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Arizona Cardinals

Updated Dec 28, 2012 - 4:45 pm

ESPN analyst: Brian Hoyer's promotion says more about John Skelton

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Brian Hoyer (6) looks to pass against the Chicago Bears during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Paul Connors)

On Sunday, Brian Hoyer will become the fourth quarterback to start for the Arizona Cardinals this season, marking the first time since 2008 that a team (Cleveland Browns) has started four different players under center over a 16-game span.

While Arizona's game against the San Francisco 49ers will be Hoyer's first professional start, one ESPN analyst believes the move says less about the former Michigan State standout and more about John Skelton, the Cardinals' Week 1 starter.

"I guess [the decision to start Hoyer] tells you how bad they must think of John Skelton," ESPN analyst John Clayton told Arizona Sports 620's Doug & Wolf Thursday. "What has happened to John Skelton?

"He was good enough to beat out Kevin Kolb for the starting job, now he is in nowhere land."

Skelton has not played since Arizona's historic 58-0 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in Week 14. In that contest, Skelton was abysmal, throwing four interceptions on 22 attempts in the first half. It didn't help matters that the former fifth-round pick also lost a costly fumble.

In seven games this season, Skelton threw for 1,132 yards to go along with two touchdowns and nine interceptions. Skelton largely entered the 2012 season as the starting quarterback after leading Arizona to four wins in its final five games a year ago.

He was inactive for the team's game against the Chicago Bears in Week 16, signaling just how far he's fallen out of favor with Ken Whisenhunt.

While colleague Ron Jaworski raved about Hoyer's potential as an NFL starter, Clayton thinks the move will be a temporary one for the Cardinals.

"I think he was an efficient backup quarterback, one who can do some good things," said Clayton. "On a one-game basis it's okay, but look at the team he is facing [in San Francisco].

Hoyer, who comes into Sunday's game with 62 career pass attempts to his name, will face the 49ers' No. 4 ranked passing defense. The unit has already beaten Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Matt Stafford in 2012.

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