Kevin Kolb: How Long Can He Survive the Arizona Cardinals Offensive Line?

Michael BrumaginCorrespondent IIIOctober 5, 2012

Defenses are growing to love Kevin Kolb, who has hit the turf more time than he'd like in recent weeks.
Defenses are growing to love Kevin Kolb, who has hit the turf more time than he'd like in recent weeks.Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

This season has taught us that we wrote Kevin Kolb off too soon. Without his play, the Cardinals would not have entered Week 5 unbeaten.

Unfortunately for Kolb, Week 4's overtime victory, at home against the Miami Dolphins, proved to be the blueprint of things to come. The defense of the Dolphins, powered mostly by the efforts of Cameron Wake and Karlos Dansby, rattled Kevin Kolb to the tune of eight sacks.

The win was Arizona's fifth-straight victory in overtime, going back to Week 9 of 2011. It was also Miami's second overtime loss in consecutive weeks.

"It's not luck, I can tell you that," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "It can't be luck as many times as we've been successful with that...Fortunately for us, the overtime thing continues to work for us."

As much as coach Whisenhunt may think that luck hasn't played a role in his team's overtime successes, he may want to consider that Arizona's luck, in general, may be running out.

On the heels of their humiliation at the hands of the Dolphins' defense, the Cardinals' offensive line furthered their own embarrassment, giving up nine sacks in a road loss to the St. Louis Rams.

With the exception of defensive end Robert Quinn, who had three sacks, the Rams' decimation of Kevin Kolb was a collective effort. James Laurinaitis, Cortland Finnegan, Jo-Lonn Dunbar, Bradley Fletcher, Jermelle Cudjo and Chris Long all had one sack each.

Including sacks, Kolb has endured 21 hits in the past two games alone.

The success of any team is highly dependent upon the health and stability of its quarterback.

It's not saying much to state that a QB's health is greatly dependent on his team's ability to keep opponents from touching him. The Cardinals, however, have been getting progressively worse at just that.

Going back to Kolb's first start in Week 2, they have given up two, three, eight and nine sacks in succession.

Now having absorbed a total of 22 sacks on 33 hits over only four starts, one has to wonder how long Kevin Kolb will last if the play of the offensive line doesn't improve.

The league record is 76 sacks taken by one quarterback in a season.

That quarterback was David Carr of the Houston Texans in 2002. Carr is actually in the Top Three twice, having also endured a 68-sack season in 2005. At this current pace, it isn't unimaginable to think that Kevin Kolb could soon see himself in the Top 20 of this historical list.

One thing is clear: The NFL is a league notorious for employing copycat tactics.

Coaches mimic successful schemes—both offensive or defensive. As such, the blueprint to disrupt Arizona's passing attack has been established and confirmed by the efforts of the Dolphins and Rams for other teams to follow.

With 11 games remaining, should Kolb remain healthy, how many more sacks will he endure?

Recent history would lead one to believe that he is more likely to get his bell run and sit most of the season with concussion symptoms. If not, he'll survive long enough for the quality of his play to falter, before having John Skelton replace him again.