If John Skelton only knew how to start faster. “If I could,” the quarterback said last week, “I’d fix it.”
He doesn’t know, however. Neither do the coaches right now. (They tried some no-huddle early in Cincy. Didn’t work.) It’s so odd, not that Skelton plays better at the end of games but that there is such a discrepancy on how much better he plays. Is it inexperience, or a lack of a full offseason of reps (since he got little as a rookie in his non-lockout offseason), as coach Ken Whisenhunt suggests? Maybe. But it’s hard to tell why Skelton suddenly gets all Brady in the final 15 minutes (yes, he is compared to Tebow, but Skelton usually is passing the ball better than Tebow late) when he can be very John Navarre before then.
I asked Whiz if he had ever seen a quarterback with such a wide difference between first and fourth quarters. “I live it,” Whisenhunt said. “I’m going through it right now.
“You’ve seen it with other young quarterbacks. When we’re all involved with it as much as we are, when it’s the team and we see it happen all the time, it’s obviously more in our forefront. There are young quarterbacks that you’ll see who have a good game and then they’ll have a really poor game.”
That’s true. But all in one afternoon? Against the Bengals, Skelton had a passing rating of 18.0 over the first three quarters. The final quarter it was 112.8, a stunning difference. Over the season, there just is no comparison: Skelton in the fourth quarter and overtime, compared to everything else:
|Quarter||Att||Comp||Comp pct||Yds||TD||Int||Sacks||Passing Rating|
Make no mistake, Whisenhunt would rather have a closer than a fast starter. But you’d rather have someone a bit more consistent. Can an offseason help? Perhaps. It’s not like the Cards have been getting smoked in these games and Skelton has no fourth-quarter pressure on him. They’ve been in all these games and you could argue the pressure was even greater in Cincy late because he knew the glare had been on him for playing so poorly. But in the end, that’s when Skelton stands out.
Tags: John Skelton
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