FLAGSTAFF – When Kevin Kolb got outside and turned the corner en route to a 15-yard gain, it was a part of a quarterback’s game that was never available from a Kurt Warner, Matt Leinart or Derek Anderson.
The Cardinals aren’t going to go and ask Kolb to be Michael Vick or anything. His mobility helps, but “if you are asking if we are going to have four or five designed quarterback runs in a game? Probably not,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said.
“I think you don’t take it into account unless you have some naked (bootlegs), things like that,” Whisenhunt added. “When things break down, which happens in this league, quarterbacks can keep plays alive with their feet and make plays.”
Whisenhunt noted the ability to move around can be great even if the quarterback isn’t gaining 50 yards rushing a game. That’s what Whisenhunt had as offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh when Ben Roethlisberger arrived.
“I had the great fortune of working with and coaching one of the best I have ever seen with that in Pittsburgh,” Whisenhunt said. “Ben was able to extend the play and make plays down the field. That is one way to have success. You still have to be able to stand in the pocket and make your reads and put the ball accurately and on time. You don’t necessarily count on his ability to run, but it certainly is a bonus when things break down.”
Kolb ran often in college at the University of Houston, and he hasn’t been shy to run since arriving in the NFL. Kolb gained 65 yards on 15 carries for the Eagles last season over five starts.
“It’s not the best part of my game, but I like to think I can move around if I have to,” Kolb said. “I want to be able to move in the pocket subtly. Getting out and run, anyone can do that. To be in the pocket and trust it, there is a fine line there and you have to make sure you trust that O-line at all times.”
The hope is that new defensive coordinator Ray Horton’s scheme will create some sacks. Other times, Whisenhunt said, “we’ve got to be better in winning our one-on-one matchups.”
“Quite frankly we need some players to stand up on defense and win one-on-ones,” Whisenhunt said. “As a pass rusher, you have to win. Not every battle. But you have to win some of the battles.”