As you have known for some time, I was a supporter of the Kevin Kolb trade. I thought he had great upside and intangibles. Clearly, it didn't work out. You can blame a lot of people, and Kolb is included.
What you can blame him for? Not for his contract. His agent has one job -- get him the best deal possible. He did that. The Cardinals willingly gave him the deal.
You can blame him for not getting comfortable with the Cardinals offense more quickly in 2011. You can blame him for many of the hits he took in 2011. You can blame his body for not being durable.
You can't blame him for all his woes. I don't know if I have seen a quarterback take the punishment he did this past season ever.
But the bottom line was that he was no longer worth what his contract would pay him. However, why blame him for not accepting a contract restructuring? Would you take a pay cut just because, especially if you believe that you could get a better deal elsewhere? Not many people would. And the notion that it is being loyal is laughable in the NFL. The team was being equally disloyal by not fulfilling to contract. It wasn't wrong, but there was no reason why Kolb simply should have taken a pay cut.
Anyway, back to what I intended to write about -- his time here.
The two seasons with Kolb were just terrible for a fan. We had all this hope he could be good. He showed flashes. There was this feeling that he was going to lead the Cardinals to a comeback win against the Redskins, but Chansi Stuckey fumbled. He looked like he figured things out against the Cowboys. He led the team to victory against the Seahawks and undid his mistake against the Dolphins with timely throws and big plays.
But, those injuries. So untimely.
They weren't little injuries. They were concussions, ligament damage in his foot and detached ribs. Those aren't things you really can play through very well.
And then, from time to time, you would see a head scratching play that made you wonder what in the world he was seeing. The pick in the end zone against the Dolphins comes to mind, as with the inexplicable interception against the Titans in the preseason.
But his time was exactly like the team. The talent was there, but things would get in the way.
You can argue that Kolb is one of the unluckiest players in the world. He got hurt in Philly and Michael Vick had one of the most spectacular years ever seen by a quarterback. He goes to a new team with no offseason because of a lockout. He gets hurt at untimely times. It was maddening.
This will go down as one of the team's biggest blunders ever. They paid him a ton of money. They traded a Pro Bowler and a pick. They hitched their wagon to a player that couldn't stay healthy. That makes him a bust.
Now, covering the team this year and seeing him interact in person with the press and seeing how his team started believing in him with the start of the season, you can't help but root for the guy. He is a great guy and a hard worker. You have to think that were it not for those ribs, the team could have been in the mix in the division.
On a related note, maybe it is just me, but I have wondered so many times about that season-ending injury. It was very fluky. I saw him walk by as he left the field. He was in great pain. However, I am convinced that the punishment he took the previous week in St. Louis (the game he was sacked nine time and hit roughly a gazillion time) were really what got him hurt. The human body can only take so much punishment. I have wondered that had that same hit happened in Week 2 or 3 he would not have had his ribs ripped from the sternum. But that is just speculation.
As a fan, I wish things had gone better. I really wanted Kolb to do well. I still think the talent is there to be a very good player. I have read a couple of analyses that say he is a very good rhythm quarterback, one that when he has the protection and time he needs, he is very good, not just average, but very good. He has issues with pressure.
I think he is much like Matt Hasselbeck. He is/was much the same way. While he was not really elite, I don't think a sane Cardinals fan would have complained had he performed like Hasselbeck did for all those years in Seattle. I think he still can be that.
But he didn't and he wasn't. It just goes down as yet another disappointment. As Cards fans, we have experienced more than our share.
It just stinks.