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Arizona Cardinals

Updated Nov 10, 2011 - 1:25 pm

ESPN analyst praises Skelton, says he'll be fine against Eagles

John Skelton completed 20 of 35 passes for 222 yards and one touchdown Sunday against the Rams.

Those stats, while not particularly impressive, may not tell the entire story of how well the second-year pro played.

"I was impressed by John Skelton," ESPN NFL analyst Ron Jaworski told Arizona Sports 620's Burns and Gambo. "When I went through the tape and saw the little nuances of the game it was much improved from a year ago."

The 2010 fifth round pick out of Fordham started four games for the Cardinals last season, and completed just 47.6 percent of his passes while throwing just two touchdowns against two interceptions. So while his numbers Sunday may have been nothing to write home about, it was certainly a step in the right direction.

Jaworksi praised the game plan, and said Skelton played well considering his lack of experience.

"He's a big, strong guy and I like the fact that he stayed on his back foot," Jaworski said, "you know, stepped and delivered the football. He wasn't falling backwards, the mechanics were very good."

Mechanics - especially footwork - have been one of starting quarterback Kevin Kolb's greatest issues this year, as the QB has been quick to leave the pocket on plays where he probably had more time.

However, Skelton was still inaccurate at times, which Jaworski said will happen, but overall he made good reads and threw the ball to the right guy.

"He made a fantastic [touchdown] throw to Larry Fitzgerald," Jaworksi added. "That's not an easy throw and when I say I see growth…it's not an easy throw to make."

That throw, Jaworski said, is a sign of Skelton's growth.

"I know he's been working in the offseason, I know he's been working and running scout team," he said. "[Skelton is] a power thrower and those are difficult throws for power throwers."

Skelton's growth aside, that does not mean he should be the team's starting quarterback if Kolb is healthy enough to play.

"He's the starting quarterback," Jaworski said. "If he's healthy he should go."

Unfortunately for Kolb, signs point to him not playing, and the idea of Skelton lining up under center against a tough Eagles defense is not something that should concern Cardinals fans, according to Jaworski.

"From what I saw against the Rams I think you can be more comfortable," he said. "The Rams are a very complex, sophisticated defense. They gave him a lot of blitzes, they gave him a lot of different looks.

"I think, for the most part, he handled them well."

There were scheme problems, Jaworski said, and that will have to be corrected if the Cardinals are to go to Lincoln Financial Field and pull off the upset. But as far as Skelton is concerned, there is really nothing to worry about.

"I think yeah, if you have to go with Skelton against the Eagles I think he'll do a good job."


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