The Arizona Cardinals are now 1-3 after losing Sunday to the New York Giants. They could easily be 4-0 and they also could easily be 0-4. That's how close this team thinks things are. It's understandable to be frustrated and coach Ken Whisenhunt asked for patience from the fans and his players. The players seem to be on board, the fans not so much.
How you react to these close games and blown opportunities depends on you and you're outlook on life. How Kevin Kolb reacts depends on the day of the week.
"On Monday, it hurts. That's when you're getting ready for the next football team and you're saying, 'How do we stack up'. It feels good because you're saying, 'Alright, we're as good as anybody in this league'. We know that now through the preseason and the regular season that we can play with anybody. We're as physical as any team out there. Just got to learn how to finish," Kolb said.
So be positive if it suits you or be negative about the 1-3 record.
The Cardinals are still not out of it given the division they play in. If they are right and they are just a few mistakes away from turning these losses to wins then you could see Arizona beating Minnesota and coming back after the bye week and beating a struggling Steelers team at home.
If they are wrong, than five wins will likely be the ceiling for this season.
Evaluating Kolb's play
According to Whisenhunt, Kevin Kolb made some plays and blew some. He's got a lot to learn and as a young quarterback (11 career starts) is still figuring it out. Whisenhunt pointed out that Aaron Rodgers struggled in his first season (Packers went 6-10 in 2008) and he had been in that system a few years before taking over the starting QB job from He Who Won't Be Named.
Daryn Colledge was on that Packers team and agreed with the comparison.
"It's real similar. When Aaron took over...it was bad. There was a lot of stuff to be transitioned, especially at that position...The difference is, we're in more of the games than we ever were in that first year in Green Bay when Aaron took over. We've had an opportunity to win every game and we're just letting it slip away at the end."
One thing that was obvious watching the game was that Kolb still is adjusting to when to stay in the pocket and when to scramble. According to Colledge, it's on the offensive line to make him feel safe. Whisenhunt agrees it's an issue but thinks it will improve with time.
"There's certainly some plays where you'd like for him to hang in there (in the pocket) but there's also some plays he can make with his feet and you've got to balance those. As he gets more comfortable with the reads and the progressions with our offense and which side to work and where to go with the ball," Whiz said.
Kolb pretty much agreed word for word.
"There's certain times when I need to be definite on where the ball needs to go and that comes with running that play over, and over, and over again. The good ones (quarterbacks) who've been in the system awhile know as soon as the ball's snapped, where the ball's going to go because they've seen it a lot. We don't have that advantage," he said, adding there's a fine line between staying the pocket and trying to make a play on the move.
Monday injury report
OL Brandon Keith had a knee issue that knocked him out of the game. The knee had some swelling but doesn't look like it will be a long term problem. Jeremy Bridges finished the game and played well. Keith will be evaluated during the week.
Beanie Wells was tired and sore after the game but came through it OK and should be fine for next week in Minnesota.
Overall, a pretty good week health-wise.
- According to Whisenhunt, it's easier for a quarterback to complete a big play than it is to defend the pass. Defending the passing game requires more team coordination which was hurt by the lockout which could account for big passing numbers around the league.
- The defense didn't get as much pressure as needed in the fourth quarter and struggled with the no-huddle situation. It's a special situation that's not gotten as much work in training camp and practice due to the lockout.
- As for the fumble call late in the game, Whisenhunt would only say that it doesn't matter what he thinks and repeated that it shouldn't have come to that. He clearly thinks the call was wrong but wouldn't come out and say and is right that it shouldn't have been an issue.
- "We're close, we're better than we were last week. We've got to stay the course and continue to work that way. We know that it's going to turn for us if we continue to work the way we're doing and we make a few more plays." -- Whisenhunt
- "I think we played better defensively except for the last part of the game this week. We were going against a very good offense and we shut down the run game and we ran the ball very well. We've improved with the run game. As we continue to do that it's going to open up other avenues for us, we hope, offensively." -- Whisenhunt