It's that time again. I had time to sit down and look at each of the throws that both Kevin Kolb and John Skelton made. Neither will take too long, being that there weren't a ton of pass plays. We start off with Kevin Kolb, who started well and fell apart after the first drive.
So let us look at what went well and what didn't go so well.
Throw 1: 2nd and 11. Kolb takes three step drop, and it looks like the throw he makes to Early Doucet is his first read and it is open. The ball is on the money.
Throw 2: 3rd down and eight. Kolb was in shotgun. Again, it looks like Kolb was going with his first look. Doucet ran a good route. Kolb gets the ball on target.
Throw 3: On first down, Arizona goes with a token play fake. Kolb goes with his checkdown throw. From what little I can see down the field, there was coverage. He throws to Anthony Sherman a tad high.
Pass attempt 4: This is the terrible intentional grounding play. The protections breaks down and there is pressure that ends up inside. Adam Snyder's assignment is getting past him and Ryan Williams picks up the blitz, but pushes him to the inside. Kolb, instead of simply sliding or sidestepping to the left, rolls out left -- check that, attempts to roll left and for a moment has his back to the play. In the process, Daryn's Colledge's man goes outside and grabs him and that is when Kolb throws. See below the roll. Stepping up would have resulted in a sack, so his thinking wasn't bad. But he should not have turned his back.
If he slides left, he at least can get rid of the ball at a receiver. Just a terrible play.
Pass attempt 5: The safety....The protection was terrible and Kolb held the ball too long. However, in Kolb's defense, Kent Somers wrote this about what Ken Whisenhunt said about the safety.
The sack for a safety, Whisenhunt said, was partially a function of the preseason. In the regular season, the Cardinals would have a specific game plan for calling plays deep in their territory.
In the preseason, they don't. On the sack for a safety, Whisenhunt said the play wasn't ideal because the routes for receivers took too long to develop. A better option would have been something shorter that called for Kolb to get rid of the ball more quickly.
The reality is that there were options available, but they had not been practiced, See this screenshot I got when Kolb feels the pressure coming.
If he makes an immediate throw, he has a couple of options. Michael Floyd was free for a second and the running back (I think it was Alfonso Smith) was free. Kolb has to get rid of the ball. But, as Whiz noted, they don't game plan for that situation yet. Still, he has to get rid of the ball. If you feel pressure in the end zone, at least throw the ball at the feet of the nearest receiver.
Throw 4: Kolb drops back and instead of making a quick throw, moves left and makes a throw to Doucet in tight coverage. It wasn't a dangerous throw and Doucet perhaps could haul it in. The hesitation is the problem. If he is going to hesitate on the quick read (he easily could have hit Sherman on the checkdown), he needs to hang around before fleeing.
Pass attempt 7: Kolb gets killed here. The Raiders rushed eight and based on what can be seen in the broadcast footage, the coverage of the three receivers down the field was good. Kolb stood tall in the pocket and got pounded. he kept his eyes down the field, which kept him from seeing Todd Heap release here. Granted, it was a split second later that he was hit.
Pass attempt 8: Kolb is sacked again. Only a four-man rush and this play is a disaster. Adam Snyder holds on the play and then Kolb throws the ball as he is getting pulled down. Snyder catches it inexplicably and the Cardinals would have been penalized for one of them had the result not been a sack. Kolb did not read his progressions quickly enough. Todd Heap was open early and Kolb needed to make that throw then before Heap was covered. He makes the throw and likely there is a touchdown, much like the Skelton to Sherman score.
Throw 5: This is another Kolb error. He holds on the ball too long. He should hit Doucet over the middle...or hit Javarris James more quickly out of the backfield. He isn't confident in his reads. The result is throwing later to James, who was at the sideline and could not get both feet down.
In the end, we know what it is. A great first drive and then uncertainty. Whether the grounding and safety rattled him the rest of the way and made him think about the rush or not, he played differently. He didn't bail, but he wasn't making quick decisions.
And for those who think I'm blindly in favor of Kolb, I hope you paid attention. There were protection breakdowns that were unacceptable. But in almost every case, Kolb had an out that he didn't use or he just didn't make the decision quickly enough.
Tomorrow...Skelton's throws. That will be easy. There were three.
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