Perhaps the biggest question that new Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians has is how to handle the quarterback position. Of course, Arians is considered a bit of a guru when it comes to developing quarterbacks, so the situation here will put his skills to the test.
On the roster are Kevin Kolb, John Skelton and Ryan Lindley, while Brian Hoyer is a free agent. All of them started games last year, with only Kolb showing any promise. He threw for eight touchdowns and three interceptions. The rest? Three touchdowns and 18 interceptions.
Arians talked about what he is looking for in a quarterback for the team when he was introduced by the team as head coach.
"We obviously want our quarterback to be an accurate player up the field," he explained. "He also has to be a great third down manager, whether the down and distance, to be able to create those tight throws, back shoulder throws. The things it takes to win in the National Football league are on third down and in the red zone. You've got to be able to throw it in tight windows."
He also said, "We want a guy that the entire football team is going to rally behind."
We also know that he wants to throw the ball down the field. "We have six home run plays on the sheet every week," he said. "And we won't go home with any bullets." So that quarterback also has to be able to throw the ball down the field.
All four of the guys can throw the ball down the field. Kolb has the weakest arm of the four, but he can still get the ball down the field. Accuracy down the field? That is an issue for all of them.
Lindley had the best couple of throws of the year down the field, he was very erratic. Both Skelton and Lindley regularly missed down the field. Lindley on several occasions had deep sideline throws that landed 10-15 feet out of bounds.
Kolb? He had a couple of good deep balls, but his story when he started was that he never had time to take shots down the field.
What about the newcomer Hoyer? I looked at his one start and he did a good job at throwing down the field. He took six shots down the field and four looked very good.
Third down manager? No one was very good at it, but Kolb showed a little bit of it. Third down offense was terrible all season. The team only converted on 25.2 percent of their third downs.
Tight windows? Kolb showed he could do it, and Hoyer did as well. Hoyer did not complete a high percentage, but a lot of his balls were right where they needed to be, even in traffic. Skelton showed a throw or two I remember against Seattle in the season opener that made me think he was ready to take the next step. He put a couple of throws in a really tight spot and completed them.
Lindley? I do not recall any throws that were put well in tight windows.
Accuracy? Scratch Skelton and Lindley. They missed a lot of throws. Kolb was erratic and Hoyer was okay.
Someone to rally behind? Skelton showed that in 2011, but there wasn't the same effect in 2012. This was where Kolb succeeded in 2012. He won over his teammates. Ryan Williams, Adrian Wilson and other players all spoke up about Kolb after he was playing again. He was able to get guys going.
Toughness? Kolb has that. He took hit after hit and got back up. He made big throws. He minimized his mistakes in 2012. He did get hurt, though.
Now, Arians did make a point to say, "I'm going to give them all a shot." I don't necessarily think that means that all four guys are going to be in training camp, especially if the team drafts a quarterback. He is obviously going to go over film and look at what he has.
If I had to guess, if there is one guy that will be out, it will be Skelton. Lindley was only a rookie, so Arians might be inclined to keep him in camp to fight for a spot.
I thought that Kolb would be the one guy that Arians would want to work with out of the group, but I actually think that Hoyer might have a shot. That depends on what they do in the draft, though.
Michael Bidwill clearly wants Kevin Kolb to work. he showed some promise in 2011.
Is he an Arians guy? That is the question. Actually, the bigger question is whether any of those four quarterbacks are Arians guys.
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