TEMPE, Ariz. — The Arizona Cardinals placed Kevin Kolb on injured reserve Wednesday, ending his season.
The writing for that move was on the wall when the Cards signed quarterback Brian Hoyer off waivers on Monday. When asked if this move was a possibility on Monday, coach Ken Whisenhunt said that would be “a medical decision,” but he no longer seemed hopeful that Kolb would return this season — a feeling backed by Kolb’s statements last week that his healing ribs just aren’t where they need to be to play.
“To be totally honest with you, the last couple weeks … when I really try to push it in the weight room and when I really try to push the ball downfield is when I’m kind of hitting that wall,” Kolb said on Dec. 5.
Kolb said it’s not so much pain that has been holding him back as a lack of function. He also revealed that when the injury occurred, the ribs actually went under his sternum, where they are calcifying, instead of lying flush with the sternum as is typical.
“That’s how they’re trying to heal,” he said. “That’s kind of what extends the process.”
Kolb still says he has no plans to correct the problem through surgery, now that his season is over.
He was injured when he was tackled on a busted play late in the game vs. Buffalo on Oct. 14 when the Cardinals were 4-1. They went on to lose that game in overtime, and now, heading into their 14th game, their win total remains stuck at four.
“It’s upsetting and disappointing with where we started to be in this position,” Kolb said.
When this season end, Kolb will have played in 15 of a possible 32 games with Arizona, making 14 starts, completing 255 of 436 passes (58.5 percent) for 3,124 yards with 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Kolb has been sacked a whopping 57 times.
This season, Kolb completed 109 of 183 passes (59.6 percent) for 1,169 yards, eight TDs and three INTs. In his absence, the position has been shared by John Skelton and Ryan Lindley, who have combined to complete 167 of 321 (52 percent) for 1,639 yards with two TDs and 14 INTs. It’s an amazing juxtaposition when you consider Whisenhunt named Skelton the starter at the beginning of the season.
Kolb’s future with the club is unclear, and nobody in the organization has addressed the topic. It is highly unlikely the Cardinals will pay Kolb what is believed to be a $9 million salary in 2013 and a $2 million roster bonus in March. If he is going to return, that deal will have to reworked, but Kolb said Wednesday that there have been no discussions on that front.
“My heart and soul is with this organization right now, and I don’t want that to change. I really don’t,” said Kolb, who hopes he won’t have another unsettled offseason. “I would like for it to be settled for my sake and my family’s sake. It’s been a hot topic for about three offseasons in a row.”
The 2013 quarterback draft class is not highly regarded, nor is the expected group of free agents, although the 49ers’ Alex Smith could be available either via trade or in free agency, depending on what the 49ers do with him now that Colin Kaepernick has assumed the starter’s role.
Kolb very well may be the Cardinals’ best option available. He hasn’t played a lot, but Whisenhunt has seen enough that it gives him hope.
“It sure does,” Whisenhunt said. “You’d like to be able to build off of something, and that’s at least a positive.”
Lindley will start this week. Whisenhunt said Hoyer must learn the offense before the Cards think about throwing him into the mix.
Scott Wedige is the likely center this week with Lyle Sendlein and Rich Ohrnberger on IR, but Whisenhunt noted that some other linemen, including Adam Snyder and newly signed Mike Gibson, also have played center, so he will give several players a look and determine what reshuffling occurs from there.