On January 29th, 2010, the Arizona Cardinals franchise took a huge turn as their star veteran quarterback Kurt Warner retired. This meant the Cardinals had to turn a page. They had to find a new quarterback to lead their franchise for the future.
They needed a QB that could could throw to star receiver Larry Fitzgerald, hand the ball off to young running back Beanie Wells and play alongside their developing defense. This team had won the NFC West two years in a row, which included the franchise’s only Super Bowl appearance.
In conclusion, the Cardinals looked to have a bright future ahead of them, and the missing piece of the puzzle was a man to lead the team like Warner had.
Almost three years later, Arizona has bounced around at the quarterback position, leaving frustrated fans and wasted talent. The quarterbacks that have been used include Derek Anderson, Max Hall, John Skelton, Richard Bartel, Kevin Kolb and Ryan Lindley.
With the recent firings of general manager Rod Graves and head coach Ken Whisenhunt, fans are again calling for another quarterback. Everybody is desperate to know who the right man to replace Warner is, and where he can be found. I believe this man can be found already right in Arizona.
His name? Kevin Kolb.
Kolb was a backup for Michael Vick under Andy Reid in Philadelphia. He had originally been a starter, and had shown good talent in his seven starts with the Eagles, but was later injured and eventually lost the job to Vick. Kolb was traded to the Cardinals after they had a 5-11 2010 season, with Anderson at the helm.
The price for Kolb from the Eagles was cornerback Dominique Rogers-Cromartie and a 2011 second-round pick, which seemed to be a pretty steep price. His new contract was also steep, being at six years, $62.1 million. It was clear that this was Arizona’s choice at quarterback for the future, the replacement for Warner.
In the 2011 season, Kolb had his up-and-downs. He started off the year with a bang, as he threw for 309 yards with a 130 passer rating against the Carolina Panthers. After that, Kolb struggled some against a very tough schedule, but did show some glimpses of talent during that time. It was also clear that he was being forced and expected to do too much with the rest of his team also struggling.
The team went on a seven-game losing streak. Kolb did put on a great showing against the Dallas Cowboys which broke the streak, but was hurt the next game and was forced to sit out the rest of the season with second-year player John Skelton now starting. The Cardinals would finish 2011 at 8-8.
Going into the 2012 season, there was wonder if the Cardinals needed to make another attempt to find a QB to replace Kurt Warner. They did go after Peyton Manning, but after that ended, Arizona made no move at quarterback.
However, to start the year, it was not Kolb as the starting QB as it was his back-up in Skelton. Skelton struggled in the preseason, and at the end of Arizona’s Week 1 match-up against the Seattle Seahawks, he went down.
Kolb hurried into the game. Arizona needed a touchdown to take the lead late in the game, and if they did not, it was clear that the Seahawks would win. But amazingly, Kolb went 6-of-8 on the drive for 66 yards, making excellent throws against a top Seattle secondary. The Cardinals would win that game.
In Week 2, Arizona went in to New England with Kolb to play the Patriots. Looking as good as ever, he led them to a huge upset victory. In Week 3 the Cardinals hosted the 2-0 Eagles, Kolb’s former team. And with a 17-24, 222-yard game, he led the Cardinals to another win, this time by a blowout score of 27-6.
In Week 4, Arizona beat the Miami Dolphins at home led by a 324-yard performance by Kolb. In Week 5, he put on another good showing against the St. Louis Rams. Unfortunately, Kolb was injured yet again, and the next week in which ended his season.
The Cardinals went on to lose nine of their last 10 games without him. Arizona’s dazzling streak ended when Kolb was gone, and they struggled mightily without him. Notice a pattern? After the 2012 season, the Cardinals and their fans may still think that they haven’t found Warner’s replacement. But, I ask them, why is it not considered to be Kevin Kolb?