Ken Whisenhunt must be coaching for his job.
How else would you explain the decision to name John Skelton the starting quarterback for Sunday’s game in Seattle?
“Some of it has to do with Seattle — playing up there, having played against them once already this year,” Whisenhunt said of the move. “There are a lot of factors, but I’m not going into each one of them.”
He doesn’t have to. We already know.
It was obvious to anyone who watched the Cardinals over the last few weeks that for his many faults, Skelton was then and still is a better option at quarterback than Ryan Lindley.
Skelton has completed just 54.7 percent of his passes this season. Lindley? 48.5.
Skelton has thrown just two touchdown passes against five interceptions. Lindley? Zero touchdown passes and five picks.
The only knock against Lindley is that he’s not ready to be an NFL starter right now, which is exactly what one would expect from a quarterback taken in the sixth round of the draft. The blame for Lindley’s struggles — and those of the team with him under center — falls squarely on the head coach’s shoulders, which is why he made the move back to Skelton.
And given reports this week that the Cardinals front office has had some discussions about Ray Horton — presumably his viability as a Whisenhunt replacement — it stands to reason the Cardinals head coach is looking at these final four games as a final chance to keep his job.
Really, how many coaches would survive a 12-game losing streak in year six of their tenure?
Even with Skelton under center — or maybe in part because Skelton is under center — the possibility of Arizona losing out remains strong. Would one more win be enough to warrant keeping the head coach? How about two? Three or four would have to do it, right?
Who knows. In fact, the decision may have already been made.
But if you’re Whisenhunt, the move back to Skelton had to be made.
It would have been impossible to sell his locker room on the idea that Lindley gave them the best chance to win, and continuing to trot the rookie onto the field surely would have been met with frustration from the players and rolling eyes from fans and media alike.
As well as losses.
So Whisenhunt went back to a quarterback he clearly does not believe in in a last ditch effort to save his job.
With the Cardinals’ record along with their schedule, it may prove to be too little, too late.