What Kevin Kolb's Injury Means for the Arizona Cardinals' Future

Andrew NordmeierContributor IIIOctober 14, 2012

Kolb lays on the ground following the hit that injured him in Week 6 against Buffalo.
Kolb lays on the ground following the hit that injured him in Week 6 against Buffalo.Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

Injuries happen in football but when they happen to a quarterback, they're always magnified. Arizona Cardinals starting quarterback Kevin Kolb went down hurt in the fourth quarter of their 19-16 overtime loss to the Buffalo Bills Sunday afternoon at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Kolb was driving Arizona down the field to get in range for a game-tying field goal with two minutes and 45 seconds left and the Cardinals down 16-13. He had been rolling out of the pocket and taking off running a la Aaron Rodgers but didn't find the same success. 

Kolb picked up 22 yards on a scramble to have the Cardinals convert a 1st-and-20 situation from their 19-yard line. 

On the next play, he got hurt. He rolled out to his right and saw some daylight but was tackled by Chris Kelsay and Alex Carrington. Kolb was carted off the field with 2:05 left after getting his right shoulder slammed hard into the turf. He walked back to the locker room, albeit gingerly, and didn't return. 

According to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic, Kolb suffered a rib injury but nothing more specific was described. 

Just like last time, the second-string quarterback entered the game but there were no game-winning heroics. 

John Skelton made his first appearance since the season-opening game against Seattle and looked flat. Skelton finished just 2-of-10 passing for just 45 yards. He came off the bench cold and never found his rhythm. 

Despite Skelton's weak performance, he was still able to get the Cardinals in position to tie the game when Jay Feely hit a career-best 61-yard field goal with 1:14 left to force overtime. Skelton was picked off by Jairus Byrd in overtime and Byrd ran it back to set up Rian Lindell's game-winning field goal. 

While the injury itself is unknown, the impact is immediate. 

Kolb suffered a rib injury when he was drilled to the turf in the Hall of Fame Game by the New Orleans defensive line. That was a rib contusion, but he didn't miss the next preseason game.

It's unknown at present how much time, if any, Kolb will miss. 

Skelton will have to step up and run the offense as best as he can. When he had the reins against Seattle he completed 14 of 28 passes for 149 yards and an interception. There will be some timing issues in the near future, starting with next week's game at Minneapolis against the Vikings

Skelton doesn't have the mobility that Kolb does so he will be more susceptible to sacks behind the Cardinals offensive line. The line has played poorly and allowed Kolb to be sacked 22 times in the last three games. Because of the line's inability to block, Skelton is going to face more pressure and be forced to make more passes under duress. 

There is going to be additional pressure on running back William Powell and the running game as well.

Powell looked good against Buffalo, picking up 70 yards on 13 carries, but will face a tough Minnesota defense next week. LaRod Stephens-Howling was largely ineffective on the ground with 22 yards on 11 carries. He gained half of those yards on one carry. 

The injury to Kolb couldn't have come at a worse time schedule-wise.

They visit the Vikings next week before hosting San Francisco on Monday Night Football. A trip to Green Bay awaits them in Week 9 in their last game before their bye week. Arizona will either face tough defenses or strong offenses in the next three games, and it will put a lot more stress on the entire team leading into the bye.