The Cardinals' priority over the last five games should be improving an offense that's struggled all season. A key to that will be the return of quarterback Kevin Kolb from a foot injury that's caused him to miss the past four games.
Kolb has been out longer than expected, but his injury was more severe than many realized. He had turf toe, a mid-foot sprain and a bone bruise. Almost the entire foot was involved, which made it impossible for him to compensate for pain in other areas.
Kolb desperately needs a month's worth of games to right himself and prepare for next season. In his first three starts, he completed 62.5 percent of his passes with five touchdowns and three interceptions.
He wasn't great, but there were reasons for optimism.
In his last four starts, however, Kolb faltered. His completion percentage dropped drastically, to 52 percent, and he had more interceptions (five) than touchdowns (three).
For a few days last week, it appeared Kolb would be able to return against the Rams. However, he experienced too much soreness after practicing Wednesday and Thursday, and it was decided playing him wasn't worth the risk.
John Skelton is 3-1 as a starter, but he hasn't played well the past two weeks. He completed just six passes Nov. 20 in San Francisco and was 12 of 23 for 114 yards in the victory over the Rams on Sunday.
While Skelton has shown signs of becoming a competent NFL quarterback, it's clear that Kolb is the immediate future. He needs to make considerable progress over the next month, beginning Sunday against the Cowboys.
It's not an ideal opponent for his return. DeMarcus Ware is matchup problem for any offensive tackle, but Cardinals starters Levi Brown and Brandon Keith are weak links. Coupled that with Kolb potentially having a lack of mobility, and his discomfort in the offense, and the results could be disastrous.
With a 4-7 record, this season is obviously lost for the Cardinals. They need to look at the future and devote all resources to fixing what's wrong with Kolb.
Cards' Kolb hopes to return for final month
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