The curious case of John Skelton

Posted by Darren Urban on December 27, 2011 – 12:07 pm

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
First 44 19 43.2 193 0 3 6 27.9
Second 54 28 51.9 317 3 3 3 65.1
Third 50 29 58.0 418 1 5 7 52.3
Fourth/OT 87 53 60.9 714 6 2 5 100.5


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.

Posted in Blog | 87 Comments »

87 Responses to “The curious case of John Skelton”

  1. By Robert on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    Did the Cincy defense start playing differently as well ? Softer or more toward a prevent style ? Same thing goes for Tebow’s games I’m sure.

  2. By Rob on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply


    Do you think the Offensive playcalling has something to do with Skelton’s stats?
    It seems like when there’s time for the coordinator to look through the playbook, Skelton doesn’t seem as comfortable with the plays. When it’s crunch time (4th quarter), and there’s no huddle, Skelton and fitz are just calling their own plays and that’s when things seem to click…

  3. By Darren Urban on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    Rob —

    RE: No huddle

    The Cards tried some of that earlier to no avail in Cincy. Skelton isn’t calling his own plays at the end. Again, if they knew why, they’d do it.

  4. By ZeroX on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    Play Kolb in the first 3 quarters, then put Skelton in during the 4th quarter!

  5. By Peter in Canada on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    It’s a strange conundrum. A passer rating of 100.5 is nothing to sneeze at. It shows that if the coaches are patient maybe he can bring consistency to his game. He has made great strides given his lack of big time college experience. It promises to be an interesting camp next year.

  6. By TUCSTEVE on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    its simple. he doesnt have the skill set to be a starter

  7. By MIKE G on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Darren–Hope Christmas was good! Tough game for the Cards Saturday. I thought it would be a close game. I think John is having a hard time executing the game plan at the start of these games. He is having a hard time throwing when he has to mix the run in. I believe at this young stage he only gets into a rythmn when he has to throw the football multiple times in a row. This only happens when he trails in the 4th qtr and has to be desperate. I also think he can elevate his game to a higher level as the game goes on. I think the game slows down for John in the 2nd half of games–that is why he plays better in the final stanza. He is very young – he is going to have ups and downs. I do think he has tremendous upside to play this position and I think the Cards’s should have an open competetion between him and Kolb for the 2012 season. I would start him against Seattle Sunday–no use in rushing Kolb back for the last game if there are still concussion side-affects. It would be great to get to 8-8. Darren–Do you think John sees the speed of the game much faster in the first 2 qtrs–maybe it slows down for him in the final qtr as he gets more comfortable???? What do you think???

  8. By Darren Urban on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    Mike G —

    RE: Speed of the game

    I have no idea. No one really does.

  9. By Tod on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    This is an easy fix …

    Kolb plays quarters 1, 2 and 3.

    Skelton plays the 4th quarter.

  10. By Mark Hicks on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    I want Skelton to be the starter for this team over Kolb. It is not just Skelton that plays better at the end it is the whole team. We need to stop playing to other teams levels and create our own level. We have not blown one team out this year and that is because we play at the same level as the opposing teams. Kolb is not meant for our offense. Skelton is a arizona cardinal type of Qb, kinda like Big ben in Pit. Darren I think if we draft some lineman we could really see Skelton improving better. But he needs to have a work ethic of a champion, and a veteran Quarterback would not hurt. I honestly think trading Fitz or one of are high profile guys could make this team better. our defense is phenomenal as of late. and seem pretty consistent as well. so consistent compared years past, I am excited to see them grow. But the offense coordinator is a disappointment as well, I swear I could do a better job. He needs to feed the bean more. and let us establish the run instead of trying to put so much pressure on skelton. Plus we have such a vanilla offense, we need to make it have some flavor.

  11. By silverbackdk on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    Trading Fitz? I stopped reading after that….you don’t fix the offense by trading your best player….

  12. By in fitz we trust on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    atleast were not deeply invested in skelton, can only get better with time. perfect project qb, plus hes like 23-24 still.

  13. By Chuck 1 on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply


    You’re correct.

    “HELTER SKELTER” will never be a consistently effective starter (or, even a dependable back-up).

    But, Graves and Whiz probably won’t cut their losses i.e. “H.S”. until after next season.

  14. By WildCard on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    Skelton will be a great QB!

  15. By Devin Fontana on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    I look at it like my golf game. When i take some practice swings and really concentrate on hitting a good shot….i don’t. but when i just grip it and rip it i hit good shots. I think the young QB just has alot on his mind and just needs to play football. He is capable, we’ve seen it….. Wiz just needs to tell him its the 4th quarter all the time.

  16. By Nicholas on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply


    I think Skelton needs a good full off season of study(game film, offensive play & recognizing opposing defences) & practice reps with the coaches. I BELIEVE THAT SKELTON IS THE FRANCHISE QB FOR ARIZONA, KOLB PROVED THAT SO FAR!!! Now I will say we have to give kolb a chance still, HOWEVER based on his play so far this season, there’s not much to look forward too!!! KOLB CANNOT TAKE A HIT & IS FRAGILE, NOT TO MENTION THE MOST IMPORTANT FACT OF ALL, KOLB CANNOT FINISH THE GAME OUT STRONG(TO MANY 3 & OUTS, & HE CAN’T KEEP THE OFFENSE ON THE FIELD WHEN THE GAME IS ON THE LINE), NOTHING MATTERS MORE THAN A WIN & HE’S JUST NOT GETTING THAT DONE!!!! Give kolb another year to get “comfortable with the system” & prove he’s worthy, & if he can’t do that, opt out of that HUGE CONTRACT YOU SIGNED A CAREER BACK-UP TO!!!


  17. By clssylssy on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    While watching NFL Live, the announcers were comparing Skelton to Tebow and it seemed to be the concensus that both were raw talents who with the proper grooming, had great potential for becoming solid NFL QBs. The difference, aside from the fact that Skelton isn’t throwing the religion card ,is that John Elway is planning to work with Tebow in the off seaso one-on-one. Wow, really? Gotta hand it to the Bronco Organization (and I can’t believe those words are actually coming from me) because, what are the odds that the Cards would ever get Kurt Warner to work with a QB, be it Skelton or Kolb? Skelton has demonstrated that he can win games by thinking on his feet and that is WITHOUT any specialized coaching, he is tall in the pocket and has shown poise under pressure. It seems that there is a need to justify the $66M price tag paid for Kolb by Cards “fans”, creating a atmosphere of controversy that is detracting from the job at hand…winning our remaining games. It seems curious to me that everybody BUT Cards people recognize John Skelton’s abilities and potention. With the “raw” talents we already have has any thought been given to developing something with players who are familiar with our system, maybe bringing in a “consultant” QB coach like Warner? With Jon Gruden returning to coaching it appears things will be much tougher in the NFC West next year, due to the shuffle, and the time to start preparing is NOW!

  18. By Chris Lewis on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    No matter how good Skelton plays in the 4th quarter, the coaching staff can’t keep allowing him to put us in a deep hole early in the game, because he’s not going to pull out a miracle every game, as is evident in the Cincy game. We need more consistent play at the QB position. The QB doesn’t have to be Rodgers-like, just smart and consistent. A good example would be Alex Smith of the 49ers. He doesn’t have huge numbers every week, but he doesn’t make a lot of mistakes either, which is a big key to their success this season, not to mention their awesome defense. It’s no coincidence that the Cards missed the playoffs two years in a row, a large part of it is because of the inconsistent and poor play at QB. Give Kolb a chance next year, and if that doesn’t work, then we need to go a different route, because I believe that Skelton is not the answer.

  19. By APCARDS on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    Hi Darren-
    Any chance the Cards sign Braylon Edwards?

  20. By Darren Urban on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    APCards —

    RE: Braylon

    Not right now. Not sure ever, but definitely not right now.

  21. By Phoenixraven1 on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    I sure hope not…

  22. By DontTakeLoses on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    Conundrum shrouded in mystery? No. He’s a gamer, but not very good overall. Can he get better? Sure. Will he? Who knows. Kolb clearly more polished QB who sees more of field, more of the time, but concussion might not get better… can never know on that either. Need 1 more QB, who can read blitzes, deliver ball.

  23. By dynasty1717 on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    I like Skelton as a #2, but not a franchise QB right now. He still needs 2-3 years more of going through his reads and developing his vision for the open receiver, IMO. That all being said, I’m convinced that Kolb is not the answer for the Cards. Could he be a 15-25th ranked QB? Yes? Do we need more to win a Superbowl in today’s game? Yes. Also, he is always injured. I’m not questioning his toughness. Unfortunately, it just seems that some players are more prone to injury than others. So having a QB that has proven to play poorly or mediocre, or doesn’t play at all due to injury does not seem like a winning recipe. However, that is where we are going into the off-season. I hate to see the Cards pay out Kolb’s contract for the performance he has provided. But, what choice do we have at this point? There won’t be much talent available in free agency, and the draft will not play to our favor. Long story short, it looks like we are stuck with Kolb for a while. Let’s hope he really finds something during the off season.

  24. By Guillermo Rabling on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply


    Do you have Fitz stats (receptions, yards, tds) with Skelton and with Kolb?

  25. By Darren Urban on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    Guillermo —

    RE: Fitz breakdown

    From Kolb: 38 catches, 658 yards, 2 TD
    From Skelton: 32 catches, 581 yards, 5 TD
    From Bartel: 1 catch, 23 yards, 1 TD

  26. By kauaicardsfan on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    Hi Darren,
    Was John a slow starter in Fordham? Just trying to see if its just the way he is?

    Seems like John is more of a relief pitcher than a full game QB. IDK he can drive you crazy !! I was thinking just to watch the 4th quarter when he starts games, the first 3 is usually ugly to say the least.

    Mahalo !

  27. By Darren Urban on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    Kauai —

    RE: Skelton in college

    He did say that he started slow sometimes in college. Don’t have any numbers.

  28. By Kevin S on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    Devin Fontana referenced his golf game. I will reference mine: If you take away all my bad shots, I’m a PGA tour-caliber golfer.

    Seriously, watching a guy sometimes make good throws and lead the team on scoring drives, and concluding he is the franchise QB, while ignoring all the evidence that he isn’t, is a lot like concluding that because half my golf shots are good, I can be a professional golfer someday. You can’t ignore a guy’s poor play for half (or more) of a game when evaluating him, and only focus on the good parts. One of the reasons that so many backup QB’s get so much love is that they come into games with low expectations, so if they hit around half their passes and the teams score a couple TD’s, everyone thinks they’re great.

  29. By Kevin S on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply


    Re: your post that “everybody BUT Cards people recognize John Skelton’s abilities and potential” (and this is not the first time you’ve posted something like this):

    (1) The Cards had the foresight to draft Skelton in the 5th round. So if he has so much ability and potential, then their staff should get credit for recognizing this when he got passed over by 31 other teams for 4 rounds of the draft.

    (2) The Cards were willing to go into 2011 with Skelton as their backup QB despite very limited experience, suggesting that they recognized he was pretty good.

    (3) QB rating is just a stat, I know, but Kolb’s is 81.1, right in the middle of NFL QB’s, around guys named Vick, Dalton, Fitzpatrick, Hasselbeck and Flacco. Skelton’s is 68.1, ahead of only another backup (Painter) and a guy with no talent to throw to (Gabbert), and behind guys like Grossman who is everyone’s favorite QB whipping boy, and over 10 points behind Orton who lost his job.

    The above 3 facts should count for something — the Skelton fanatics here seem to want to point to Skelton’s 4th quarters as if he were the 2nd coming, while ignoring all the other evidence that he’s not very good. As far as “poise under pressure,” a number of Cards players have said he is pretty much just the same way all the time — he doesn’t get rattled. While that’s definitely a good quality, “poise” doesn’t count for all that much if you can’t hit a wide open receiver. Honestly, his numbers are DA-like (QB rating, completion percentage near the bottom of the league). I’m not saying he couldn’t develop into a good QB — but he isn’t one now.

    Finally, Warner has said (and Darren has reminded us) many times he has no interest in coaching. Just because the Broncos have Elway, you can’t blame the Cardinals for not having Warner available to help out with Skelton’s development. That’s Warner’s choice, not the Cardinals.

  30. By JJV on Dec 28, 2011 | Reply

    well put, Kolb is the future as he is a better QB period. It is my believe Skelton will be a great QB with a few years watching from sideline and learning to be a consistent QB. He needs a few off-seasons of prep time.

  31. By kkfan on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    I read these comments about Kolb being injury prone. He had a concussion while in Philly. Had Andy not changed his mind after saying Kevin was STILL his STARTER for the following week, he would have been back out there. Someone put pressure on Andy to go with Vick . Because they felt of Vicks vast experience as a starter opposed to Kolb’s, gave them a better chance to make the post season,and hopfully the SB. Didn’t happen even with Vick under center. But when Vick got hurt a couple weeks later . Kolb went in and played the next 3 games winning 2 of them. Would have won the third. Had the defense not squandered the lead. Even at that, he brought them back to within a TD. Had Avant not dropped the EZ TD in the Skins game as time was expiring, he would have pulled that one out as well.

    I am unable to watch your games. But having audio pass with NFL network I have been able to listen to them. Given the many times kevin has been sacked and knocked down. (in the games he did play), I’m not at all suprised that it has taken this long for him to recover from his concussion this time.

    The foot injury was a freak accident of someone stepping on his foot. To me that doesn’t equate to being injury prone. Just darn unlucky !

    I don’t doubt for a second, given Kevin a full off season, and adding some better players on the O line (epecially at the two tackle positions) Kolb will be able to bring home the wins for this team.

    I’ve tried to register on the MB’s but because I have a free email acct it is not allowing me to participate . So I’ll clarify a post here that I read on there about Kolb only have 4 wins opposed to 6 losses as a starter. No, it is 6-4 . He won two games that he played in 09, Saints and Chiefs, 2 in 10 SF and Falcons And 2 here Panthers and Cowboys this season. That adds up to 6 -4. Not the other way around.

    Have to defend my guy against all the negativity I am reading on the MB’s concerning him.:).

  32. By Kevin S on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    By the way, I don’t know who the guys on NFL Live were who were comparing Skelton to Tebow and suggesting that both had the potential to become solid NFL QB’s — almost everything analysts have said about Tebow as a passer is highly negative.

  33. By D on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    Offseason Moves—Updated

    Okay-we are now getting a better picture of the offseason moves to be made by the Cards and potential draft order/selection.
    All of the following is based on the Cards resigning or franchising, C. Campbell, resigning The Hyphen, R. Marshall, maybe Hagaans (if he will do a one year deal to teach younger linebackers and play maybe first 4-5 games of next year) and resign both Feely and the Punter.
    Also assuming we get back a healthy Toler, R. Williams and D. Williams.
    Free Agency:
    1) D. Bell LT Buffalo
    2) 2) R. Meecham WR –NO
    3) Various vet backups on DL etc.

    Since it appears that AZ will miss out on the top 3 Off tackles (assuming drafting between 11-14)
    Then my draft as follows:
    1) First round pick –C. Upshaw OLB-AL
    2) 3rd round pick—Andrew Datko OT -FSU
    3) 4th round pick—T. Wilson SS –IL
    4) 5th round pick—K. Holmes G—USC

  34. By Brian on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    Hopefully he practices all off season. Maybe they can keep trying to do the no-huddle offense and push for that Peyton Manning style of offense.

  35. By Brian on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    Or maybe how about this? Run the ball 75 percent, pass 25 percent – 1st & 2nd quarter. Run the ball 25 percent, pass 75 percent in the 3rd and 4th? Try some random things like starting the no huddle at random times, throw in a few wild cats in as well. Catch them off guard!

  36. By Peter in Canada on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    Kevin S – You are right. One can not just throw out the bad plays but there is an exception to that rule.
    When a player is young he will make bad plays or bad shots in golf because he is learning the game. There are bad shots and bad plays for two reasons. One is a lack of experience and the other is a lack of talent. The former might eventually be corrected though not necessarily because some don’t learn through experience and repeat their mistakes. The latter will never be corrected. The job that Whiz and Miller have to do is to determine whether Skelton’s mistakes can be corrected and if so go about doing it, or conclude that he is always going to be error prone and go in a different direction. But that is why they are paid the big bucks and lose their jobs if they make too many mistakes.

  37. By Scott H on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    Darren –

    First, My best wishes for a Happy New Year.

    Very informative post. I know you do not have a crystal ball, but…two simple questions –

    1) Do you think there WILL be an open competition next year in camp for the QB position? And,

    2) Do you believe there SHOULD BE an open competition next year in camp for the QB position?

    My answers would be “I hope so” and “Absolutely!” What says you?

  38. By Darren Urban on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    Scott H –

    RE: QB what-Ifs

    1) I don’t know if it will be straight wide open. Indo think Skelton will have a chance, but you have to remember, his greatest attribute – producing in the fourth quarter – doesn’t necessarily translate to the practice field.

    2) I think Skelton has earned some credit into the offseason. But I still want to make sure we get all of what Kolb has to offer with a full offseason.

  39. By Dave on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    I’m the first one that will say you can’t really gauge Kolb as a starter based on this year for many reasons some of which the injuries, and shortened pre-season. But that’s what worries me. kolb seems very fragile and especially when it comes to concussion. Wit the spotlight these days on concussed players (and rightfully so), there’s no doubt in my mind, Kevin Kolb will continue to miss time anytime he’s struck “not-so-hard in the head. I really beleive the Cards HAVE to address the future of the QB postion ths year in the draft. John Skelton although has given his best, is definately not the long-term answer. Just one fans opinion….

  40. By Jesse Robles on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    Skelton needs to work with Fitz and all the other Cardinals and get his timing down. Trade Kolb for our 2nd round pick back, he’s no bueno. So many QB’s coming out this year. ONE MORE GAME!! Still need to go 500.

  41. By KDubADub1324 on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    I wouldn’t commit to Skelton just yet. He has shown he’s average at best right now and I do agree that he will turn into a solid QB in the future. People get too caught up in the whole “he’s a 4th quarter QB,” and “he wins games,” which is total B.S. Brady, Manning, and Rodgers win games. Skelton doesn’t. If anything, the Cards defense and Patrick Peterson do. Sure, Early Doucet’s trip cost them tying the game against Cincy, but do we forget about Skelton’s horrific QB play prior to that? The 4th quarter in the Cincy game was more about Cincy giving the game away than about Skelton making a comeback. A football team can’t take their chances on a guy who decides to play towards to the end of the game, and they shouldn’t. I don’t care what anybody says, but if the defense hadn’t come around in the last half the year, there wouldn’t be no Skelton bandwagon. If Kolb would have stayed healthy, then he’d be the benefactor of all the attention. I like Skelton, I do. I just don’t think he’s prime for the job yet. I’m not a big Kolb fan either, but I d think he should be the starter. HOWEVER, I also think Skelton’s played okay enough to at least get a shot at the job in camp. If he wins over a healthy Kolb, then great; give him the spot. But I doubt that will happen, unless Kolb gets hurt of course. But to say that Skelton should be given the job right now is just ridiculous. The Cardinals known that.

  42. By cards62 on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    Skelton Skelton Skleton Kolb Kolb Kolb

    We will be talking about these guys the entire offseason and the problem is no one knows if either of these guys are the answer for our Cardinals.

    Skelton at Fordham played very little competition but the good news is he improved every season. Bad news is his team played .500 ball his junior and senior seasons. Could be more on his team and not him. How much good coaching has Skelton really had in his young career?

    I do believe that we should bring both guys back next season and have an open competition. I would also be in favor of keeping our eyes open if the right QB is available in free agency or the draft. Like Darren I do not think the Cardinals will draft a QB in round 1.

    I think the most important aspect we need next season is for all of our QBs to be coached up by a new OC and QB coach. My number 1 choice is Norv Turner if he is available and my second choice is Todd Haley. I am still trying to figure Ken W. out, but I definitely want him back as HC next season, but, in my opinion, he has shown that QB is not one of his strengths which is why I want Norv Turner so much for our team.

    I think the second most important aspect we need next season for our QBs is an improved offensive line and a new offensive line coach.

    I also hope we are busy in free agency and like several have said go after younger, but proven players. Rod Graves we need you.

    I would not play Kolb, Peterson, or Wells against the Seahawks this week. Watching A. Peterson of the Vikings get hurt this week gave me something else
    to think about. I know it is always a risk to every player, but why risk banged up Cardinals?

    I am very glad to read other fans posts about not being happy with our record this season as I am not happy either, but I am encouraged with our teams performance and very excited about the improvement and potential with our defense. Must resign CC, add an outside linebacker, and guys & gals I am still not sold on our nose tackles.

    Go Cards


  43. By dan on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    look skeltons got skill you see it in the 4. like every game he just cant get started maybe they let him throw it every play next week and see if works?

  44. By TUCSTEVE on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    people should keep there comments nice and short. and not in all CAPS.

    i said it once ill say it again to be a good QB in this league you cant have 3 really bad quarters and only 1 really good quarter. you have to play all 60 mins. so far kolb has done that far better than skelton.

  45. By stewart badly on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    coach whisenhunt said “throughout history the great QBs are remember by the way they finish games”. I think coach whisenhunt is gonna give John Skelton a chance to compete for the starting QB position in training camp. We paid Kevin Kolb all that money becouse we thought he was the best option and we didn’t have to draft a QB and have to develop him, well we were all wrong. Look at all those rookie QBs doing well. another season went by and we still have no answer at QB. Let Kevin and John go at it in training camp and see who gets the job. The thing that bothers me is that we wont have a 2nd round draft pick in a year that we need help in the OL. But with the GREAT RAY HORTON’S DEFENSE WE DONT NEED A FRANCHISE QB, JUST A SERVICEABLE ONE, look at the 49rs. John skelton as a chance to be that guy.

  46. By Russ Helwig on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    Great comments, I would like to jump in. John is 23 and really only has about one years worth of real NFL game time. Considering what he has done in his real first year, it is amazing. Look closly at his leadership skills, once coupled with experience, he will be a francise qb and I hope right here. I believe in less than 5 years John will lead this team to a Super Bowl.

    Build on his talent, let some coaches work with him this summer ( bring in Kurt W. to help mentor him ) add a specialized training camp to build on his talents and strenghten his weak spots and then get ready.

    Question: What new manager can lead an organization or be the CEO in his first year…answer …none. In time raw talent and leadership joined with time and training and you will have a qb everyone will want…keep him and put the time, effort and mentoring into John…the dividends are just around the corner !!! Russ

  47. By Sarah on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    There is something about Skelton that has us interested yet no one can figure it out, his failures like SF are accentuated and his heroics cult like. My guess is that over time we will get a better sense, there are some that one just does not try and figure out. My guess is there is huge potential once the on the job training program is over, he reminds me of an early Elway. I think a good mentor would really help, as it stands we have Kolb who seems to have peaked, I think another veteran ( on the cheap ) would be good. Kolb came at a high price and expectation and five games losing was enormous. Both will struggle without a running game to enhance and balance, this is not discussed but the reality outside of Beanie’s 200 yarder the running game has been oblique at best.

    I say let’s iron out Skelton and see what Bartel has to offer in real time, if Kolb has an off season to learn there will be no excuses ditto Skelton. I do not think it is intuitive starting Kolb against Seattle, he is not ready, play Skelton and Bartel.

    In terms of the Cinci game, it would have been mind boggling if Doucet caught that pass and it went into overtime. Skelton just loosens up in the 4th and his skills come out. At the start it is like he is hesitant and playing for the quarterback coach !

  48. By az1965 on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    TUCSTEVE – Neither is Kolb a starting QB even though we paid an arm and a leg to acquire him. In fact, one more hit to the head and the dude may be done with football.

  49. By Andy M on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    We can all see the inability to read coverages and the poor throws, but the guy is green as grass and somehow gets the job done. It is somewhat similar to the defense’s problems in the first half of the season. Without understanding the system, success will be limited. A full off-season and competitive training camp will be interesting. The thing that frustrates me the most is when Skelton doesn’t step into his throws and just “steers” the ball without a follow through–often resulting in high passes. That is curable. The coaching staff knows the guy has a lot of upside, but he needs to make the improvements. I am rooting for him, just like I am rooting for Kolb. As far as the slow starts: ever since after the Warner days the Cards have been very slow to score in their first halves, so I don’t think it is all on Skelton–but there is certainly a major problem. (Darren, have you seen the first half scoring stats for the team at large during the past three years?) Similarly, the TEAM comes alive in the fourth quarter, so I think the lack of concentration on offense extends beyond the quarterback position.

  50. By FPCards on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    Hi Darren,

    I think the Cardinals have a few needs for next year, Left tackle, wide receiver and another outside linebacker with upside potential. Do you agree that is the 3 most important needs? Also I think that the need for another top receiver is more important than many would think. Also what are your thoughts of Todd Haley coming back as OC? I have been offline so if you already wrote about this I apologize. Thanks!

  51. By Darren Urban on Dec 28, 2011 | Reply

    FPCards —

    RE: Needs

    Tackles will be important, I think. Yes, I think they need another outside linebacker too, and some defensive line depth. Receiver is something to look at, but I don’t see it as huge of a problem as many people seem to think. As far as Haley, I wouldn’t dismiss it out of hand, but they have an OC right now.

  52. By Cactus Jeff on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    Skelton looks a little uncoordinated versus Kolb and it shows up when he hands the ball off….it just looks too hard for him. Am I wrong or does the running game suffer when he starts?

    By the way you were right, Hadnot was not too bad.

  53. By Darren Urban on Dec 28, 2011 | Reply

    Cactus Jeff —

    RE: Run game/QB

    I don’t think that’s made an impact.

  54. By stewart badly on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    All offseason Kevin Kolb was the talk of ESPN, NFL NETWORK, where this ‘great’ QB was gonna end up, Sal Paleantonio and Ron Jovorky talk bout him being the next Aaron Rodgers, how Kolb was the backup to Mcnabb for four years, just like Rodgers to Favre, of course they had to sell this philly product and they talk about Kolb being worth TWO FIRT ROUND DRAFT PICKS, now we know we got scammed by the eagles and all this NFL insider. Coach Reed has been trading overrated QBs for years with the help of the east coast media inflating this WORTHLESS QBs. Kolb in four years couldn’t take the job from freaking Mcnabb, a bad QB that didn’t win enything in philadelphia, I was all against that trade, becouse we have to develop our own players, draft well and keep the gems we find….LOOK HOW BAD THE FREE AGENCY WAS FOR US THIS YEAR, Stewart Bradley not a single sack this year and he was the right side passrusher in subpackeges in obvious passing situations, Kolb injured half of the season, Darryn College was ok. BUILD THROUGH THE DRAFT. Thank you.

  55. By rojobird on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    Enough with the Kolb and Skelton QB question…. I say CARDS get help in OL and give KOLB a full season…. KOLB was meant to watch the game from the sidelines most of this season so that he can be better prepared in 2012… sounds foolish but thats my opinion… So I really hope he learned something….
    GO CARDS 2012 NFC WEST CHAMPS!!!!!!!!!!!

  56. By CreditCard on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply


    You have an ability to watch practices and games close -up. What is your opinion of Skelton’s growth rate from last year to this year. Substantual improvement or marginal based on your perception from last year to this year. Also, do the coaches like what they see in him during practice? Still, this disussion is far better than last year’s QB discussion. I guess as fans — there is no pleasing us!

  57. By Darren Urban on Dec 28, 2011 | Reply

    CreditCard —

    RE: Skelton development

    He didn’t even get to practice much last year except for the end. I think they like what he’s done but they know he’s got a long way to go, and that’s what I have thought all along too. Go back and read what I have written on the subject. I think I’ve stayed pretty straight with that message.

  58. By earl on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    There is one something that i noticed with all of these comments, that they are all about a QB and his slow start and his good finish, To Sketons credit he is being discussed and no one has said he should not be ion there at all, i think he is the QB to critic in arizona, its only 2 years now he does have the tools to be a good QB, big and strong and will stand in there and take a lick if needed, once he gets the reading of defenses he will be a really good player, i dont hear this same conversation about Kolb and we spent so money on him.

  59. By earl on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    Sketon just for a few seconds in the forth almost reminded me of Warner! alomost!!!! dont panic people.

  60. By Moon on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    Kolb can’t be re-signed for reasonable pay? Will he accept lower pay?

    I’m not happy about Kolb’s play this season at all. You have to remember, had he put up the big yardage that Skelton puts up by the end of a game, that lead against the Ravens would have grew. And we’d all be talking playoffs by now if it’d of happened.

    Consistency is good but it means nothing when you’re consistently mediocre. And as I recall at the NFL level, you either have pocket presence or you don’t.

  61. By Darren Urban on Dec 28, 2011 | Reply

    Moon —

    RE: Kolb contract/Ravens game

    First of all, we know now Kolb was playing almost the entire Ravens game on a bad foot/toe. And frankly, when you have a 24-3 lead, blowing that is all on the defense in my opinion. More points would have helped but 27 points really should have been enough.

    As for a contract, if you were Kolb, why would you renegotiate? If your boss asked you to take a pay cut — assuming you knew you’d have a chance at multiple jobs if you declined — would you? I’d think no.

  62. By TucsonTim on Dec 28, 2011 | Reply

    Kolb’s value. Just suppose for a second that Skelton had a passer rating of 120 and Cards got into the playoffs. Then the management decided that they wanted to go all in with John. Do you think any team in the NFL would even pick up Kolbs contract, let alone give up a pro bowl player, former 1st round pick AND a 2nd round pick. Think about it.

    Back to reality, Skelton can probably improve dramatically. will he, time will tell. Kolb is what he is, can’t stay healthy, poor pocket presence, terrible fundamentals (Joe Theisman’s opinion, not mine).

    Bigger problem, the people who couldn’t keep Warner for the last year of his contract, who thought D Anderson and Max hall were our best chance to win after a super bowl and a playoff run, who cut Leinart and got nothing for him, and moved up in the 5th round to draft a QB from Fordham are going to make this decision unless some badly need changes are made

  63. By wayne on Dec 28, 2011 | Reply

    Mark Hicks,

    Do you run or own a company? If not, please don’t! I dont think it would last very long. “Trade Fitzgerald” do you know football, do you watch the Cardinals, what you just recommended is most likely one of if not the stupidest idea I have ever heard, he is our best player and just signed a very good contract

  64. By DHALL on Dec 28, 2011 | Reply

    If you all remember Rogers was nothing his first year and the Packers were thinking about drafting a “Matt Flynn” and how did that work out? Kolb has been knocked around too much now and I really think he has the “Trent Edwards disease. Love the guy but he is a one hit wonder. Time to draft a real franchise QB that can lead us to something great. Lets not be the Buffalo Bills and draft some defense and a lineman here and there. We are the 5th largest city in the country and haven’t won a championship in years…no disrespect for our Mercury or Rattlers but COME ON AZ lets be on TOP!!

  65. By clssylssy on Dec 28, 2011 | Reply

    I think you missed my point. I fully understand that Warner has no interest in coaching or returning in any way to the Cards. HOWEVER, there ARE talents out there recognized for being experts in developing QBs, like Jon Gruden, Haley, etc..although, I know there is no way we would ever land Gruden, has any thought been given to acquiring an “expert consultant” at various positions? This organization has not been committed to developing talent in the same way other teams do and we do have raw talent already. Kevin Kolb has been plagued with injuries both in Philly and here, and for someone his age with the serious injuries he’s had, my heart goes out to him but he’s never going to be “the guy.” Stats don’t win games, players win games and I’ll take an ugly win any day at the hands of a guy without”the stats”. I’m NOT a fan of the Broncos, can’t stand them, never liked Elway or Aikmen, consider them arrogant gas bags however, I guess you can’t argue with their stats if that’s your thing. I also realize that Elway has a personal investment in seeing the Broncos win, being the VP. Skelton may have been around for two years but he’s not been developed, in much the same way as Leinart, only he was able to step in and help pull us out of the hole we were in. And, I’ll take a cool headed player OR coach anyday ahead of a hothead.

  66. By clssylssy on Dec 28, 2011 | Reply

    and…I know, Aikmam wasn’t a Bronco but a Cowboy…just saying

  67. By Jesse Robles on Dec 28, 2011 | Reply

    No matter which way you look at it, Skelton has showed us more than Kolb. Neither are the answer, but Kolb is a WASTE OF MONEY!

  68. By carlo italy 7000 on Dec 28, 2011 | Reply


  69. By Darren Urban on Dec 28, 2011 | Reply

    Carlo —

    RE: Moves

    No moves announced yet.

  70. By Kevin S on Dec 28, 2011 | Reply

    Peter in Canada —

    I agree completely. You’ll notice in my next post after the golf analogy, I said that I’m not saying he couldn’t develop into a good QB — just that he isn’t one now.

    With the Cardinals getting 5 wins in 2010 despite some of the worst QB play some of us can remember, and getting at least 7 and maybe 8 this year despite average (Kolb, right in the middle of the league) and subpar (Skelton, near the bottom) QB play this year, fans may well be right to think that with a decent QB and just a couple other improvements this team can do some real damage in 2012. (And yes, I am using QB ratings to justify the above statement that Kolb is average and Skelton is subpar, as they are objective. I’m trying to stay away from the hype like “Skelton is a leader” or “you can just see that the team responds to him,” which is all just after-the-fact BS that people make up based on the results of the games.) So deciding what to do about the QB spot is definitely an important point of discussion for this team.

    A number of people here are suggesting we just cut ties with Kolb (it’s not going to happen, but that’s what some are saying) and go with Skelton next year. The problem is, that’s too easy to say from the peanut gallery. As you point out, Whiz and the other coaches get paid big bucks to figure out if Skelton’s mistakes — and there are many — can be corrected. Anyone here who thinks that if they were the HC, it’s obvious that we should just go Skelton next year, is not being realistic. There is no way anyone could conclude based on what Skelton’s done this year that he will be a good QB if just given more time to develop, or how long that might take. Concluding that he MIGHT be? Sure. But a lot of guys “might” be good. If spotting and developing talent were so easy, we’d all be NFL scouts or coaches.

  71. By Kevin S on Dec 28, 2011 | Reply

    Tucson Tim, you can turn that discussion another way, though. What would another team give us to get Skelton right now? Do you think teams would be knocking on our door offering high draft picks and/or Pro Bowlers to get him?

    If Kolb never produces for the Cards, people will have a right to moan about what we gave up, etc. At the time he was acquired, though, he was considered one of the best QB’s available (and not just by the Cards brass), and we were coming off a season where nearly every Cardinals fan was in agreement that with even average QB play we could have won the division. Very few people were complaining about getting him at the time. There have been a few people here consistently down on Kolb from the beginning — and if you’re one of those people, maybe you’ll turn out right in the long run. But you can hardly blame the team for trying to go out and get one of the best available QB’s after 2010.

  72. By Kevin S on Dec 28, 2011 | Reply


    You’re right, maybe I missed your point. But the Cards have a QB coach, so I’m not sure what you’re saying they need to do. Get a better one? Why are you assuming that Skelton isn’t getting a chance to develop already? After all, if you’re convinced he’s that good after (a) being drafted in the 5th round out of a FCS school, and (b) only 2 seasons with the team and not getting the majority of reps in camp or in practice (remember, his first season he was the #3 guy and this year he came in as the clear backup), wouldn’t that be some evidence that the Cards are actually doing quite well with developing him? You act as though they are holding him back. I see a team that has given him quite an opportunity.

    I’m not sure what Elway’s role with the Broncos and/or Tebow has to do with the Cardinals. He’s a big name, and a legend with the franchise, so of course that’s going to generate attention, but a lot of people overestimate the value of having a legend in a coaching/mentoring role. Often times, the personalities get in the way, or the legend expects the player to be able to do things only the legend can do. Coaching and playing are two different things; a lot of great players have made lousy coaches (this is true in many sports), and a lot of great coaches were never very good players.

  73. By Peter in Canada on Dec 28, 2011 | Reply

    I have no vested interest in whether Kolb or Skelton becomes the first string QB or if they bring in somebody else.The fact is we must get more out of the position in order to take the next step. The two QB’s we have are both a gamble going forward.

    I don’t blame management for bringing in Kolb. The lockout handicapped his progress but a full training camp will definitely help him. The big risk is the concussions. He had a severe one last year. This year he had another. The frightening thing about the concussion this year was that as football hits go it didn’t look particularly bad. This prompted some Kolb haters to brand him a wuss who lacks the toughness to be the man in charge. That is how it is with concussions. They become progressively easier to sustain and have longer recovery periods. He represents no small risk to management.

    Skelton is two years removed from small college football. He has shown improvement but as the Skelton doubters argue, his stats are very poor. The problem is that in view of Kolb’s health he stands a good chance of becoming the defacto #1. At present he has not shown that he is ready to be a #1 despite his 5-2 record. A full off season will definitely help him also.

    Darren’s view is that he would not use a first round pick to draft a QB and free agency is not likely to bring in anyone who will be better than what we have.

    This is the problem that management has been presented with. It is a problem that requires the skills of management not blog posters to solve. If they fail we will still blog but they might be gone.

  74. By jerry on Dec 28, 2011 | Reply

    Here is a suggestion for Skelton. Before each game, he needs about an hour of hard practice right before the game starts that way he’ll be warmed up by gametime

  75. By Eric on Dec 28, 2011 | Reply

    @Marc, trade Fitz? Hands down, the dumbest comment on this blog, maybe ever. He is a once in a generation player, you build around him, you NEVER want him to go.

    @Sarah, when Beanie only gets 15 carries, your right, it’s not going to help much, particularly when he is just getting started at that point. The only thing we need to do to be successful in that regard, is do it more, and I will never understand why we don’t. Imagine if we had Williams this year or next, what is the point if between the two of them they only get 20 carries. It makes me crazy we have set Skelton up for failure by having him throw 40+ times a game.

    Bad play calling when with all the throws Fitz only had 75+- catches. Early is a good slot guy, and the TE play was better, but we are in serious need of another GOOD WR, and what we have on the roster just isn’t going to get it done. Sampson is a possibility down the road, but that’s it. Bringing in a joke like Braylon Edwards isnt going to do anything except have a guy that could care less, ie Stuckey, what a complete waste of 1.5. My God that is insane. Horrible player, in fact lost a game for us. So in essence, we paid him that much to lose a game for us.

    There are a lot of things that need fixing but if I had to rate them it would be in this order:

    1. OC
    2. LOT
    3. ROT
    4. WR
    5. ILB

  76. By Eric on Dec 28, 2011 | Reply

    Funny thing is, with all this talk of what Skelton and Kolb need, there is an EXCELLENT coach just waiting to get snatched up. Todd Haley could do some great stuff with both, including work on the mechanics that cause Skelton to throw HIGH ON DAM NEAR EVERY PASS, and Kolbs happy feet, inconsistent drop back techniques, and getting rid of the ball quickly.

    Please Graves, tell me you are doing whatever it takes to get him back to the Cards.

  77. By Dre1368 on Dec 28, 2011 | Reply

    I think the pproblem is that are running game is weak were always stuck on 3 and long if we could be better at running on first and second we would be alot better over all . If you don’t believe me look at all the games in the first half were all about 3 and outs . Second half were playing from behind and passing. That’s why were always starting from our own 20 or less we need to draft a new kick return man I love lsh but he ain’t breaking them no more the new rule killed his game . See the tape

  78. By Moon on Dec 28, 2011 | Reply


    Good point you have there with the Ravens game, but his play was poor regaurdless.

    Nobody is going to want Kolb as their #1 this season especially with his huge contract(I’m no expert though). Best case scenario for Kolb is he get’s cut, latches onto another team and wins a QB competition. Kolb wants to be an NFL starter so I’m sure he’ll take his paycut if it comes down to that. Still up for debate.

  79. By Kolb's the Answer on Dec 28, 2011 | Reply

    Give Kolb an offseason and an improved Oline and we’ll be atleast 10-6 next year.. Imagine what Fitz could do with a comfortable Kolb throwing the ball his way? And personally I think we should pick up Braylon Edwards because we need a dynamic reciever opposite fitzgerald and I feel like Braylon fits that role well.

  80. By Kevin S on Dec 29, 2011 | Reply


    The Cards aren’t cutting Kolb. If he’s involved in a QB competition in 2012, it will be in AZ.

  81. By BIG RED on Dec 29, 2011 | Reply

    Haley is a maniac, just look what KC did after he left. Have you forgotten he’s the one that got Boldin out of AZ. Don’t get him back Graves, please. He’s crazy and people want him back, ask some KC players what they think.

  82. By Darren Urban on Dec 29, 2011 | Reply

    Big Red —

    RE: Haley/Boldin

    Uh, no, Haley had nothing to do with Boldin leaving. In fact, Boldin wasn’t traded until more than a year after Haley left.

  83. By abel on Dec 29, 2011 | Reply

    im starting to think its a mixture of alot of things but the biggest that were not talking about is offensive play calling how is it that our running game sucks oline sucks and all qb play sucks its the offensive play calling if rookies can come in and with no OTA’s and do better than skelton and kolb even seasoned qbs then theres some thing wrong beanies game is not side line to side line its down hill yet almost every running play is sideline to sideline and then he gets hurt plus apposing teams know our offense ITS GET IT TO LARRY every play when todd haley was here we had one of the most explosive offense in the NFL and sense he left it hasnt been the same not even close how come know one brings that up?

  84. By prosiz on Dec 30, 2011 | Reply

    One word regarding Skelton’s play as a Cardinal.


  85. By Eazy E on Jan 30, 2012 | Reply

    Kolb ain’t good in any quarter. Skelton had alot better year.

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