Whatever goodwill the Cardinals established with their fans via last year’s 7-2 finish apparently hasn’t carried over to Kevin Kolb. The Cards’ $65 million man, who played just one of those final nine games (an overtime win over the Cowboys), was booed Wednesday night during a practice at University of Phoenix Stadium that doubled as the team’s annual “Fan Fest.”
This is the confirmation from Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com following multiple tweets from some of the approximately 15,000 people in attendance:
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Kolb was not very good last season; this is not a matter of much debate. He finished the year with a 2-6 record, a completion percentage of 57.7, nine touchdowns, eight interceptions and a quarterback rating of 81.1 that put him 17th in the NFL, smack dab in the middle of the league’s 34 qualifying quarterbacks.
There were clearly some mitigating circumstances, though. After being acquired right after the lockout ended in late July, he didn’t have the benefit of offseason workouts or a full training camp, then suffered a foot injury against the Ravens in Week 8 that caused him to miss four games before a concussion on the first play against the 49ers in Week 14 knocked him out for the rest of the year.
That does not represent a meaningful sample size, and the timing of those injuries made John Skelton the beneficiary of the Cards’ defensive turnaround. With Skelton at the helm for eight of the last nine games — excluding Kolb’s win over the Cowboys in Week 13 — the Cards produced 20.75 points per game and went 6-2 (despite Skelton posting an awful 68.9 percent passer rating that put him 32nd in the league). In Kolb’s outings, they scored 20.25 points and went 2-6. It should be obvious that the win-loss swing in the second half had far less to do with the offense than it did the defense, which allowed 24.5 points in Kolb’s outings and 19 in Skelton’s. Give the opponent 19 points in each of Kolb’s games and he’d have gone … drumroll … 6-2.
That said, booing him based on eight decent-but-not-very-successful games in his first year as a full-time starter — in a new system and with no offseason to prepare — doesn’t make any sense, nor does booing him during practice when he more than likely represents the franchise’s hopes for any semblance of success in the near future. And if he’s not being booed for his eight games’ worth of play, it means he’s being booed for his injuries, which is just plain classless.
Give the guy an offseason to learn the playbook, get a grasp of the offense and get acclimated with his receivers. If he’s no better this year, the boos will be justified (he did just get a $7 million bonus); right now, they’re petulant.