OAKLAND, Calif. – Ken Whisenhunt wasn’t looking for perfection. He just wanted his players to make a few plays and his quarterback to look comfortable.
The Cardinals provided their coach a reasonable response.
In front of a sparse crowd at O.co Coliseum, the Cards not only beat the Raiders, 24-18, but watched the Kevin Kolb era begin relatively smooth after just a week of practice.
Kolb completed 4-of-7 passes for 68 yards (a 90.2 passer rating) and had a couple of scrambles for another 19 yards, and if running back
“All of us have to work out some kinks,” Kolb said. “They’ve got to get used to my cadence in a live-game setting, getting out of the huddle. There are a lot of things that you can’t duplicate in practice.
“We are learning as we go. We would have liked to put that (second drive) in the end zone but I think, overall, it was successful.”
It felt like the first game after just two weeks of training camp following a lockout-lost offseason. There were a number of false starts – Oakland tackle Khalif Barnes got two in the first half alone – and the Cardinals (1-0) had their kinks in the first dry run of new defensive coordinator Ray Horton.
There were flashes of the blitzes Horton plans to use, and flashes of the holes the Cards still need time to work out.
“It was kind of what you expected,” Whisenhunt said. “I was happy to see us make some plays, especially with that first offense, as far as Kevin running the offense and Larry making some plays down the field. For a first game, especially with the limited amount of work of we had, that’s exciting.
“I am disappointed a little bit that we had mistakes. We didn’t get into position on defense to make some plays when we had a chance to do that … but I am not surprised. This is the first time these guys have ever been together with a new scheme.”
The Cards’ defense did manage to hold the Raiders three times after they had reached the Cards’ 21 or closer, the reason the Cards were eventually able to prevail.
”Coach (Horton) balanced it out, called things we had put in, things we were comfortable with,” linebacker
The offense was the focus, however.
Kolb-to-Fitzgerald wasn’t the only connection that worked. The Cards went down the field early and often, with six completions of at least 20 yards.
The Raiders (0-1) actually took the lead with 2:32 left with an impressive 57-yard Sebastian Janikowski field goal, but the quarterback precession reached No. 4 with
In the end, Kolb turned out to be the only QB without a touchdown pass and a rating of at least 108.1.
“They all kind of muddied the picture,” Whisenhunt said of the quarterback battle. “I was pleased with all four of them.”
Whisenhunt added that the game “wasn’t as bad as I expected.” Which was the idea coming in.
“There is no game plan, we didn’t watch any film, nothing like that,” Kolb said. “So it is more about us than it is about them at this point. I think we all feel pretty good right now and we just have to get back to work the next couple days.”