Thoughts as Cardinals lose Kolb for a while

Neither the Arizona Cardinals nor the Philadelphia Eagles is gloating these days.

Both teams are riding two-game losing streaks after overcoming offensive deficiencies earlier in the season.

The big trade they made before the 2011 season hasn't helped either team as much as anticipated.

Now comes news that Kevin Kolb, the quarterback Arizona acquired from Philadelphia in that deal, will miss several weeks with an injury similar to the one St. Louis Rams receiver Danny Amendola suffered recently.

2012 QB Comparison

"Kolb will be unable to play Sunday vs. Minnesota and is expected to be out several weeks after he had multiple ribs detach from his sternum and also suffered a sprained sternoclavicular joint in his chest area against the Buffalo Bills this past Sunday," ESPN's Adam Schefter reports, citing a team source.

The team subsequently released the following update: "CT & MRI results showed no fracture in ribs or sternum. Tests did reveal cartilage damage in his ribs and an SC joint sprain which will keep him out an unspecified period of time."

That means Arizona will proceed with John Skelton as its starter and, most likely, rookie Ryan Lindley as its backup.

Kolb will presumably heal in time to return at some point this season.

Financial considerations will force the team to evaluate whether to keep Kolb beyond this season, and at what price. The contract he renegotiated in 2011 called for his base salary to jump from $1 million this season to $9 million in 2013. The team will need to know by then whether Kolb qualifies as a franchise quarterback.

In 2011, Kolb lasted seven games as the Cardinals' starter before suffering a turf-toe injury that forced him out for four games. He suffered a concussion in his second game back from the toe injury, then missed the final three games.

Kolb lasted five games as the Cardinals' starter this season after subbing for an injured Skelton in the opener and leading the winning touchdown drive.

Kolb has been up and down, often in the same game. The winning plays he made against Miami three weeks ago came after he threw an interception in the end zone while Arizona was holding a 14-13 lead midway through the fourth quarter. He has played behind an offensive line that has struggled in pass protection, particularly at tackle. The team was increasingly easy to defend following injuries at running back as well.

The injury Kolb suffered Sunday stemmed from a mix-up involving second-year backup running back William Powell. Powell went to the wrong side, preventing Kolb from handing off. Kolb ran with the ball and went down hard when tackled.

"It was a miscommunication," coach Ken Whisenhunt told reporters Monday. "We checked into a play in that situation, and William is a young player and he didn’t get it, unfortunately. But, there were a lot of things he did well for us [Sunday]. He ran the ball well for us in the second half and did some good things. That was just unfortunate that it happened the way it did."

The Cardinals' injury situation has been unfortunate all season. Skelton, Levi Brown, Jeremy Bridges, Beanie Wells, Ryan Williams, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Todd Heap and now Kolb are among the leading offensive players missing significant stretches.

The chart compares Kolb's production to Vick's production as a means to revisiting the trade.

Philadelphia received from Arizona cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who has played well at times, but not consistently. The Eagles, who fired their defensive coordinator Tuesday, also received a 2012 second-round draft choice from the Cardinals. Philadelphia traded that pick to Green Bay for picks the Eagles used on Vinny Curry and Brandon Boykin. Curry has yet to play. Boykin has three starts.