Arizona Cardinals vs. Washington Redskins: 4 Biggest Factors for the Game
Arizona hasn't had any success traveling cross country since 2008, accumulating a record of just 3-10 against teams in the Eastern Time Zone. Kolb will need to play well in his first road game as a full time starter, but there are other factors that are nearly as important.
As for Washington, Rex Grossman will have to limit his "Bad Rex" moments while the defense will still need to get accustomed to the 3-4.
Here are the four other factors that will take on significant importance Sunday at 1 P.M.
4. Arizona's Secondary
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Cardinals' corners were roasted by Cam Newton in Arizona last week, but defensive coordinator did send blitzes early and often. Against Rex Grossman, this should work much better.
Washington is actually better going downfield with the passing game than calling short, intermediate throws because of Grossman's lack of consistent accuracy. The young corners for Arizona will have to stay in good position for at least four seconds until the pressure gets to Grossman.
Safeties Kerry Rhodes and Adrian Wilson will play bigger roles than Patrick Peterson and the corners. Although that will be the case, Peterson cannot play as poorly covering Santana Moss as he did attempting to shadow Steve Smith.
3. Tim Hightower
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This isn't about dominating a former team. This is about dominating the time of possession.
Tim Hightower was alright against the Giants with 72 yards and a touchdown, but the performance was nothing like what he showed in the preseason. The team's chances of winning decrease with every Rex Grossman throw.
Arizona ranked as the third worst team, last season in rushing yards surrendered per game while also giving up the third worst amount of rushing touchdowns. Kevin Kolb doesn't need a running game as much as Grossman does. Washington's defense likes to take gambles. The more time the unit spends on the field, the more likely a big offensive play will occur.
2. Washington Redskins' Pass Rush
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The 3-4 being run by defensive coordinator Jim Haslett is not one like Wade Phillips'. Zone concepts are applied and this form of the 3-4 is better at confusing quarterbacks.
Larry Fitzgerald could have a quiet day, not because he's not better than corner DeAngelo Hall but because Kevin Kolb may not know where and how the coverage will be playing.
Ryan Kerrigan had a great debut, intercepting a Eli Manning pass and returning it for a touchdown. He won't have to repeat his performance, but Kerrigan needs to beat up on the big, not very great pass blocking tackles of Arizona.
Brian Orakpo will be ready to roll, but his counterpart cannot show rookie inconsistency. Assuming Arizona will be throwing often like usual, pocket pressure has to be present on every play because there's no telling when Fitzgerald could strike.
1. Kevin Kolb
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Kevin Kolb's play against the Panthers was the most overshadowed performance from all of last week. The hype for Cam Newton was understandable, but Kolb showed great accuracy and sneaky mobility.
The game will be much more in Kolb's right arm than Rex Grossman's. The safeties for Washington, especially LaRon Landry, love making plays near the line of scrimmage. It's important for Kolb to take shots down field when they are there.
Finding Larry Fitzgerald before Brian Orakpo finds him will be crucial not only in Kevin Kolb's success but in the outcome.