Cards notebook: Kolb, Rhodes to have MRIs

Cardinals don't yet know status of Kevin Kolb, Kerry Rhodes, both of whom left Sunday with injuries.

TEMPE, Ariz. — X-rays on Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb came back negative, but the team still had an MRI planned Monday after Kolb left Sunday's 19-16 loss to Buffalo late in the fourth quarter with a rib or chest injury.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt said that while Kolb is still sore, the club is hopeful the injury won't be serious.

Free safety Kerry Rhodes was also scheduled for an MRI on his back, which seized up on one play and then was further aggravated on a low block by Bills offensive lineman Andy Levitre. Rhodes was seen walking gingerly through the Cardinals locker room on Monday but did not address reporters.

Whisenhunt said Monday it is too early to discuss contingency plans, but if Kolb misses any time, John Skelton would clearly take his place as the starter — a position he held in Week 1 until suffering an ankle sprain in that game against the Seahawks that sidelined him until Kolb was hurt Sunday.

Skelton completed just two of 10 passes in his first action since the opener. He also tossed a costly interception in overtime that led to Buffalo's winning field goal — a play he said was identical to the one on which Kolb threw his lone pick.

If Rhodes goes down, Rashad Johnson is the most likely replacement after having filled in for Rhodes last year when he missed nine games with a broken foot. But free-agent signee James Sanders is also a possibility. Sanders is listed as Rhodes' backup on the team's depth chart.


The Cards can't execute offensive plays consistently: For the past three weeks, the coaching staff and players have lamented all the offensive plays that have been left on the field. The belief is that if the offense can start executing more of them, it will be successful enough to win because the defense has been pretty consistent. The logic ignores two other possibilities. First, the opponent generally offers the same lament. Missed opportunities are a reality of every game and can always swing the pendulum one way or the other. The second possibility is more troubling. What if the Cardinals simply aren't capable of executing consistently on offense, whether because of their rampant injuries or because they aren't good enough? It's hard to judge the latter because the former has had such a major impact on the offense, with two offensive linemen, the top two running backs and a key tight end all missing significant time due to injuries.

The Cards' run-defense ranking may be overemphasized: The defense is allowing 113.3 yards per game on the ground, and the Bills, with running backs C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson both finally healthy, ground out 165 on Sunday. But the Cards' scoring defense — the most important stat — ranks fourth at 16.2 points per game. Defensive coordinator Ray Horton has said he'd like to see the yardage drop. At the same time, he smiles when asked to assess the importance of that number. Is it part of a master plan?

Kevin Kolb is surprisingly mobile: Maybe necessity is the mother of invention. Forced to flee the pocket on numerous occasions Sunday due to more poor protection, Kolb, who has been sacked 22 times in the last three games, proved elusive, escaping pressure several times and rushing five times for 66 yards. "He got sacked eight times last week, so I think he learned he had to run," guard Daryn Colledge quipped. The problem with that approach is Kolb's health. On his final run — a blown play by running back William Powell, who was unaware the team had checked into a run play — Kolb was tackled by two players on top of the football and left the game. Kolb either needs to perfect his slide or run out of bounds. There's no more need to prove his toughness. The Cardinals would like him on the field.


There wasn't much to report aside from the injuries to Kolb and Rhodes. Skelton (ankle) appears to be close to 100 percent. The status for TE Todd Heap (knee) and FB Anthony Sherman (knee) is still unclear after both missed Sunday's game. Whisenhunt was not asked about CBs Greg Toler (hamstring), Michael Adams (hamstring) or LB Reggie Walker (head), who also missed Sunday's game, but he did say he was “disappointed” that Heap wasn't able to play Sunday. When asked if the Cards miss Heap's blocking, Whisenhunt said, “We miss Todd overall.”

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