If there ever was a desire to buckle the ole chin strap for yet another game that doesn’t count, well, ‘tis the season, right? Here in the 2012 campaign, the AZ Cardinals are currently one of two teams in the NFL with an unanswered QB question. So, how opportune that, for the first time since 1986, the schedule includes an extra game in August. Yes!!
May we present – NFL Preseason Game #5. Cardinals vs Broncos. But that’s merely the undercard. The headliner: Kolb vs Skelton. Call it an exhibition, but don’t call it meaningless.
Calvisi Consulting says why not defy tradition and play both quarterbacks in the final preseason game? If you’re going to run the starting offensive line out there (out of necessity?), then might as well put the QB’s under center.
Especially since, so far, this whole QB equation reminds me of advanced college calculus – the more I look at it, the more confounded I become. If only we could invoke our longstanding rule – “No Math” – but that’s not the way it works in the NFL.
In fact, it’s just the opposite. Look at Kolb’s stat line from Nashville: 17-for-22 passing, with a TD. But! Kolb’s pair of interceptions might as well be pimples on prom night. Forget the dress, shoes, corsage, and up-do, all anyone is looking at are the two mondo zits, err, inexplicable interceptions.
Same goes for John Skelton and his very first pass attempt, which also resulted in a confidence-rattling pick. Based on my conversation with the head coach, that pass never should’ve been thrown downfield. Instead, Skelton should’ve channeled his inner-Matt Leinart and hit the check-down.
Speaking of, after the game during our postgame radio interview on Arizona Sports 620 & AZ Cardinals radio network, Coach Whisenhunt beat me to the topic: “I know the next question is the quarterback situation and it’s hard tonight because of the way the line played early, but I think that you have to go thru the tape and you have to look at the reads and see what the QB’s were looking at.”
As for the INTs by both QBs?
“You can’t make those kind of mistakes,” Whisenhunt said succintly. “One of the things that you got to learn from this is that you got to get the ball out of your hand.”
Will the picks be an important part of the equation? Following my chat with Coach W, my response would be: “y’all are darn tootin’, I dun reckon” (sorry, I’m still experiencing withdrawals from the Nashville scene).
“You have to factor that in when you’re making the evaluations of the guys because a lot of it depends on their decision-making and you can’t afford to do that,” said Whisenhunt. “So that will all be part of the process in evaluating these guys.”
As for why we don’t have a stated timetable for a decision? That’s easy. Because neither QB has made the decision with his play on the field. If anything, both QB’s are creating a dust storm with zero visibility.
For example, as one of a handful of media members who has seen most of every practice, Paulie Poll has spent the past week or so conducting an unscientific study by posing the following question: “True or False – Kevin Kolb has looked better in practice, while John Skelton has fared better in games?”
From writers to broadcasters to sideline security dudes and even various players, it’s been an overwhelming and unanimous “uh-huh”… Kolb has indeed been the better practice player (against more complex coverages), while Skelton has played better in the games (against a live pass rush). Confounding.
Put it this way, my final question to Coach W in the postgame locker room was based on this presumption that the QB Competition seemingly has all the clarity of an AZ haboob, while also knowing there is a final preseason game still on the schedule:
Me: “Coach, have you seen enough yet to reach a decision, whenever that is announced?”
Coach W: “I know everybody wants to, but I still have to look at this game and evaluate this. We’ll see. We still have another game and another week of practice that we can look at … ”
Yes x 2! Bring on preseason game #5 and be thankful for the intrigue that will carry us through an otherwise tedious preseason. In fact, at Casa Calvisi, we just might hold the first ever viewing party for a 5th Preseason game. (Bart Scott Voice) = “Can’t Wait!”