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Kolb struggles to find comfort zone in Cardinals' offense

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Dan Arkush
Executive editor

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Posted Oct. 07, 2011 @ 10:08 a.m. ET
By Dan Arkush

Our sources in the desert couldn't agree more that Kevin Kolb has already proven to be a substantial upgrade from last year's sorry situation under center.

But they also agree that Kolb remains a real work in progress, as he continues to fight through the growing pains of dealing with a bit more complicated offensive scheme than the one he dealt with in Philadelphia.

"I'd give him a B-minus, maybe a C-plus," one team insider said when asked to grade Kolb's performance up to now. "I think he's going to be good in the long term, but there's no doubt he's had some struggles.

"They put an awful lot on the quarterback here with hot reads and different audibles. It's not just your basic West Coast system. I think he's struggled a bit to get it all down."

Kolb's late struggles in back-to-back losses to the Seahawks and Giants were particularly hard to stomach.

"That really gnawed at him," the insider said. "But he took full accountability. He's very realistic. There have been some media people that tried to give him an out (after the Giants loss), telling him that, with a few plays here and there, the team could be 4-0 instead of 1-3.

"He came right back and said, 'Yeah, but we're also a play or two away from being 0-4.' That shows me some real maturity."

The consensus is that Kolb certainly has good enough tools to blossom in the desert with his strong arm and better-than-average mobility.

"His arm is good. It's not a cannon, but it's not weak," the insider said. "From the start of training camp, he has needed to work on his deep ball. Too many of his early pases were hard, on a flat line. He's improved that. The team has already thrown more deep passes than it had all of last season."

But don't be surprised if those growing pains continue to pop up on occasion.

"Sometimes he will move right into pressure when he has time," the insider said. "He's not entirely comfortable in the pocket yet, and he definitely has flat-out missed his share of open guys.

"But I do believe the vast majority of fans realize that he offers a step in the right direction, and they want to see him make progress."

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