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Burns: Consternation and confusion at quarterback

Seeing that the roof was open at University of Phoenix stadium, I couldn’t help but to think of an old Seinfeld episode. Jerry is dating a woman whose appearance changes based on the lighting. Sometimes hideous, sometimes gorgeous, he can’t figure his two-faced date out.

I was hoping that the open roof and the bright sunshine would have the same effect on the Arizona Cardinals. Maybe they’d just look better bathed in sunlight. How disappointing it was to learn that the 2010 Cardinals get lit up no matter how they’re lit up.

The Cardinals dropped their seventh game in a row, falling to the St. Louis Rams 19-6. The sequence that could be used as a season-in-review-video came in the third quarter. After a Kerry Rhodes interception, the offense went three and out, punted and the Rams promptly scored a touchdown after an 85 yard drive. That folks is everything you need to know about the 2010 Cardinals.

Well, maybe not everything. The quarterback position continues to be a source of consternation and confusion. On Sunday we saw not one, not two, but all three. The trifecta of Derek Anderson, Max Hall and John Skelton combined to complete only 11 passes for 148 yards, two interceptions and a collective passer rating of 26.2.

Anderson might have had his worse game as a Cardinal, although with so many worthy nominees it’s hard to be sure. He completed only 35% of his passes for 93 yards and a pick. The outing featured the usual array of misfires and drops.

Max Hall filled the stat sheet for all the wrong reasons during his brief appearance; an interception, two sacks, a fumble and a shoulder injury that forced him to leave the game. A fact that provided many of the fans what they’ve been clamoring to see for the last couple of weeks….the debut of John Skelton. He threw a couple of nice balls but didn’t leave enough evidence to know definitively what the Cardinals have in the fifth rounder. Add it all up and it is clear the Cardinals have the most uncertain and unstable quarterback situation in the NFL.

The needle on the Cards quarterback compass is spinning out of control. Who does give the Cardinals the best chance of winning a football game and ending this slide? It’s an unanswerable question. None of them do, but you still have to pick one. Ken Whisenhunt is trying to fix something that can’t be fixed with what he’s got.

It’s understandable that the coach doesn’t want to sacrifice the rest of the season for the sake of evaluation. It sends a rotten message to the players, to the fan base and it tarnishes any sense of pride by the organization. I get it (“you play to win the game” is echoing in my head). But you’ve tried winning with Derek Anderson and it hasn’t worked. You’ve tried winning with Max Hall and it hasn’t worked. I don’t think you can sell those guys to the fan base any more.

Besides, Skelton might very well be the only healthy guy on the roster in which case you’re in evaluation mode whether you want to be or not.