Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

24 Jan 2013

ESPN: QB Fix Could Vault Cardinals

Looking at teams that could improve significantly next season with better quarterback play, the Cardinals stand out. What options do they have?

Posted by: Rivers McCown on 24 Jan 2013

17 comments, Last at 28 Jan 2013, 9:06am by Revenge of the NURBS


by DEW (not verified) :: Thu, 01/24/2013 - 2:56pm

Personally, I think fixing that horrific OL would do far more for the Cardinals than fixing the QB position. Kolb, while he was still upright, was at least a mediocre NFL quarterback, the kind of guy who would make a good backup even if you don't really want to go into the season with him as the starter. Kind of like a more breakable Matt Moore. But that OL wasn't just the worst in the league, it could easily have been the worst line ever. The kind of line that if they put Aaron Rodgers behind it would make him miss Lang, Saturday, and Bulaga. The kind of line that would make Jay Cutler go, "Wow, it really *can* get worse." Especially when you consider the weak QB options available in free agency and the draft this offseason, I think the Cards' time would be better spent upgrading as many spots on the OL as humanly possible. They should be able to secure an improved backup QB to replace the Skelton/Lindley brigade (unless they think Hoyer might actually be an adequate backup).

...Of course, since I'm not an Insider, it's entirely possible that all that was already addressed in the article!

by Tino (not verified) :: Thu, 01/24/2013 - 3:43pm

I agree. It's hard (if not impossible) to judge a quarterback who has poor pass protection and a lousy running game.

Conversely, I'm finding it hard to rate Colin Kaepernick. He stepped into a great situation (great o-line, good running back and receivers) that almost no young quarterbacks get. Obviously he's done everything that's asked of him and gotten his team to the Super Bowl, but I'm wondering how much of his success is a) having great talent around him, b) teams still learning how best to defend him.

by Karl Cuba :: Thu, 01/24/2013 - 4:37pm

While I agree that the 49ers have a very good line and running game, I'm not sure that the same can be said for their receivers? Crabtree has really come on this year and Davis is very good if inconsistent but after them you have 'Stonehands' Walker with the others being either injured or an elderly Randy Moss.

by longtail (not verified) :: Fri, 01/25/2013 - 7:53am

Same with Flacco. It's difficult to evaluate a quarterback with a great running game and a clean jersey.

by JIPanick :: Fri, 01/25/2013 - 4:39pm

Flacco's easy to evaluate.

Great line. Great backs. Acceptable receivers. Mediocre results.

He's a liability.

by Dean :: Thu, 01/24/2013 - 4:00pm

I agree, and I'll go even further. Put Kolb behind a good line and I think people will be shocked at what he might do. People tend to forget that he was Offensive Player of the Week in 2 of his first 6 starts when he was with Philly. The wheels didn't fall off until Pat McQuistan and Bobbie Massey came into the picture. That'd make any QB turn from ice cream to shit.

by justanothersteve :: Thu, 01/24/2013 - 4:53pm

It could have been that line is why Manning went to the Broncos and not the Cardinals last off-season.

by galactic_dev :: Thu, 01/24/2013 - 10:21pm

I'm certain that you're right about that. Did you see Peyton hit the dirt against Raiders pass rushers this season?

by Sifter :: Thu, 01/24/2013 - 5:07pm

Put me in the fix line, not QB club as well. Give Kolb another year to prove himself. He looked much better than Lindley/Skelton/Hoyer, so if I'm the Cards I would hunt for a better backup and/or a mid round draft pick to flush those other punks off the roster. I think they need a better RB, TE and about 3 OLs before they get to Kolb in the list of problems.

by AB (not verified) :: Fri, 01/25/2013 - 9:23am

2 further points in support of that:

(1) The QB class this year is not very good.

(2) Very little point in drafting a QB to have him ruined by a terrible O-line. You want those pieces in place first.

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Fri, 01/25/2013 - 11:45am

I agree in principle, but there's a complicating factor. If I'm Bruce Arians, I've got 3 years, at most, to turn this offense around. Do I use one of them on Kolb, and risk being no better off a year later? I suppose it depends on how you gage Kolb's potential against the other options available in free agency and the draft, which may not be that great this year. Also, the assessment of Kolb's potential has to include the likelihood of him playing a whole season, which he's never done before. (But then that gets back into the "is it the QB, or is it the line" debate...)

by Dean :: Fri, 01/25/2013 - 12:53pm

In a typical year, 3/4 of the starting QBs in the league don't play a full year. Some due to injury, some due to performance.

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Fri, 01/25/2013 - 3:26pm

Instead of full year, I probably should have said "anything close to a full year". Yeah, lots of QBs miss a game here and there. Kolb's career high is 9 games played in a season. You can't build around someone who misses that much time.

by Sifter :: Fri, 01/25/2013 - 8:08pm

And yet Kolb must have played lots of games at Houston in college, or he wouldn't have been a champion of the Lewin forecast, which rewards lots of starts. Is Kolb really injury prone, or is it just random variation? Only the gods know...

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Mon, 01/28/2013 - 9:06am

I wouldn't say it's random variation. It started when he started playing against NFL opponents instead of C-USA opponents.

by AB (not verified) :: Fri, 01/25/2013 - 12:59pm

I'd still fix the line first.

If you draft "the guy" in year 1 and he gets walloped, and doesn't develop in year 2 behind some rookie linemen, you might not get your 3 years at all.

I'd rather have my "guy" play his rookie year in year 2 behind a couple of high-round linemen in their second year, with the likelihood of further improvement in year 3.

by justanothersteve :: Fri, 01/25/2013 - 5:50pm

I'd also fix the line first. I'm not sure if Kolb would be any better than Flynn or Orton, but even a mediocre QB has a chance to win a SB behind a great line (Trent Dilfer, Mark Rypien, Brad Johnson). AZ would still need a better running game, but it could happen (as Judy Tenuta might say).