Over the past two games, the Arizona Cardinals have managed to beat two quality opponents. Much of the credit can go to the defense, but their play has not really surprised anyone. We knew they would be good. It is the performance of Kevin Kolb that has the town talking. Not only has he managed games well, put together long drives and put points on the board, but he has done all of this while establishing himself as a leader in this Cardinals football franchise. The best part is, he is not content with where they are yet.
"The biggest thing is being 3-0. To be 3-0 against the teams we've played, in the fashion that we've won, it's been exciting," Kolb said after the game. "I think that our mentality as a team; Coach [Whisenhunt] just made the point and I know that everybody approaches it like this, we're not off tomorrow, we're rolling on to the next one. This league can sneak up and you can lose 3 or 4 in a row just as fast as you won 3 or 4 in a row. So we're going to stay humble and stay hungry."
Just from that short clip, it became apparent to me as to who the leader of this football team is. Kolb is the one directing the team, saying that there are no days off. The team will do as he tells them to do. And as if the confidence in his voice isn't enough, his teammates have his back on it as well.
When asked about Kolb, teammate Ryan Williams said that he has showed "leadership and confidence" over the past few weeks. "It could be as easy as going through a walkthrough and he'll call a play that we don't break it. And you know, Kev is a little tight he's just like, 'hey make sure y'all break the huddle'. Little things like that build chemistry and it makes us know who the leader is. He wants to be the leader of this team, he wants people to follow him. I tell him everyday before the game, 'you lead, we follow'."
No quarterback can be successful without having the respect and command of his team. That is part of the package. Star receiver Larry Fitzgerald may be the voice that is most often heard, but even he would tell you that he takes direction from Kolb. And that is the way it should be. That is how all great franchises run their operations. The quarterback has to be at the vanguard of it all; he has to be the figurehead.
"As teammates, we wanted to come out here and play hard for him because we knew what it meant to him," Fitzgerald said. "He played terrific today. He made his throws, he scrambled when he needed to and he did a great job of commanding the huddle... He was very demonstrative in the huddle. He really wanted it. He was calling guys to reach down and dig deep."
And don't ask Kolb to sum up what this season has been for him. He began as the benchwarmer, sitting behind John Skelton, waiting for his next opportunity. Now that he has been thrust into the starting lineup, the Cardinals have gone 3-0 and are one of the best teams in the National Football League. For now, Kolb has no comment on everything that has gone down.
"I'm going to put it into words in the offseason," he said. "And hopefully that comes with a [Super Bowl] ring and a lot of wins, but I don't even want to think about it right now. I just want to stay focused because I've done that in the past. I tried to foresee the future and every time it comes up and knocks my legs out from underneath me. I'm just going to stay humble and keep working, just like the team is."
Can Coach Whisenhunt truly turn back to John Skelton now that Kolb has played so well and has the respect of his peers? Time will tell, but based on what I have seen and heard, it looks like Kolb has this job all locked up. His passing abilities have been great and have put him in the race to win the starters job, but it is his leadership that will ultimately help him keep it.