD passes and 12 INT.
A slow start for Kevin Kolb is expected, but a strong finish will give fans a glimpse of his great future.
2. Will Beanie Wells Be the Man, or Is Ryan Williams What the Doctor Ordered?
Beanie Wells: 1000 Yards Rushing. 10 TD's
Ryan Williams: 500 Yards Rushing. 4 TD's
Will anything less than a 1000 yard rushing season be accepted from Beanie?
Fans were given a glimpse of his greatness in his rookie campaign, but suffered a set back last year, with a full back field and fumbling problems.
His third year as a pro will be pivotal to his future.
Enter Ryan Williams.
This second round pick surprised fans, who were expecting management to fill greater needs.
But talent was there for the taking, and talent was chosen over need. Let us hope it was the right choice.
Beanie Wells: Under
Ryan Williams: Over
Ryan Williams will be expected to push Beanie Wells, but deep down, fans are hoping that Beanie runs away with the challenge and becomes the true star he is supposed to be.
Also, expect Williams to fill in for Beanie at some point this season, as Beanie is subject to injuries.
Look for Williams and Wells to have similar numbers by the end of the season.
Will Andre Roberts Make Fans Forget Steve Breaston?
Over/Under: 600 yards receiving. 4 TD's
Andre Roberts strong training camp is the reason why the Arizona Cardinals have no need for troubled talent like Braylon Edwards or Randy Moss.
That glaring hole opposite Larry Fitzgerald is quickly becoming smaller as Roberts grows stronger and more comfortable as a receiver in the NFL.
But fans expectations must be tempered. To have a 1000 yards receiving like Steve Breaston did in his second year would require a hall of fame QB like Kurt Warner.
Roberts will benefit from Fitzgerald being double teamed, and will open up space for Roberts to make plays.
Andre Roberts' breakout season is still another year away, but a season with 750 yards receiving and 5 TD's is not out of reach.
Will Larry Fitzgerald Regain His Old Form or Re-Live His Viking Childhood?
Over/Under: 1250 yards receiving. 8 TD's
If Larry Fitzgerald can rack up a 1000 yard season with QB carousal of Derek Anderson, Max Hall, and John Skelton, what can he do with a QB like Kevin Kolb?
But a forewarning to fans of Fitzgerald.
If he fails to gain chemistry with Kolb, do not be surprised to see him tempted to fly the coop. Teams like the Minnesota Vikings would welcome Fitzgerald with open check-books.
Larry Fitzgerald's reaching out to Kolb was a clear sign to management that he will not settle for average QB's.
Kevin Kolb will look for Fitzgerald on every play, and with an enormous payday for 'Fitz' coming, he will make sure that his numbers are big, so he can receive big dollars.
Being the unquestionable leader on this team, numbers like he had in 2008 are likely to return.
1400 yards receiving and 10 TD's are numbers Fitzgerald is more than capable of reaching.
Will Patrick Peterson Be a Rookie Phenom?
Over/Under: 2 INT. 1 TD (Punt Return)
In the past 5 years, this is the one draft pick that made sense above all else.
In recent history, there is no player drafted that had as great promise as Patrick Peterson does.
Even Cardinal's management agrees, shipping Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Some have even projected Peterson to be the next Darrelle Revis or Nnamdi Asomugha.
Fans must temper their expectations for this kid, give him time to grow, especially having patience when covering elite receivers.
Ken Whisenhunt would be smart to hold back on his prized star, testing his veterans during an easy start to the season. Like all other rookies, missing mini camps and off-season coaching will set Peterson back.
As the season develops, look for Peterson to start showing flashes of brilliance, and possibly be the spark the Cardinals need to push them to the top of the division.
Conclusion: A Stepping Stone Season
2011 Arizona Cardinals Over/Under: 8-8
Beware the Underdog.
The Cardinals have something to prove—That all is missing from a return to contention is an able QB.
Prediction: Over (9-7)
Although the Cardinals are not ready to challenge the Packers or the Eagles at the top of the NFC, this will be the year that they begin to separate themselves from the middle of the pack.
What are your thoughts? What do the Cardinals need to do to contend again, or do you think that they are ready to return to the Superbowl?