FLAGSTAFF – Kevin Kolb played at University of Phoenix Stadium once before, for the NFC Championship, but that was as part of the visiting Philadelphia Eagles.
Getting back there Saturday for the preseason opener becomes so much more important for Kolb than just a game. And he isn’t the only one. Given the influx of new players and an absent offseason, the matchup with the Chargers becomes a dress rehearsal long before kickoff.
“You don’t want any surprises,” Kolb said. “Getting there, being in the right mindset. That’s the next two weeks, ironing out the kinks, getting down the pregame. I’ve never been in the locker room.
“You don’t want you mind on things like that. You want your mind on the Carolina Panthers. I don’t even know how to get out there (to the stadium. I have to look it up on my phone for directions.”
The Cardinals have 36 players on the current roster who have never been to the stadium as a member of the Cards. And that doesn’t include the new coaches, coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “This is a great opportunity to kick-start it.”
While Whisenhunt wouldn’t fully commit quite yet, Kolb plans to play into the third quarter, again to work on some things he has yet to do – run the two-minute offense right before the half, and come out with the team and play after the halftime break.
Kolb also would like to win in his home debut, especially since it is the most important of the preseason outings.
“This is the one, when you look at the scores, this is the one where you measure everyone up,” Kolb said. “And we want to measure well.”
Wilson said Tuesday that while he knows his own body, his return from a biceps tear was going to be up to the coaches and the medical staff, which is probably a good sign for Whisenhunt.
“We’ve got to make sure we do a good job holding him back a little bit, but that’s a problem you want,” Whisenhunt said. “That’s part of the reason the healing process for him is going well – he’s committed and he wants to get back and he’s driven. I think he’s at the point he understands if he wants to play he’s got to be smart over the next week or so. I don’t think it will be an issue.”
“I’ve heard about it,” Whisenhunt said. “I am hopeful Phoenix is getting it out of its system this week. We’re not worried about it right now.”