Kolb, Cardinals battered in fall from unbeatens
Kevin Kolb wasn’t around to talk to reporters Friday. He
probably was home nursing his many aches and pains in the aftermath
of Arizona’s first loss of the season, a 17-3 Thursday night
manhandling at St. Louis.
Kolb was sacked nine times after being nailed eight times a week
earlier. When he wasn’t sacked, he often was slammed to the ground
after barely getting off the pass.
The Cardinals’ offensive line, already considered a weak link,
was exposed in a nationally televised flop that, among Arizona
fans, erased the euphoria of the team’s best start in 38 years.
The Cardinals again had no running game to speak of and their
three points were their fewest in a game since 2004, three years
before Ken Whisenhunt took over in Arizona.
Twice he was hit so hard his helmet was knocked off, leaving him
on his knees or on his backside, blood on his lips.
After a preseason game against Oakland, Raiders defensive end
Tommy Kelly said Kolb played ”skittish” and ”scared.” No one
was calling Kolb scared after Thursday night.
”I think he answered a lot of questions about that,”
Whisenhunt said. ”People were questioning his toughness or his
ability to play in one of those kinds of games. He certainly did
As tight end Rob Housler put it, ”You can follow a guy who gets
Guard Daryn Colledge said Kolb ”showed what we always
”A lot of people said he wasn’t tough, he’d been knocked out of
a couple of games, he’d gotten some shots put on him,” Colledge
said, ”but he’s willing to stand in there and get a bloody nose.
He’s proved that and we want to keep fighting to for him.
”We take that personal. We want to protect him.”
Even though Kolb was sacked 17 times over a period of five days,
Whisenhunt was unwilling to be overly critical of his offensive
”They had five sacks in (the first) three games,” Whisenhunt
said. ”We weren’t overly praiseworthy of them at that point
either. You have to keep it consistent and have a middle
Not that the coach is unaware of the problem.
”Are we disappointed we have that many sacks? Absolutely,”
Whisenhunt said. ”Are working to get better? Do we expect to get
better? Sure we do. The guys are working at it. We have to work
better at it.”
It’s not like the Cardinals can easily go out and find an
offensive tackle any better than the ones they already have.
When left tackle Levi Brown went down with a season-ending
injury, well-traveled but sparsely used D’Anthony Batiste shifted
from right tackle to the left side, with rookie Bobby Massie
starting at right tackle.
Both have struggled mightily against pass rushers on the edge.
Massie has been particularly vulnerable.
”I’m trying to get better every practice, every game,” Massie
said. ”I’ve just got to keep working at it.”
Only two tight ends were active because of injury, and one of
them (Housler) not really a blocked. The team also didn’t have
running back LaRod Stephens-Howling, who despite his diminutive
size is good at picking up the blitz.
That severely limited Arizona’s ability to give the line some
Colledge said he knows the line only gets noticed when it fails,
and that it takes the brunt of the criticism even if there are
problems elsewhere that contributed to the assault on Kolb.
”That’s how this game works,” Colledge said. ”We’re kind of
quiet soldiers. When things are going good, it’s all about the
skill guys and we’re great with that. And when it goes bad, it’s on
us and we know that. That’s great, that’s what we signed up
The line, he said, is ”going to find a way to grow from this
and get better.”
The rush might not have been so fierce had Arizona been able to
run the ball. After gaining 28 yards against Miami, the Cardinals
got 45 yards rushing against the Rams.
Already without running back Beanie Wells until at least Nov.
25, the Cardinals lost Ryan Williams to a left shoulder injury.
Whisenhunt said that after treatment Williams could have gone back
into the game, but there was no point in risking it.
After a poor performance on a short turnaround on Thursday
night, the Cardinals have nine days to recover and prepare for
their Oct. 14 home game against Buffalo.
After that, it’s a rough stretch that begins at Minnesota,
followed by a Monday night home contest against San Francisco, and
road games against Green Bay and Atlanta.
Still, the Cardinals still are 4-1, and that’s better than most
of the rest of the NFL.
”We’ll look at a lot of things that we’ve got to do, but I’m
not going to panic,” Whisenhunt said. ”We’ve got a team that’s
tough mentally. They’ll bounce back from this.”
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