Kurt Warner: Kevin Kolb 'hasn't been able to grasp system enough to slow game down'

Kurt Warner: Kevin Kolb 'hasn't been able to grasp system enough to slow game down'

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com
Kolb's hold on the starting job is tenuous at best. (US PRESSWIRE)

Please do not question Kevin Kolb's toughness. Raiders defensive lineman Tommy Kelly called the Cardinals' quarterback "scared" after the two teams met in the preseason and that prompted this response from Kolb:

"Scared? Scared of what?” he told the Arizona Republic's Darren Urban. "Taking a hit? I have never been afraid of anyone on the field and that will never change. That includes Number 93 [Kelly]. There's a fine line between holding in the pocket and trying to escape to make a play. Tommy Kelly is too clueless to know the difference. I don't mind people criticizing my play. Don't ever question my toughness."

Fair enough, Kevin, we'll just focus on criticizing your play. Or specifically, former Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner will.

"I see the same thing I saw last year," Warner said according to the Republic's Dan Bickley. "I see a guy who hasn't been able to grasp the system enough to slow the game down, or he doesn't have confidence in what he's seeing. Maybe he understands what the offense is asking him to do, but the game is going too fast, and he's not pulling the trigger."

And that encapsulates nicely Kolb's rocky tenure in Arizona. The problem: when the organization traded for him last July, it came at the expense of cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, a second-round pick, in addition to Kolb's $63 million extension ($20 million guaranteed). Given that Kolb and backup John Skelton put up similar numbers last season and Skelton only counted $400,000 against the salary cap, it's fair to suggest that Kolb wasn't worth the $4 million he made in 2011. It's also why -- along with the lack of productivity -- Skelton could end up as the Week 1 starter.

"I've been in games when it's hard to get the game to slow down, and it's not a fun place to be," Warner continued. "Everything looks like a jumbled mess. Sometimes you're nervous, sometimes you're anxious.

"When I watch (Kolb) on film, it looks like he's looking in the right spots. But that doesn't mean he's seeing it, or that he's seeing what I'm seeing. But he's looking at it and not letting the ball go. What's causing that?"

These are questions the Cardinals should've asked before trading for Kolb. But to quote every athlete ever: It is what it is. And for Kolb, that means a likely spot on the bench. And if things don't drastically change -- either in his play or his salary structure -- he'll almost certainly be looking for work next offseason. The thought that teammates prefer Skelton isn't quite so preposterous -- or funny -- now as it was just four weeks ago.

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