Trusting the pocket

Posted by Darren Urban on September 15, 2011 – 11:13 am

Kevin Kolb’s debut as a Cardinal couldn’t have gone much better — 18-of-27 passing for 309 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. His two scoring throws were impressive both physically — avoiding the blitz to buy time to get the ball to a wide-open Jeff King on the tight end’s 48-yard TD — and mentally — calmly but quickly hitting Early Doucet on an all-out blitz leading to Doucet’s 70-yard catch-and-run.

The quarterback is looking to adjust some parts of his game, however. One of them is staying in the pocket longer on certain plays — ironic in a way, since that was the thing everyone wondering if rookie Cam Newton was going to be able to do last week.

“There were a couple of times when he should have stayed in the pocket and made a throw,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “That’s getting the feel for his teammates and those live situations. They brought a number of different pressures and brought a couple of different defenses that you don’t prepare for because they hadn’t shown them. … Those are the things you have to work through.”

Kolb called the stay-in-the-pocket vs. move “a fine line.” “There were absolutely a couple plays where I got out too quick and didn’t trust the protection,” Kolb said. “We also made plays when we got out and moved. Again, there is a give and take. But I have to trust the line to do the job and when it’s time to make a play with my feet, I will do that.”

Staying in the pocket doesn’t necessarily mean staying still. Moving up in the pocket at times can help, and can also help the offensive linemen shield off their pass rushers a little longer.

Most games, a quarterback is going to have at least a couple of pocket decisions that probably should go the other way, but “there are two or three games a year where you always do the right thing and the timing is in your head,” Kolb said. “The more time I get with these guys, the more confidence we get as a unit and we will keep rolling.”

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31 Responses to “Trusting the pocket”

  1. By Porter on Sep 15, 2011 | Reply

    He did seem to run from the pocket a bit much, and it seemed that he probably only needed to take a step or two and get a clear path for the ball. But he was very effective, and if that’s his biggest problem I’ll take it. Besides, that’s something that can be fixed.

  2. By We Missed Q on Sep 15, 2011 | Reply

    Maybe if he had not gotten hammerred by the guy Levi was supposed to be blocking, twice in the first couple series, maybe he would have not been so anxious to leave the pocket.

  3. By Ron on Sep 15, 2011 | Reply


    I can’t blame Kolb if he does not want to stay in the pocket. The weak side is the LT and If he watched the old films of Kurt Warner it probably scared him. What do yo think?

  4. By Darren Urban on Sep 15, 2011 | Reply

    Ron —

    RE: Kolb scramble

    I think that’s why it’s called “trusting” the pocket.

  5. By Dynosoar on Sep 15, 2011 | Reply

    I don’t know when he should stay in the pocket or when he should leave it. I know I enjoyed the game and the outcome even more.

    I liked that Kevin found so many targets. Fitgerald won’t be double teamed so much with so many threats available and that will give Kevin and Larry opportunities to connect.

    Am I worried about our defense? No. It was the first game and they held off long drives, it was big plays that got them and that can be fixed.

    Oh and one last thing, if Washington had gotten the first interception, the game would’ve changed and there’s no guarantee another opportunity would’ve presented itself. Peterson may not have gotten his punt return.

    Then again, it may have changed the game that Washington or another might’ve gotten two more interceptions and Peterson may have been able to pull off two punt returns.

    My point, the lost interception would’ve changed the game and we don’t know what would’ve happened, let alone say he’d have had two interceptions credited. The Panthers may have stepped it up and we’d have lost.

    I’ll take the one interception and the leagues apology to Marshal over an unknown outcome. We one and Washington will make a huge mark in his career, he doesn’t have to have it all in one game.

  6. By Blair on Sep 15, 2011 | Reply

    You are taking it too far. Washington gets the pick, they don’t score before the half. You can “what if” it all day long, but seven less points before the half would have helped a ton. No doubt about that.

  7. By Dynosoar on Sep 15, 2011 | Reply

    Torn this weekend.

    My favorite three teams are

    1. the Cardinals (since 1977).

    2. the Tennessee Volunteers (since 1988) and

    3. anyone playing the Cowboys (since 1977).

    (So far all 3 of my favorites are undefeated this season. It’d be great to see that by years end.)

    My problem, how do I root for my third team when it’s the 49rs? We’ll just have to wipe out my third teams win against the Cowboys the two times we meet them later.

    Go Big Red!
    Go Big Orange!
    Down with Dallas!

  8. By wayne on Sep 15, 2011 | Reply


    I did see him leave the pocket a coule of times to many but I also thought he rolled out to the right about 5 times where he tossed the ball to the sidelines or out of bounds, one which was almost intercepted, where those called role outs or was he getting out of the pocket to soon?

    Thanks, Wayne

  9. By Darren Urban on Sep 15, 2011 | Reply

    Wayne —

    RE: Kolb movement

    Some were designed rollouts.

  10. By Ham on Sep 15, 2011 | Reply

    Kolb is better than that garbage qaurterback squad we had last year. I think he did an outstanding job against the blitz. If he can make quick accurate passes againts the blitz, theres no telling how dangerous this team can be. Not to mention Bennie had a hell of a game running the ball. if our line can hold up this year and play as a sound unit, I feel good about our chances week in and week out.

  11. By WVcardsFan on Sep 15, 2011 | Reply

    If I had Levi Brown as my LT, I wouldn’t trust the protection, either.

  12. By joez on Sep 15, 2011 | Reply

    the line stunned me, before the game i wouldve said “run run run Kolb” cuz i had no confidence with the line but wow they did a very GOOD job with the pass and the run. unlike warner and last year, kolb is a long time franchise qb and he needs to be protected more so. Offense Line you are the key to a winning season and the div tittle. Great Job Men Great Job, even you Deuce my nemesis, Great JOB!!

  13. By Jesse on Sep 15, 2011 | Reply

    This should be a great test of Kolb’s ability to stay in the pocket. Washington is looking like their 3-4 can generate some serious pressure.

  14. By Matt Huey on Sep 15, 2011 | Reply

    After Levi Brown let Kolb get hammered twice early in the first quarter, you really can’t blame him for losing trust in his blind side protection. In his mind, rolling out and throwing to the sideline was a better outcome than letting a sack stall another drive. If we can keep him clean early I expect him to opperate much more efficiently out of the pocket. That being said, his two TD passes out of the pocket were unbelievable and should not be overlooked.

  15. By Joe Holst on Sep 15, 2011 | Reply

    Just don’t fumble and throw too many picks and were good.. Darren do you think the new holder is affecting Jay Feeley?

  16. By Jesse Robles on Sep 15, 2011 | Reply

    Kolb played the Redskins twice a year while with the Eagles, hopefully that helps out some. Just need to play consistent, and have our secondary come through, could be a force. Not putting Beanie down, but if we had Lil Sweetness too…man, that will be fun to watch. Dan and David are going to be a tandem in the middle. Pretty excited to see how many yards our front SEVEN allow Tim to get, especially with the D holding Dangelo and Jonathan to a small amount of yards for the two of them. Stew gets to get in there too, funny how little depth we had at LB and OL now we are sitting ok. Consistency is key though, Cant wait til Sunday! Lets Go Cards, Lets Go Red Sea!

  17. By Brian R. on Sep 15, 2011 | Reply

    I really hope Kevin Kolb plays his best against the Redskins. Their fans are talking so much crap about the Cardinals in the NFL discussion room. Lets go Cardinals!!!

  18. By kaleb on Sep 15, 2011 | Reply

    They heard our cries!

  19. By Card's Refugee on Sep 15, 2011 | Reply

    It looked like early in the game that Leonard Davis..oops I mean Levi Brown couldn’t hold his edge and may have played a part in spookng Kolb.

  20. By Dynosoar on Sep 15, 2011 | Reply


    If you were commenting on my comments, I have just read all week that Washington would’ve had two picks. I just think we don’t know that. He mihght’ve had one, two or more.

    The game would’ve been changed and I like your thinking that having an extra seven points on our side would’ve been great.

    I’m excited for Sunday. I pick Washington to pick off Washington this week as well.

    Indy, here we come.

  21. By tom on Sep 15, 2011 | Reply

    net year we better go LT 1st round and another o lineman in 2nd or 3rd

  22. By Eric on Sep 15, 2011 | Reply

    How many years are we going to talk about Levi Brown and how he STILL can’t protect a QB. I mean the guy is still being talked to about technique, how embarrassing. Kolb is not the problem, the LT is the problem. When is enough, enough? Of course, we did nothing to improve at the position, so we better pray a blind side hit doesn’t hurt Kolb. I would like to think with the investment we have in the QB, OL breakdowns cannot be tolerated.

  23. By cooldaddy79 on Sep 15, 2011 | Reply

    Man, espn is talkin crap about our secondary. I hope those corners take it to heart,and start putting in the extra work,like staying after practice. I’m sure they will.
    Go Cards!

  24. By drummer-1 on Sep 15, 2011 | Reply

    Good job Levi, no matter how you play, someone will find fault…

  25. By Gabriel Hernandez on Sep 16, 2011 | Reply

    Why is Anthony Sherman allowed to wear number 35 when aeneas williams is in the ring of honor? Doesn’t that mean 35 is retired?

  26. By Darren Urban on Sep 16, 2011 | Reply

    Gabriel —

    RE: Aeneas 35

    Players in the ring of honor do not have their numbers retired necessarily. There are only five numbers the Cardinals have retired: Pat Tillman (40), Larry Wilson (8), J.V. Cain (88), Stan Mauldin (77) and Marshall Goldberg (99).

  27. By APCARDS on Sep 16, 2011 | Reply

    Hope Michael Adams can help out at CB on Sunday! I would love to see him get an interception this week! GO Cards!!!!!! I just saw a Cardinal the other day at work, it is a good omen!!!!! GO CARDS!!!!!!

  28. By TucsonTim on Sep 16, 2011 | Reply

    You can’t step up in the pocket when the tackle lets his man take an inside rush.

  29. By cards62 on Sep 16, 2011 | Reply

    Smart Cardinal Fans – Kevin Kolb I liked, but he was not my first choice for our QB in the off season because of what we thought his cost would be and turned out to be, but Kevin Kolb for me gets an A+ for his game against the Panthers, and if he plays like this all the time we are set for years. I am glad Darren said several of the
    rollouts were planned as they look planned to me, and I think this was a good coaching move. I really like how mobie Kevin Kolb plays. A very nice surprise for me. Redskins do not have a great front 7, but they have a good front 7 so we should know a lot more after week 2 about our OL if we will run the ball.

    I am not a Levi Brown hater as it is not his fault we drafted him # 5 overall and he is what he is, and the man can run block incredibly well. Shame on us for paying him 9 million dollars and making him a left tackle and a right tackle. I think he is a pro bowl 6 million dollar guard. You would think we would have learned from Leonard Davis, but we do not, and I am afraid Dallas once again will scoop another Cardinals up and make him a pro bowler.

    If our defense holds teams to 21 points or less every game I will be okay with this, and I think our record will be very good if our D can do this. Carolina had a good game plan against us so once again it will be very interesting to see how Horton’s defense plays against the Redskins. I just hope our D. Washington can play at a high level and I hate the early start time.

    This game scares me the most of our first 4 games because of the early start time, and east coast trip. I think this is going to be a hard hitting close game with our Cardinals coming out on top 20-17.
    Go Cards

  30. By Brad O'neill on Sep 16, 2011 | Reply

    i think our defense was set up to stop the run last week, and it was fairly effective at that. i don’t think the coaches thought cam would be as good as he was with the pass and they gambled that if they stopped the run he would not be effective. this week we will be geared more towards stopping the pass and stripping hightower. I mean if hightower owes us cards fans one thing its a damn fumble. 🙂

    I don’t fault the cards for working with levi brown instead of starting over. He has issues but its not like there are hundreds of nfl caliber left tackles just waiting in the wings. I dont think there was any as good as levi in this past draft. so you work with what you have and hope he gets better.

  31. By Scott H on Sep 16, 2011 | Reply

    Thrilled to have Kolb here. And speaking of QB’s…anyone heard from Donavan McNabb lately? All I can say is I’m glad it didn’t happen here.

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