Kolb still learning Cardinals' system

The Vikings won't be the only team with a quarterback learning a new system in Sunday's Minnesota-Arizona matchup. But the Cardinals are admitting a getting-to-know-you period between Kevin Kolb and the offense.

Quarterback Kevin Kolb has been an upgrade over the Cardinals' personnel from last season, and he gives the club hope for the future.

But he has a ton of room for improvement, too.

Kolb's biggest struggle seems to be his awareness of the pocket. He's leaving early when he should stay, and he hasn't done a good job of moving a few steps to buy more time.

The biggest reason for that, said coaches, is that Kolb is new to this offense and isn't comfortable enough yet in reading the defense.

"I think the No. 1 thing is we're asking him to do some things in our offense that he hasn't done before, as far as reads and checks and those kinds of things," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "I don't know the degree of what he did in Philadelphia, but it's different, would be a better way to say it. It takes time. You look back now and say I would love to have those three months of the offseason where you could work through these and get those reps.

"I'm not trying to compare the two, but I remember when Aaron Rodgers took over for Brett Favre. I think they went 8-8 that year and there was a process that the team had to get him prepared and he had to get comfortable with the offense, even though he had been in that system for a number of years. It takes some time."

In some West Coast systems, the quarterback doesn't have sight adjustments to make on routes or "hot" reads in case there are blitzes.

It's unknown if that was the case with the Eagles, but Cardinals coaches know they are asking a lot of Kolb, who didn't have the benefit of an offseason.

He has sight adjustments and hot reads to make, and he almost always comes to scrimmage a run-pass option.

Center Lyle Sendlein helps with protection calls, but Kolb is being asked to process a lot without the benefit of preparation time.

Still, there are no excuses for some of the mistakes he's make. For instance, he made a poor decision that led to an interception late in the loss to Seattle.

And last week against the Giants, Kolb took a 10-yard sack on second-and-one. A screen pass was called and was wide open. But Kolb never got rid of the ball and the Cardinals were not able to convert on a first down in Giants territory.


  • OLB O'Brien Schofield is struggling to learn the defense and has returned to wearing a wristband that helps him remember the calls.

  • OLB Clark Haggans is playing well, despite being 34. Haggans has been especially solid against the run and has applied some pressure on the quarterback.

  • RT Brandon Keith hasn't been great when healthy, and now he has a problem with his right knee. Keith is having the knee drained about every other week, a residual effect from surgery last year. Keith said he has some loose particles in the knee, causing it to lock at times.

  • FB Anthony Sherman is doing a better job as a lead blocker and is showing some receiving ability. That should help the team, especially in short yardage situations.

  • OLB Sam Acho is making strides, and the fourth-round pick could get more playing time in the next few weeks. Acho has been rotating in with Clark Haggans, but he can also replace Joey Porter on the right side.

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