Wednesday, October 3, 2012
A vote for Kevin Kolb after Cards' 4-0 start
By Mike Sando
The NFC West has produced four recent NFC players of the week, a 9-3 record outside the division, an 8-0 home record, an NFL-high 11 victories and one of three teams with a 4-0 record.
Surely someone from the division, and specifically from the unbeaten Arizona Cardinals, should receive a mention in the league MVP race.
We have a nomination: quarterback Kevin Kolb, whose box-score stats line up quite nicely with those of Aaron Rodgers, listed third on the MVP Watch.
Kolb led a fourth-quarter comeback victory against Seattle in Week 1. He did it again, this time with even greater flair, during a 24-21 overtime victory over the Miami Dolphins in Week 4. Between those games, Kolb generally avoided mistakes while the Cardinals' defense dominated against New England and Philadelphia.
We could easily harness that body of work into a redemptive narrative, suggesting Kolb has finally arrived after learning from his mistakes and enjoying better luck with injuries. I'd like to see more.
The Cardinals are averaging a league-low 4.3 yards per offensive play. Their defense played a leading role in the team's first three victories. The team has continued to win close games, just as it did when John Skelton was the starter. How well is Kolb playing?
The Miami game was the one instance this season when the Cardinals needed their quarterback to carry the offense for long stretches. Kolb threw three touchdown passes and held up physically despite eight sacks. He was at his best in forcing overtime with a 15-yard scoring pass in the final 30 seconds. The performance was a net positive.
However, the late interception Kolb threw on second-and-goal from the 2-yard line lingers in my mind. Was it an aberration? Was it a sign of what to expect when the Cardinals need to run their offense through the quarterback? We'll have a better idea as similar situations arise.
On Thursday night, Kolb faces a St. Louis Rams defense that led the NFL in interceptions with eight until Chicago collected five Monday night.