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Tag:Ken Whisenhunt
Posted on: October 25, 2011 9:57 am
 

Coach Killers, Week 7: Carson Boller, everybody!

Coach Killers is your weekly look around the league at those performances, decisions and "Wait, what did he just do?!" moments that put the guy in charge squarely on the ol' hot seat. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Raiders quarterbacks (take your pick)
Remember Raiders head coach Hue Jackson in the days leading up to the Chargers game, joking about about drinking irish coffee before deciding on his quarterback? He was coy and evasive about whether Carson Palmer would start less than a week after Jackson swapped two first-rounders for him and save Oakland's season. Carson had spent the previous nine months on his couch refusing to play for the Bengals, and while the Raiders was a better situation for him (think about that for a moment), he didn't know the offense or his teammates, and would no doubt be rusty from having taken nearly a year off.

The QB changed, the results didn't (Getty Images)
So when the Raiders took the field Sunday, it was with backup Kyle Boller. Not ideal, but it's what you have to do given the circumstances. What you can't do, no matter how bad things get against a division rival: you absolutely can not bring Palmer in.

First, because, as we've established: HE'S NOT READY. Second, long-suffering Raiders fans have something this October that they haven't possessed in a decade: hope. (The Raiders entered Sunday's game with a 4-2 record. Since 2002, the last time they went to the Super Bowl, Oakland won four games or fewer for an entire season four times. And they haven't had a winning record since 2002.)  After gazing on Palmer in all his unmitigated awfulness, now that's been taken away from them, too.

Jackson panicked. Boller threw three first-half interceptions, the Raiders got down early, and Jackson, perhaps finally realizing that he had mortgaged Oakland's future, decided to get Palmer some work against a Chiefs team that suddenly looked like defending division champs.

Bad idea. Because when Palmer entered the game in the third quarter, he picked up right where Boller left off, tossing three interceptions of his own. And all the talk about the zip on his throws? He must've left that on the practice field, too, because our first glimpse at 2011 Palmer looked a lot like the 2010 Palmer that struggled with the Bengals.

Yes, we get it, that was his first game action since last season. But that's our point: don't even subject him, his fragile psyche and the fans' hopes and dreams to that in the first place. Not now. It's okay to lose convincingly with Boller. People expect it. But to throw Palmer in the mix and to have that happen … well, that's bad. Really, really, bad.

Not to worry, though.

"This football team is not going to blink," Jackson said after the game. "We've got to play better. We've got to play better offensively. I take full responsibility, because this is a team that I lead, and we didn't play like the Raiders can play."

Um, okay. It gets better (or worse, depending on your perspective).

"We knew they had a quarterback controversy," said the Chiefs' Kendrick Lewis, who pick-sixed Boller's first pass of the afternoon. "We studied film and studied their routes and knew they would have a limited playbook. When we had the opportunity to make big plays and capitalize, that's what we did."

No argument here.


The 4th interception of the day for the Kansas City defense was a pick six off of the newest member of the Oakland Raiders Carson Palmer.

Chargers' two-minute offense
San Diego scored 21 points in the first half against the Jets, and led New York for three and a half quarters. And then, when they needed to score a touchdown with just under two minutes to go, the offense showed all the urgency of a team trying to run out the clock. It was only slightly more inexplicable than the defense's decision to cover Plaxico Burress until he got into the red zone because quarterback Phil Rivers, one of the league's best quarterbacks, is supposed to excel in these late-game situations. Sunday, he did not.

A recap:

* 1:29 on the clock, ball on Chargers' 24-yard line. Rivers to Antonio Gates for 18 yards. Perfect start. We've seen this before, right?

* With no timeouts remaining, Rivers sashays up to the line of scrimmage like it's the first drive of the first quarter. Compounding matters: head coach Norv Turner appears to be in no rush to get the play call into Rivers. Twenty-nine seconds later, the Chargers finally snap the ball. Rivers, perhaps drawing inspiration from Tim Tebow, takes a deep drop before throwing a four-yard pass nowhere near the sidelines. Patrick Crayton makes the catch, the clock continues to run.

* Rivers liked the previous play so much, he runs it again, but only after 46 seconds have elapsed. Seriously.

* On third down, the ball is snapped with 17 seconds left in the game and the Chargers having gained a grand total of 25 yards. Thankfully, Rivers throws the ball a) downfield and b) to the sidelines. It falls incomplete. If nothing else, the clock stops.

* On fourth down, needing 51 yards and with just 11 seconds to do it, the Chargers will undoubtedly call a play that gets them a quick first down and then take one last chance in the end zone. Because, really, they're out of other options at this point, right? Turns out, not exactly. Rivers did something nobody expected: he throws the ball … out of bounds.  And we don't mean in a position near the sideline where only his receiver can make a play. We mean: over the bench, almost into the crowd.

So, yeah, that happened.

"Very disorganized," Tony Dungy said Sunday during NBC's Football Night in America. "You expect more Philip Rivers and that offense." Yes, yes you do, Tony.

Chargers tight end Randy McMichael agrees.

“We had them down and took our foot off the gas,” he said. “I’m not giving credit to anybody. This is our fault. Nothing to do with the play calling … Their secondary isn’t anything. It’s our fault. The guys in this locker room, we lost the game. The San Diego Chargers beat the San Diego Chargers. Nothing to do with the New York Jets. It’s embarrassing.”

Unfortunately, the San Diego Chargers don't get a win and a loss for beating themselves.

Jets cornerback (and former Coach Killers honoree!) Antonio Cromartie had a different take.

"When you're up by 11 points in the fourth quarter, and you can't even finish the game up, that shows what kind of team you are: a team that can't finish," Cromartie told The Newark Star-Ledger. "And that’s been San Diego the whole time. There it is."

And Rex Ryan's response when he was asked about McMichael's comments? "Stay classy, San Diego." We're not kidding.

Week 7 Recap

Kevin Kolb, quarterback, Arizona
You think the Cardinals regret a) trading a second-round pick and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for Kolb, and b) then giving Kolb a $62 million extension? Because we're almost positive Arizona could go 1-5 with pretty much any combination of Derek Anderson, Max Hall and John Skelton.

Against the Steelers, Kolb looked like … well, the same dude we saw behind Donovan McNabb in Philly. We were confused when the Cards gave up so much (and then paid so much) to get him in free agency since Kolb hadn't shown that he was anything other than a quality backup and spot starter.

Kolb threw an interception on Arizona's first possession, which led to seven Steelers' points, and he now has just as many TDs as picks (7) this season. He's also completing just 58 percent of his passes, and missing wide-open targets. On Sunday, he short-hopped a ball to tight end Rob Housler on what should've been a first-half touchdown, and the TD pass he did throw -- a 73-yarder to LaRod Stephens-Howling -- was a Tebow special: the ball traveled 10 yards and Stephens-Howling did the heavy lifting for the final 63 yards to the end zone.

As long as we're making comparisons, here's one more: through six games, Kolb is basically Kyle Boller with a permed mullet. This is not a compliment. (Upside: if there's ever a movie about his life, Danny McBride's getting the lead role, though Kenny Powers might have a better arm.)

Like he did in the team's previous loss, Whisenhunt vowed to examine what the Cards are doing and who's doing it. Clearly, Kolb is part of that examination, although there has been no discussion of replacing him. "I"m not saying that," Whisenhunt told the Arizona Republic's Kent Somers when he brought up the possibility. This is what happens when you pay guys $62 million and you're not really sure if they're going to pan out: you have to play them while you find out. Through six games, Kolb's struggling.

That said, he said after the Steelers loss that he felt he was making progress.

"When you have lost five games in a row, I don't think anybody is progressing at the rate we need," Whisenhunt said when apprised of Kolb's remarks.

"I think you're naïve if you say that. I'm not saying Kevin is naïve to say that. Kevin has made progress in some areas, but I think all know there have been some plays he's left out there."

We don't think Kevin's naive, either. Saying "I'm progressing!" is a coping mechanism.

Titans offense, defense
The biggest game of the season against a hated division rival and Tennessee decides to take the afternoon off. That sums up nicely what we can expect from this team the rest of the season. The Titans stumbled out of the gate losing to the Jags, then beat the Ravens in Week 2, got to 3-1 and then were smoked by the Steelers in Pittsburgh. Following their Week 6 bye, they came out wholly unprepared against a team they see twice a year every year, and following a 41-7 beatdown are now 3-3.

And there were no bright spots Sunday. Texans running back Arian Foster, not happy to just run all over the Titans, added an arial assault to the whipping. He had 115 receiving yards in the first half, including a 68-yard pitch and catch from Matt Schaub. By the time it was over, he had 119 yards receiving and another 115 rushing and three touchdowns.

“We got embarrassed in our own backyard. That’s the tough thing about it,” safety Michael Griffin said. “It can get worse. No team is going to look at us as a team that won three straight games. They’re going to look at us as a team that was 0-and-2 against good teams. We’ve got to turn this thing around.”

Luckily, Chris Johnson and his Amazing Disappearing Act, isn't to blame. At least according to Chris Johnson.

“Basically, if you are watching the game and you really can’t tell what is going on with the run game then I would say you really don’t know football,’’ Johnson said. “I wouldn’t say I am the issue. I am very confident I have been doing the things … I do.”

And in 2011, "doing the things I do" means rushing for 18 yards on 10 carries. Yes, Chris, keep doing that. It's a huge help.

Kyle Boller haunted the Ravens on MNF. (Getty Images)
Tie: Rams defense/Ravens offense
Lord have mercy on both these units. It's the unstoppable force and the immovable object having taken the shape of ridiculously bad football. The Rams, an admittedly dreadful team, got steamrolled by a Cowboys' run defense that, prior to Week 7, didn't exist. Remember: Dallas couldn't run the ball late in the game last week against the Pats' porous D. Against the Rams? It looked like Tony Dorsett and Emmitt Smith joined forces, hopped in a time machine, and went off.

Instead they just lived vicariously through rookie DeMarco Murray, Dallas' third-round pick. Murray's first touch of the game came on the Cowboys' first possession, on first and 19 from the Dallas nine-yard-line. Ninety-one yards later … touchdown. That set the tone for the rest of the afternoon. Murray, who saw extended action because Felix Jones was out with an injury, rushed 25 times for 253 (TWO-HUNDRED FIFTY-THREE!) yards.

Jeff Gordon's Rams Report Card in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is … well, about what you'd expect: Defensive line - F, linebackers - F, secondary - D-minus (woo hoo! passing!).

Head coach Steve Spagnuolo got an "F" too. "Spagnuolo was supposed to build this team from the lines out . . . and yet the Rams keep getting manhandled in the trenches, despite heavy investments there. Overall sloppiness remains pervasive six games into this winless season. … The death march continued."

And that's about the best thing you can say about the 2011 Rams.

The Ravens, meanwhile, entered Monday night's game as one of the best teams in the AFC, with their always-stout defense and a young offense that was supposedly improving. Other than the Week 1 hurting they put on the Steelers (which included seven Pittsburgh turnovers and great field position for Baltimore's offense), and the hapless Rams, the Ravens' offense looks to be right out of the era prior to the invention of the forward pass.

And that's fine if offensive coordinator Cam Cameron is feeding the ball to Ray Rice, easily the team's best weapon. But against the Jags, Rice fumbled early and ended up spending much of the evening on the bench. Predictably, Baltimore's offense faltered. (By the way, if Joe Flacco was benched every time he had a turnover he'd be on the practice squad by now.)

By the time it was over, Rice had eight carries for the night. In related news: the Ravens scored seven points, and that came on the next-to-last drive. Ironically: Flacco threw one of the worst interceptions you'll ever see on the last drive, sealing the win for the Jags.

“It's about as bad as you can play on offense,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said afterwards. “I don't know if we could play any worse than that until that [late] drive."

You can't. We checked. The Ravens didn't get their first first down until the third quarter.

“If we don't get the consistency on offense, we're not going anywhere," Harbaugh continued. "You can't play like we played tonight on offense and expect to win. We all know it. We got our butts handed to us from that sense, and we'll go back to work just like we always do.”

Linebacker Terrell Suggs, like everybody else, has no idea what the offense was doing.

"I don't really know what the game plan was," he told CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco after the game. "When I have a Pro Bowl running back, and he's not getting his touches, I'm going to feel some kind of way about it. He wants the ball. And I think we should feed him. Ray Rice is a phenomenal player. You have to use your phenomenal players. I have to question how many touches Anquan [Boldin] had. We've got guys on this team that can do some great things. We have to use those guys. It's that simple."

And this is why the torch-and-pitchfork crowd will be mobilizing this week and calling for Cameron to be fired (it's a weekly occurrence, but the cries should be especially loud this week after losing to the previously 1-5 Jaguars).


Maurice Jones-Drew ran for 105 yards against the NFL's best run defense, Josh Scobee kicked four field goals and the Jaguars snapped a five-game slide with a 12-7 victory over the Ravens on Monday night.

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Posted on: October 2, 2011 9:00 pm
 

Victor Cruz's non-fumble leads to controversy

V. Cruz thought he was giving himself up, but Arizona thought not (AP).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

It was clear that Giants receiver Victor Cruz thought he was giving himself up when he went to the turf untouched at midfield with 3 minutes to go in the New York-Arizona game, and his thought process was clear because he released the ball before getting up and preparing to run the Giants next play.

He thought he was down, and that was the end of it.

The Cardinals weren’t so clear on the matter, though, treating it like a fumble, recovering the ball and taking over possession leading by three points. Or so they thought.

Except, the officials ruled that Cruz, much like a quarterback sliding feet first, had given himself up, and since they had ruled that way, it was a non-reviewable call, despite Ken Whisenhunt’s best intentions. On the very next play, Eli Manning threw the game-winning touchdown pass to Hakeem Nicks to give New York the 31-27 victory.

So, did the Cardinals get hosed on the call? According to some, yes, they did.

First, the rule states the official shall declare the ball dead when a runner is out of bounds or if he kneels down or falls to the ground and makes no effort to advance. Which is kind of what Cruz did. Maybe. Except it’s a judgment call, and it’s up to the officials to decide if the runner was actually in the process of taking a knee.

Wrote Mike Pereira, former head of officiating on his Twitter account: “In my opinion it should have been ruled a fumble … If you have possession of the ball and you take a knee thats giving yourself up, cruz stumbled.”

So, a judgment call. Did he kneel down, or did he stumble?

“Yeah,” Manning told reporters after the game, “we got a break on that one.”

Said general manager Jerry Reese, via the New York Daily News:  "I'm not sure what the rule is, but that wasn’t the only thing that helped us win the game."

That’s true, and for its part, Arizona didn’t make a big issue of it afterward, saying the team had made too many other mistakes (like, for instance, giving up the touchdown to Nicks immediately afterward). "We don't make no excuses," Darnell Docket said, via Rapid Reporter Craig Morgan. "We just feel we beat ourselves."

But if the Cardinals feel like they got screwed a little bit, I wouldn’t blame them a bit.

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Posted on: August 6, 2011 11:41 am
 

Dockett on Kolb: 'It's like night and day'

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The Arizona Cardinals have been an active participant in free agency and for good reason: the 2010 starting quarterbacks included Derek Anderson, John Skelton and Max Hall, a group that combined for 10 touchdowns, 18 interceptions, a 51 percent completion rate and five wins.

So when offseason rumors about landing Eagles' backup Kevin Kolb became a reality shortly after the lockout ended, it came as a surprise to absolutely no one.

And in just a few days of practice, Kolb has has already made an impression on his teammates. Defensive tackle and alligator caretaker Darnell Dockett got right to the point.

"It's like night and day from last year," Dockett said, according to ESPN.com's Mike Sando. "I don't want to disrespect nobody, but I mean, he's good."

We suspect Anderson, Skelton and Hall wouldn't disagree.

"He's the leader, goes out there and gets the job done," Dockett said. "You can tell the last couple days when he wasn't practicing, he was just so anxious to get out here. That is what you want from a quarterback. You want a true leader that is going to get the ball there and lead the offense down the field, no matter what pressure -- just go ahead and get the job done."

It's early, but this is a huge deal. One of our concerns about any team trading for Kolb wasn't that he could be a legit NFL starter but that it would cost too much to find out. The Cards had to part with starting cornerback and former first-rounder Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, a high-round draft pick, and give Kolb a $63 million deal (including $20 million in guarantees).

But maybe for head coach Ken Whisenhunt, no price was too steep after watching Arizona's offense last season.

"I have been impressed with how he has handled himself, his demeanor," Whisenhunt said. "I think he'll quickly adapt and get better as we go, and that is exciting. He has the right makeup mentally and physically to be successful."

You know what might help Kolb get better sooner? A new (old) pass-catching weapon. PFT.com points us to recent comments from former Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner who, appearing on 620 KTAR, made the case for Arizona adding Randy Moss, who is quickly becoming the retired wide receiver equivalent to Brett Favre.

“I don’t think there’s any question he could help,” Warner said, via PFT. “I still think there’s something in the tank for Randy. . . . He has a great relationship with Larry Fitzgerald. That could be a huge plus coming to this organization. I think a deep threat is something that they need. They need somebody that can stretch the field. As good as Larry is, that’s not the player that he is.”

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Posted on: July 18, 2011 9:50 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 9:54 pm
 

Report: Cards will go after Kolb, could trade DRC



Posted by Ryan Wilson

It's no secret that the Arizona Cardinals are desperate to find a starting quarterback. After Kurt Warner retired following the 2009 season, the team decided to release former first-round pick Matt Leinart and take their chances with Derek Anderson, Max Hall and John Skelton. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt may not have thought enough of Leinart to keep him around but we can't imagine he would have performed worse than the three guys the Cards trotted out their in 2010.

Either way, as soon as the lockout ends, Arizona will move to find their next franchise QB. And according to the Arizona Republic's Kent Somers, the most likely target is a name we've heard often in recent months: Eagles backup Kevin Kolb.

"Look for the club to immediately attempt to trade for Eagles backup Kevin Kolb," Somers wrote Monday. "He is the first choice, but the Cardinals don’t want to give up a ransom for him. They also have interest in the BroncosKyle Orton, who is under contract. The path of least resistance would be to simply sign Marc Bulger, a free agent, and let John Skelton back him up."

Although he has little starting experience, Kolb will cost the most to acquire (more on that in a second). Meanwhile, NFL.com's Steve Wyche thinks that Orton, who has thrown for more than 7,000 yards the last two years in Denver, could be had for a third-rounder. As for Bulger, Mike Jurecki of XTRA 910 in Phoenix tweets that he "doesn't want to play in Arizona according to my source."

The Seahawks, another team in dire need of a quarterback, reportedly offered the Eagles a first- and third-round pick for Kolb earlier this offseason, which sounds unreasonably steep given that Kolb has started seven games in four seasons and has thrown three more picks (14) than touchdowns (11).

But it's all about upside. And NFL Films' Greg Cosell thinks that Kolb is "very, very good" with his first reads although he struggles when he is "forced to reset and look elsewhere."

This sounds like a lot of young NFL quarterbacks. While it's not a glowing endorsement, it could be much worse. Like, say, what Whisenhunt had to endure last season with Anderson, Hall and Skelton. The only question is how much will Arizona have to give up get Kolb. Which brings us back to XTRA 910's Mike Jurecki, who hears things: "Kevin Kolb is the guy, Cardinals are prepared to offer DRC straight up...according to source."

This isn't the first time a Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for Kolb trade has made the rounds. In fact, CBSSport.com's Josh Katzowitz wrote about it last month. It seems like a long shot, but who knows, maybe it will allow the Cardinals to go after Ike Taylor. Then all that will be left to do is petition the league and officially change their name to Pittsburgh West.

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Posted on: June 28, 2011 7:28 pm
Edited on: June 28, 2011 7:38 pm
 

Ike Taylor to the Cardinals would be a long shot

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Here's a headline that should surprise absolutely no one: "Arizona Cardinals could be interested in Ike Taylor."

A lot has to happen for the Cardinals to land the soon-to-be free agent cornerback who spent the first eight years of his career with the Steelers, but since Ken Whisenhunt became coach in 2007, the Pittsburgh-to-Arizona player pipeline has flowed freely.

Before getting the head coaching gig with the Cards, Whisenhunt was the Steelers offensive coordinator. In the four years since he arrived in Arizona, the Cardinals have signed Joey Porter, Sean Morey, Alan Faneca, Jerame Tuman, Bryant McFadden, Brian St. Pierre, and Dan Kreider -- all former Steelers. And there's Whisenhunt's staff: Russ Grimm (an assistant under Bill Cowher) is the Cardinals assistant head coach, Ray Horton (an assistant under Mike Tomlin) is the new defensive coordinator, and Deshea Townsend (a Steelers cornerback from 1998-2009) is the new defensive backs coach. (We won't even mention the Steelers-Cards ball boy connection.)

Ike Taylor's immediate future is contingent on many things, chief among them: the owners and players settling on a new collective bargaining agreement. Beyond that, it will come down to demand and, of course, money. At various stages of the offseason Taylor has hinted that he wanted to stay in Pittsburgh but that he wasn't interested in giving any hometown discounts to do so.

We suppose there's a chance Taylor lands in Arizona (affectionately known as Pittsburgh West), but a lot will have to happen before it gets to that point. Sports 620 KTAR radio's Ron Wolfley (who also calls Cardinals' games, and whose brother, Craig, is a sideline reporter for the Steelers radio network) breaks out the hypotheticals:

"Let's say they deal [Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie] and bring in Kevin Kolb as their quarterback," Wolfley said, according to ArizonaSports.com. "Does Ike Taylor make sense at the corner opposite of Patrick Peterson? I can tell you it makes perfect sense for so many different reasons. Number one, we're talking about a grizzled veteran. A guy who is a true players pro. He's a professional. A guy that would mentor a young Patrick Peterson. A guy that has been in the league nine years and he's been durable as well. He's missed three games in nine years.

"This is a guy who would be a perfect fit because he already knows Ray Horton's defense. He'd have to be brought up to speed on the terminology but playing corner is not exactly the same as playing quarterback in the National Football League if you get my drift. Ike Taylor could do it. You could bring him in. He'd be the perfect guy in this system."

But Taylor wouldn't come cheap (not to mention DRC for Kolb isn't likely). He'll be one of the most sought-after cornerbacks in free agency after Nnamdi Asomugha. And then there's this: recent history suggests that 31-year-old cornerbacks, even those coming off solid seasons, usually see their productivity drop off a cliff in subsequent seasons.

That's not a guarantee that a similar fate awaits Taylor. (Champ Bailey and Charles Woodson have defied the odds. Of course, Taylor was at no point in his career as good as either Bailey or Woodson, so that's worth keeping in mind, too.) But it's a lot of money to spend on a cornerback with his best days likely behind him. Even if he's expected to mentor rookie Patrick Peterson.

By the way, by most accounts, Peterson is a high-character guy who doesn't seem to need much in the way of mentoring. (And if he does, Townsend would be perfectly suited for that role.) Using that logic, Taylor would make perfect sense in Baltimore. But we're pretty sure that ain't happening.

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Posted on: June 19, 2011 4:30 pm
Edited on: June 19, 2011 5:35 pm
 

Leinart could reunite with Carroll in Seattle

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Nothing like a lockout to artificially inflate Matt Leinart's value. The former Cardinals first-round pick in the 2006 draft, Leinart has been underwhelming by any measure. After five starts as a rookie, he toiled mostly as a backup. Leinart was also occasionally characterized as disgruntled, and that eventually led to Arizona releasing him before the 2010 season.

"In fairness to Matt, I think that it would be a tough position for him to be in a backup role," coach Ken Whisenhunt said at the time. "Maybe a fresh start for him is what would be a good thing, for all of us."

Leinart signed with Houston, where he took exactly zero snaps.

Now, according to the Houston Chronicle's John McClain, "the Texans would love to have him back" but admits "Leinart wants to play for a team that'll give him a chance to start. I see him being reunited with Pete Carroll."

Which is the latest evidence that Matt Hasselbeck, who spent the previous 10 seasons in Seattle, will be hawking his wares elsewhere in 2011.

Dan Pompei, writing for NationalFootballPost.com, echoes McClain's thinking that, ultimately, Leinart could end up with Carroll. But just like Whisenhunt in Arizona and Gary Kubiak in Houston, Pompei doesn't think Leinart will be the starter in Seattle, either.
Chances are looking good that the Seahawks may have two new quarterbacks by the time camp opens. They tried to re-sign Matt Hasselbeck before the lockout started and couldn’t come to terms. Now they may move on if they can find a better alternative (hello, Kevin Kolb) as a starter. Getting hurt in each of the last three years has left Hasselbeck vulnerable in Seattle. And it would almost be an upset if the Seahawks didn’t sign Matt Leinart to come in as a backup. The Seahawks might not be crazy about what they have seen of Leinart on tape, but coach Pete Carroll has won a lot of games with him, and he thinks he can win some more.
With the Cardinals, the knock against Leinart wasn't his ability (although his inconsistent efforts in practice didn't help); it was that he wasn't considered a leader.

ESPN.com's NFC West blogger Mike Sando wrote last September that "Leinart could have made this work if he had played by Whisenhunt's rules. He wasn't willing (or possibly able) to do that under difficult circumstances. He complained and pouted and made it impossible for Whisenhunt to name Leinart the leader of a locker room filled with players more closely aligned with the Whisenhunt mindset."

As Whisenhunt said last fall, maybe a fresh start will be good for Leinart, even if he's destined to be a backup. A bit of advice, Matt: try to avoid burning bridges like your former college teammate, LenDale White.

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Posted on: June 16, 2011 3:25 pm
Edited on: June 16, 2011 3:52 pm
 

Trent Cole compares Kevin Kolb to Tom Brady

Posted by Ryan Wilson

If super agent Drew Rosenhaus can call Terrelle Pryor a first-round pick, then Eagles defensive end Trent Cole can compare teammate Kevin Kolb to Tom Brady. Appearing Wednesday on SiriusXM Blitz with Adam Schein, Cole spoke glowingly of Kolb, who has played in just 19 games since Philadelphia selected him in the second round of the 2007 draft.

“Kolb can play," Cole said. "He is very, very accurate. I compare him to Tom Brady. I really do. They can both throw it downfield. But they both know how to use the entire field. They can take five yards and work with that, make it 10 or 15 with yards after the catch. Kolb can make every throw. He knows where his players are. He, like Brady, is a great leader.”

Kolb seems well liked by his teammates, and by most accounts, he has the talent to be an NFL starting quarterback. It's just that the few opportunities he's had to prove it have either ended in injury or poor showings.

Even if Cole is laying it on a bit thick with the Tom Brady talk, "potential" will keep teams interested long after they have any reason to be. In February, before we entered the NFL's version of "Operation Shutdown," Kolb was often mentioned as a possible trade target for QB-needy teams. Here's what Football Outsiders' Bill Barnwell said about Kolb at the time:

"Kolb's raw statistics look worse than [Michael] Vick's -- especially his 3.7 percent interception rate, more than twice Vick's rate of 1.6 percent -- but a lot of that has to do with Kolb's Week 17 start against the Cowboys," Barnwell said. "That game came with rookie Austin Howard making his first career start at left tackle against DeMarcus Ware, and the Eagles left LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson on the bench. Kolb threw three interceptions, two of which came on Hail Mary passes. Take out that game and the Eagles' pass offense DVOA with Kolb under center was 28.9 percent; with Vick, it was 29.9 percent."

Schein suggested Wednesday that Andy Reid's tutelage makes Kolb "the perfect fit in Ken Whisenhunt’s offense." If the conversation is "Do you think Kolb is an upgrade over Derek Anderson?" the answer is a resounding yes. But that's a far cry from "a perfect fit."

Last month, Scout.com theorized that the Cardinals "wonder about [Kolb's] decision making," adding: "But mostly the Cardinals' brass wonders if Kolb is the right fit for ... Whisenhunt's offense. … In theory at least, the Arizona passing design is more vertical than that in Philadelphia, takes some pages from the Mike Martz passing game and expects quarterbacks to drive the ball into the intermediate and deep windows with accuracy."

If there's a new CBA in place in the coming weeks and free agency follows, it's a good bet that Kolb will be traded. We can all agree that he's not the next coming of Tom Brady, but he's certainly better than anyone currently on the Cardinals' depth chart. And sometimes you don't need a Hall of Famer to get you to the postseason, just someone to avoid the icebergs. At the very least, Kolb appears capable of that.

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Posted on: April 4, 2011 11:45 am
 

Hot Routes 4.4.11: Rams interested in Rice?



Posted by Josh Katzowitz

  • In this Pro Football Weekly report, sources tell the publication that the Rams could have some interest in Vikings WR Sidney Rice. Considering how lackluster the current crop of St. Louis receivers are, the move would make sense. But the Rams organization apparently also is leery of Rice’s hip injury that cost him much of last season.
  • The Boston Herald wonders how Tom Brady’s image will be affected by the upcoming Brady v NFL case. Apparently, he can expect a hit to his short-term marketability.
  • The creator of the Madden NFL video game is suing EA Sports for many, many millions of dollars. It could even reach into the b illions. And get this: Robin Antonick’s original game was released in 1988, and it was for Commodore 64, MS Dos and Apple II.
  • Further cementing the idea that Da’Quan Bowers could fall out of the top-10 is Peter King of Sports Illustrated reporting that only one head coach (Arizona’s Ken Whisenhunt) and two GMs (Atlanta’s Thomas Dimitroff and Buffalo’s Buddy Nix) were in attendance at his Pro Day last week.

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