Our long-standing local nightmare is over.
The Arizona Cardinals have a starting quarterback.
“At this point going forward, we feel that the quarterback that gives us the best chance to win right now is John Skelton,” Ken Whisenhunt announced Friday.
And who amongst you feels good about this decision?
I don’t mean to knock John Skelton. He performed admirably last season when pressed into duty after Kevin Kolb’s series of injuries. He helped guide the Cardinals to six victories in their last eight games.
Notice I said ‘helped’.
In none of those six victories did the Cardinals score more than 23 points. The defense rightly deserves the lion’s share of the credit for that string of victories.
So Skelton was declared the winner of this competition…what did he do to warrant this decision?
Granted, I didn’t see every practice that the Cardinals held in the preseason. From what I did witness, it certainly wasn’t clear that Skelton was the better quarterback. Most observers who did see the majority of practice snaps agreed that Kolb was the better practice quarterback.
OK, how about the games? Skelton completed 14-of-25 passes for 131 yards. That’s a QB rating of 50.6 — against vanilla defensive schemes designed to let opposing coaches evaluate one-on-one performances.
But the fact is, Kolb wasn’t any better against those same plain-Jane schemes. His QB rating was lower by nine-tenths of a point. He threw more interceptions. He was sacked more often. His pocket presence, or lack thereof, became a national story when Oakland defensive tackle Tommy Kelly labeled him ‘scared’.
It’s hard to know what is going through Kolb’s head at this time. It looks to me that he’s not the same quarterback after he suffered a season-ending concussion against San Francisco last fall. Is he scared? I don’t think so. I think it’s impossible for an NFL quarterback to accomplish anything if fear is present.
A more accurate way to describe Kolb’s appearance on the field is uncomfortable.
And it was that discomfort, coupled with major question marks on the Cardinals’ offensive line, that led to this decision.
The old adage in boxing is if you want to beat the champ, you better knock him out and take it out of the judges’ control.
We saw how even these two quarterbacks are, so with everything else being equal, Kolb should have been “the champ” based solely on the fact that he’s the guy with $21 million guaranteed on his contract.
Did John Skelton “knock out” Kevin Kolb to take his title away? No, he didn’t. We just witnessed the very rare split decision that crowned a new champ.