From the Cheap Seats –
Arizona Cardinals Opening Day
The long-awaited start of the 2012 NFL season kicked off for the Arizona Cardinals at home against the Seattle Seahawks. For months we had watched the well-publicized quarterback competition between Kevin Kolb and John Skelton. For the start of this season Ken Whisenhunt had made the decision to go with John Skelton as the starter for the 2012.
For all intents and purposes the first half of the game this decision appeared to be the correct one. But unfortunately two quarters don’t make up a full game for John Skelton and the Cardinal fans. Skelton clearly struggled in the second half and the whole quarterback controversy came to a screeching halt as Skelton suffered a high ankle sprain and was taken out of the game.
Enter Kevin Kolb to a mix of cheers and boos. I want to stop right here at this point to get in the face of those fans that chose the boo Kevin’s entrance to the game. Having had a lot of experience in coaching myself, I’ve always lived by this one rule that come with game day, we are all one. This concept seems to be foreign to a lot of Cardinal fans that insist on booing Kevin Kolb over his past failures. Personally I think this makes Arizona fans look stupid and does nothing but confirm the talk that Arizona fans are fair weathered at best. Sure it’s easy to cheer for quarterback who’s doing well but it’s a whole other thing to stand with him when he’s not.
There are many forums by which fans can vent their frustration over a player or team but booing a player as they enter the game does no good whatsoever. Especially after Skelton’s injury, it was at a critical part of the game and Kevin Kolb needed our support not boo’s. The skeptics still remain vocal the day after the game and have already gone on record as stating Kevin will fail, come the next game. I think that is pathetic review to have about your favorite team and I think they should be ashamed of themselves. If Kolb fails, it should not be because of a lack of support from the fans.
Now back to the game. The winning drive the Cardinals put together to take the lead in the game has taken a backseat to the referees and their performance on opening day. As most know, the regular officials are on strike against the NFL in the league is forced to use replacement referees. Where I truly feel for these referees what bothers me more is to see players and coaches looking to manipulate the officials. Case in point yesterday was Seattle’s coach Pete Carroll calling a timeout in the closing seconds of the game, knowing that he did not have a timeout. This maneuver accomplished what it was meant to do and brought the game to a stop while the confused referees sort out whether Seattle truly had a timeout to take or not. Carroll had nothing to lose by this action because there is no penalty for calling a timeout when they don’t have one, but what this did was give his offense time to rest for their final push to the end zone. Some may call this a smart move on Carroll’s part but given his history of cheating at the University of Southern California, this action does not surprise me.
The NFL needs to fix this referee situation and get the regular officials back as soon as possible. It’s clear that these replacement officials are in over their heads and you could tell by their demeanor on the field that they are overwhelmed. But I can’t blame them for that feeling because professional athletes are professional whiners and will take any angle they can get to manipulate a call in their favor.
In a nutshell, the Cardinals immediately have pressing needs at the quarterback position and their offense of line was challenged again. Skelton will be out 4 to 6 weeks and for all intents and purposes the quarterback controversy is over. But at this point I would also like to say that my prediction that Ryan Lindley could be playing by midseason is one injury away from becoming a reality. Even with the win yesterday as exciting as it was, did not bode well for the Cardinals future because their offense of line is very suspect.
But we play one game at a time and nothing is for sure. Next week’s game is at New England and the only redeeming factor in that is that it’s September and not December. Personally I believe there isn’t a good time of year to be in the New England area, much less be there during the winter. But let’s hope that the Cardinals come prepared, play tough like they did last year in Baltimore and the defense rises to the occasion and shuts down the Patriots offense. If we can do that, there’s a good chance the Cardinals could come back home with a win.
Let’s hope that’s the case that way we won’t have to listen to all the Kevin Kolb haters whining and complaining about his performance again. Sooner or later these fans will have to give way and support their team after all that’s what fans are supposed to do.
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