Share this story...
Arizona Cardinals slow to name John Skelton starting QB
Latest News

Arizona Cardinals slow to name John Skelton starting QB

Nobody likes a speed trap.

Whether you are really going “too fast” or not, you can fall victim to one at pretty much any time.

I annoyingly learned this the hard way over weekend coming back from California. The highway patrolman said I was going too fast and decided to give me a ticket.

Interestingly enough, Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt deserves a ticket — or at least, a warning — for going too slow in naming a starting quarterback.

After all, he has one.

Let’s pretend for a moment Kevin Kolb did not enter training camp as the starter. It was not “his job to lose” nor did he have an advantage over John Skelton. Put both QBs on equal footing and let them battle, with the best man winning the job.

Three games in Kolb has completed 5-of-15 passes for 47 yards with one interception.

Three games in Skelton has completed 10-of-15 passes for 90 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

They’ve each been pressured by defenses, yet Skelton is able to handle it and still make plays. Kolb, on the other hand, is not.

The former Eagle’s struggles are so pronounced now that opponents are calling him out, saying he’s “scared back there.”

Not surprisingly, Kolb disagreed with the assessment.

“I have never been afraid of anyone on the field and that will never change,” he told AZCardinals.com’s Darren Urban.

Kolb was sacked three times by the Raiders; he’s clearly not afraid to take a hit. He is, however, afraid to take chances in the name of making plays.

Yes, the offensive line deserves some blame, which is something Coach Whiz noted after the game Friday.

“Some of it, I will say, a couple of times Kevin’s gotta get the ball out, but to be perfectly honest with you our protection has broken down a couple of times,” he said.

It’s broken down more than a couple of times because it’s a bad offensive line. There’s simply no getting around that fact (unless the line is trying to stop you, in which case it shouldn’t be too difficult).

We’ve seen this exact same script play out before so we know how the movie ends.

Two years ago a Tennessee Titan was quoted as saying, “I got a buffalo nickel that says he checksdown” in reference to then-Cards QB Matt Leinart.

Leinart had gained a reputation for being unwilling to throw the ball downfield and reluctant to stand in the pocket behind a shaky line and take a hit, even if it meant trying to deliver the ball down the field. He would dump the ball off to a tight end or running back as soon as he could, completing the pass but gaining little yardage.

That — among other things — led Whisenhunt to demote Leinart during the preseason and releasing him a week before the regular season opener in a move that ended weeks of speculation.

Back then the coach may have waited to officially make the move because if it wasn’t Leinart it was going to be Derek Anderson or Max Hall, neither of which were options worth getting excited about.

Now, though, he can turn to Skelton, a QB who not only shows promise, but an ability to make plays even when things are crumbling around him. He did it as an inexperienced rookie, he did it last season after Kolb went down with an injury, and he’s doing it now in the preseason while trying to win a job he was never supposed to even contend for.

Coach Whisenhunt may not have expected a real competition and, to be honest, probably didn’t want one. In a perfect world Kolb would have played well and earned the job, validating the organization’s faith in him and setting the team up for what should be an exciting season.

But as they say, “the best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry,” and this one is no exception.

The Cardinals did get a competition, and it has determined a winner.

So it begs the question: why is Coach Whisenhunt slow to acknowledge it?