Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb scrambles right during Sunday night's 17-10 loss to the Saints. Kolb completed the pass on the play, but he also bruised a chest muscle.
CANTON, Ohio – The regular season doesn't start for more than a month, and at this point, the Cardinals still have to play the equivalent of a full preseason based on any other year but this.
Yet step one in the 2012 process was the Hall of Fame game Sunday night at Fawcett Stadium, a 17-10 to the New Orleans Saints that left coach Ken Whisenhunt lamenting about the mistakes and Kevin Kolb's first entry into the quarterback competition a forgetful one.
Kolb, who got the start, threw an interception on his first play. And on his only completion, he was tackled hard by Saints defensive lineman Sedrick Ellis, ending up with a bruised muscle in his chest and forcing him from the game.
"I don't think the football was that great but the experience (at the Hall of Fame) was good," Whisenhunt said.
Whisenhunt said Kolb's injury wasn't serious and he could still practice this week.
"It's a little bit unfair to Kevin, because we weren't doing as good a job up front early in the game and then we settled down," Whisenhunt said. "He'll get his opportunities as we go forward so that's why you have to be careful about making judgments on that first experience."
"You never want to have an injury in the preseason, especially in an early game like this," said quarterback John Skelton, whose lone full series resulted in a touchdown drive. "But he will be OK.
"The Saints gave us some different looks. … We've only had eight practices, so it's hard to just get thrown into a game, but I think we eventually responded well."
The Cards had a chance to go on defense first, and on the first play harried Saints quarterback Drew Brees to a one-yard shovel pass on which he barely escaped a sack. Brees then went with short passes against the attacking Cards, aided by the first of many missed tackles.
"We were horrible in tackling, whether it was on kickoff coverage or defense," Whisenhunt said. "You know there will be mistakes."
Missed tackles hurt the Cards on special teams all night, and also again on the Saints' final 94-yard drive right before halftime to score a touchdown.
"We don't really tackle in practice, we tag off, but I know this week there will be a big emphasis of making sure you are in position," linebacker O'Brien Schofield said. "A lot of us were talking, we haven't really tackled since last season. If we would have made the tackles tonight, we would have limited the big plays."
Skelton engineered a 90-yard touchdown drive – helped by 45 yards rushing by Alfonso Smith – to tie the game at seven when Smith ran in a four-yard score. Skelton ended up completing 4-of-6 passes for 32 yards, leaving the game after his touchdown drive. Kolb was 1-for-4 for four yards and his pick.
Rookie Ryan Lindley got his first action, completing 10-of-21 passes for 118 yards, although he lamented an interception in the final couple of minutes near the goal line, after he had driven the Cardinals near a game-tying touchdown.
Rookie wide receiver Michael Floyd had his first catch, a 15-yarder for a first down.
"You always have things to improve on," wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. "The first couple of series, we know we are better than that. It's the first game, we've only been at camp 10 or 11 days, but I know we can do a lot better than that."
Linebacker Paris Lenon left the game on the first series with a right ankle injury, but he said he'd be OK. The Cardinals also lost both fullbacks when Anthony Sherman (bump above the eye) and Jared Crank (neck). Sherman should be OK. Crank will be re-evaluated. …
Rookie safety Justin Bethel blocked a field goal off the edge. …
Punter Dave Zastudil booted a 79-yard kick, which set a Hall of Fame game record.