The Arizona Cardinals are off to a 1-4 start going in to their bye week. The offense has been inconsistent, at best. The defense has failed to make an impact. Fans are getting frustrated, and they are aiming most of that frustration at one player in particular: Kevin Kolb.
Kevin Kolb was signed this past offseason to a $63 million deal, including $20 million guaranteed. This was after the Cardinals traded pro-bowl cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, along with their 2012 second-round draft pick, to Philadelphia in exchange for the young quarterback. Many have expressed their concerns that this was too much to give up for an unproven quarterback.
Through the Cardinals' first five games, Kolb's play has been inconsistent. His pocket presence could use some polish. He has amassed 1,281 yards passing along with five touchdowns vs. six interceptions with a 77.2 quarterback rating. What has been truly alarming is the steady decline in his play from week to week.
Week QB Rating
Yes, Kevin Kolb hasn't played well over the past few games, but fans must step back and realize the situation instead of reacting in a knee-jerk manner.
First, Kolb is a dramatic improvement under center than any of the quarterbacks from the Cardinals' roster in 2010. He is a much more accurate passer, possesses a strong arm and has decent mobility. He has so far shown to be a leader and is earning his team's respect.
Second, the shortened off-season cannot be overstated. After Kolb was traded to the Cardinals, he wasn't able to practice with the team until a few days before their first preseason game. He has had to jump head first into a system he's never been a part of, and lead the offense. This is a completely different offense than the one he knew in Philadelphia. It will take more than five games before he is completely comfortable with it.
Third, the Cardinals have one of the best receivers in the NFL with Larry Fitzgerald. After that, there isn't much. Without a true number 2 receiver stepping up, Kolb hasn't had too many options. Defenses know this and have constantly put double coverage on Fitz. Early Doucet seems to be coming around recently, but he isn't quite there yet. Having reliable weapons to get the ball is a big part of the equation.
Finally, the offensive line needs to work on pass protection. True, Kolb's pocket presence hasn't been great and he seems to escape the pocket a little early at times, but his linemen aren't doing much to inspire confidence either. I believe, this is an area that will improve as the season wears on.
The truth of the matter is this: Kevin Kolb has work to do. The entire Arizona Cardinals team has work to do. I believe they are doing just that going into the bye week. The fans should not put all of the blame on Kolb. It doesn't take a genius to see that this guy has talent. He just needs a little time. So please, be patient.