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Skelton’s first start as “starter”

Posted by Darren Urban on September 10, 2012 – 8:25 am

It figures that John Skelton finally got what he so coveted — the nod to be the official starter for the Cards, without the caveat that the “real” starter was injured or that the season was a lost cause — and suddenly had the rug pulled from under him with his ankle injury. Clearly there were some ups and downs in the opener before Skelton got hurt, but his first half was solid and smart and exactly the kind of performance the Cards had been hoping he’d deliver. The second half was mostly forgettable, but coach Ken Whisenhunt said the offensive issues weren’t all Skelton’s fault. In fact, take away his interception — which, while a great play by Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, needed to be chucked out of bounds and no where near the field — and Whisenhunt said “I think he played a good game.”

Skelton’s final numbers: 14 for 28, 149 yards and the pick. He had 124 yards by halftime, so he was heading in the right direction. And after all the miracles he performed late in games last season, who knows? Maybe that 17-yarder he threw to Andre Roberts on the play in which he got hurt was the beginning of another one. Maybe he would have done exactly what Kevin Kolb did.

(By the way, call it Kolb’s “give-back” game. Last year, Skelton came in after Kolb got hurt after three plays against the 49ers at UoP and won the game, although the win was “officially” put on Kolb’s record as starter because Kolb started. Well, Kolb returned the favor Sunday.)

But you knew something was bad with the right ankle as soon as he went down. “He’s not going to wallow around whenever he’s got a little ding,” Kolb said. In his postgame presser, Whisenhunt even said the Cards were going to “say a prayer” that Skelton’s ankle injury wasn’t serious. It turned out later, of course, that there is no fracture, it seems like a bad sprain, and while it’s not good, it’s not season-ending.

It’ll make for an interesting turn of events if Kolb can continue to play well in the interim. If that happens, what does Whisenhunt do when Skelton returns? We’ll see. But when I think of that scenario, one of Whiz’s favorite lines echoes in my head: “It’s a good problem to have.”


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43 Responses to “Skelton’s first start as “starter””

  1. By SteveG on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    I hope that Kolb plays well enough that upon John’s return it is a tough decision.

    That interception was amazing, if Fitz made a catch like that, we would be saying “Fitz being Fitz, best hands in the league”…and a DB? Tough to watch but..WOW!

    O line problems? What O line problems? Great job players and coaches….

    (Note to self…get blood pressure medication..gonna be a LONG season….)

  2. By DontTakeLoses on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    Interesting post. From my seat, Kolb was the story of the game.

    I like Skelton (as a backup), but Skelton is painful to watch. Agree, first half was good, but the second half, the miserable inefficiency in giving up a nice lead … it wasn’t just the interception which was classic Skelton and horrible … it was the 3 and outs with a lead, that can demoralize a team. They didn’t, but hard to take, hard to watch.

    Kolb changed the slog into the abyss and put the D in position to make it stand up… instead of having to make a play to score when the offense could not… Kolb, if left to play, plays like Warner when Warner is on. Gotta let him play up tempo, that lets the D play opportunistically.

    Post game, Kolb’s first words on Cards network: “I want to thank the Lord for giving me the strength to persevere, to be prepared for when the time came…” or to that effect. He played with calmness, from behind. Reminds of Kurt as well. Attaboy to Kevin Kolb.

  3. By DontTakeLoses on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    Darren: Re-Read my post. You recognized KK’s role on your main page post, my post reads like a criticism of you as a writer. No offense intended. Only intended to highlight a preference for Kolb and the difference between what he and Skelton bring. I’m sure there will be challenges to this view from the Skelton readers.. lol. Good debate opp… after a W!

  4. By Darren Urban on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    Don’tTake —

    RE: Skelton/Kolb

    No criticism taken. Plenty have opposing views, especially of Skelton. Don’t get me wrong — Kolb was the story. I said that myself: http://blog.azcardinals.com/2012/09/09/seahawks-aftermath-7/

  5. By Mike on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    Darren, Now with Kolb at the helm, any idea or discussions about changing the style of play? I know coach Whiz is hard-headed when it comes to changing “his style”, but given how well Kolb continues to play in an uptempo, no huddle offense, doesnt it only benefit Kolb, as well as the team as a whole? Kolb excelled in Philly running a west coast offense scheme and I feel like if Whiz would alter the playstyle here, just a tad, towards a more uptempo style, that Kolb would look much better on Sundays. As many have said, adjust your scheme to fit your personnel, not the other way around. I guess its just frustrating to see “what could be” only for Whiz to be too stubborn to change. I like Whiz, I just question the approach. thanks.

  6. By Darren Urban on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    Mike —

    RE: Up-tempo

    Will there be some? Sure. All the time? It doesn’t behoove this defense to rush through the game. One of the reasons the Cards were successful in the first half is because of the deliberate offense they were running. But they ran some no-huddle, and I have to say, I disagree with Whiz being “too stubborn.” He changed with Kurt. He does change some stuff. A scheme helps players, but it doesn’t suddenly make some guy someone he’s not.

  7. By Jason Zumwalt on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    The O line had a terrible 3rd quarter. Batiste kept getting beat. It was hard to watch. I had confidence though in Skelton to figure out way to win. That’s what he does. And that’s what he will do when he comes back. I hope it’s soon.

  8. By Dynosoar on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    Steve,

    blood preesure medication, good one and from what it looks like, dead on.

    How ironic would it be if Kevin is the starter in Philly and loses the standing to Vick while injured, if he becomes the starter after Skelton returns.

    I’m glad I’m not in Whizenhunts position, good problem to have or not.

    I liked the play of both quarterbacks and loved the defense. Last week I stated I hadn’t seen any problems with the replacement refs, well…

    What a game, I’m still weary from the win. looking forward to next week. It’ll be a road game, but in 2010 we won, if memory serves me, more road games than any other team and with a defense that wasn’t nearly as good.

    To those who didn’t apreciate the players choice of Lennon as Captain, sometimes I’m pleased that us fans are wrong.

    Interesting that our lack of production wasn’t the O-line, but the running game we were all so excited about. I’m not worried, we’ll fix it.

    We’ve got the coaching, we’ve got the players and we’ve got the fans. Next up, let’s get the ring. Forget the Gipper, let’s do it for Fitz!

  9. By hummer53 on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    Even though the special teams had a poor day, I want to give props to Mike Leach for not quitting of the Washington punt return in 4th quarter. He circled back after getting blocked and made what I think the touchdown saving tackle. We held Seattle to a FG. It’s things like this that win games. Check it out on the replay. I’m sure Coach Spencer will get things right and we will be OK.

  10. By LadyCard04 on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    From the way Skelton was carrying on on the field, I was sure he had a really terrible injury. I’ve had a broken ankle, high ankle sprains, gave birth to two children and didn’t wince and writhe around as much as he did. Everyone has been bashing Kolb for the last year as being soft etc. Maybe we should also look at Skelton’s injury response.

    You insinuate that “IF” Kolb does well; and that “if”….sounds like you are on a major “hope Kolb doesn’t succeed” road.

    The O-line did have problems – they didn’t seem able to block for a run the whole game. If it wasn’t them, then all our RB’s weren’t playing well at all. We have talented RB’s so I can assign the blame on the o-line. Maybe they spent all practices on pass defense and will work on run-blaocking this week.

  11. By Darren Urban on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    LadyCard —

    RE: Road

    I’m not sure where you get that. Kevin had one drive yesterday. It was amazing and fun. It does not guarantee future results. To act like it does seems too rose-colored glasses to me.

    But I guess it feels good in this regard — I have people acting like I want Kolb to get the job, and others asking why I want Skelton to get the job. So I suppose I am doing my job.

  12. By Javier Montoya on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    ^ Hahaha! That had me cracking up SteveG… my pops couldn’t even watch the end.

  13. By Eric G on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    Skelton’s first half was solid??? I completely disagree. It was mediocre. He barely threw the ball Fitz’s way, completely airballed an easy pass on the goaline by a mile and barely kept the Cards D off the field. This is exactly what Skelton does and is as a QB. I don’t see what Whiz sees in him. He makes bad decisions, never throws to Fitz and cannot win games on his shoulders. Every single win he has was because of the D. Skelton is an okay backup, at best. He just doesn’t have “it” and I don’t understand the love affair with him. He is not a starter IMO.

    Kolb gives us the best chance for the Offense to actually win a game. Kolb should be the starter. He gives the Cards a better chance to win. Whiz may know scouting and players, but he is terrible at choosing the starting QB. He has been wrong nearly 100% of the time.

  14. By bluepitt on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    Well lets se if Ken is a flip floper or man of his word… He has stated time and time again, that no player will loose his job due to injury! So if he puts Skelton back in (even after Kolb lights it up if he does) even if we loose I will get a In Whiz We Trust Shirt! (he better put Kolb back in if Skelton sucks) Darren you know it would kill me to get that shirt!!!!!!!!!

  15. By Joel on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    @SteveG – I’m with ya, the pharmacies will need to restock the shelves this week. I am so happy for Kolb and surprised that Card’s fans would “boo” him before he even throws a pass. The offense (I think) was not penalized in the first half, so what the heck happened in the 2nd half, five 3-and-outs??

  16. By AndyStandsUp on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    The running game needs to get going, no?

    An aside Darren, but you and Josh have written about the timeout fiasco at the end of the game but can you explain the penalty for the end of the first half when Cards called back-to- back TOs?
    I heard the ruling but don’t understand since the playclock was still running and Periera said refs usually let the timer run out before flagging.

  17. By Darren Urban on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    AndyStands —

    RE: Penalty/QB

    I would assume, if Skelton is out, they would sign a third. We haven’t heard yet Skelton’s prognosis.

    As for the penalty, I already forgot the circumstances. Not sure what happened.

  18. By AndyStandsUp on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    Also, is Skelton going to be out a long enough time to be worth signing a third?

  19. By Dynosoar on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    I liked what I saw from Michael Adams at the close of the game. Man, he’s short and still knocked away three touchdown passes that I saw. I also didn’t notice him for most of the game, so he wasn’t, from my vantage point, giving up any real big plays.

    I can see why he’s still on the team. He saved the game three times. Actually, in spite of the repeated 1st down oppotunities of the Seahawks on that last drive inside the ten, our defense was immovable.

    Looking forward to our first San Francisco game. Wish I could be there.

    New Orleans, we’ll see you in February.

  20. By bluepitt on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    @Jason Zumwalt,
    Dude? You are seriously in love with John? “He wins games”?
    Our D won 5 of his six last year!! FACT!! Didnt PP close out 2 of Skeltons wins? I dont have a soild choice at QB that is a fact as well! Kolb if the line blocks and Skelton if they dont! But bro, you have a Man crush!

  21. By SteveG on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    How fast is TE Housler? ran down the gull on the long return and he is a BIG guy..great effort and amazing talent!

    Once again, Mr. Cambell changes a game’s outcome by blocking a field goal…Did not feel as huge because it was early, but those 3 points score and we see a different end to the game…HUGE!

    Mr Washington celebrated his new contract by being on my TV screen continuously and always near the ball…

    Mike Adams is on the team again why? Cos’ dude makes plays….Great play MONEY!

  22. By ericylz on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    ^^ i think Darren wants a good QB at the helm like all of us. What a game. What a defensive stand. Running game is feeling Levi’s absence. fingers crossed Kolb can stay up for 4-6 weeks at least. He’s a “Gamer”, I can comfortably say that now.

  23. By D on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    If this team can’t run the ball like yesterday, it won’t matter if Peyton M was behind center….this Oline needs fixed now or it’s going to get ugly really fast….

  24. By Sir60 on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    Andy

    The reg. officials would ignor the request for time out and penalize delay of game when play clock expires. There was some confusion by the refs. but they eventially got it right.

  25. By WilyB on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    Kevin Kolb looked all-pro in the no-huddle. He also looked good in his last preseason game using the same offense.

    Darren, why aren’t the Cardinals using the no-huddle as their base offense?

  26. By Darren Urban on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    Wily B —

    RE: No-huddle as base

    Because it takes away from any run threat and puts defense in bad position if it’s not effective.

  27. By jeffgollin on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    Darren – Could you button-hole Russ G for a moment and ask him whether there are some aspects of pass blocking (& the drills thereof) and the techniques employed in Cardinal run blocking which run counter to one another?

    It seemed ironic that, as our pass blocking began to improve, our run blocking went down the tubes. From a technique or scheming standpoint, does one thing – at least early in the development of a cohesive & effective O-line- undermine the other?

  28. By AndyStandsUp on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    @Sir60,
    That was kinda what I was implying. But they called the penalty before the Cards could run a play so in reality, they missed 3 TO calls – the late one, the Kolb TD with Whiz trying to call one and the end of the half.

    Replacement refs may need to take a timeout themselves and stand in the corner.

  29. By jmh1982 on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    @LadyCard04

    I like how you use the pain that you have been in in the past to try and determine how Skelton was feeling. I’m curious did your ankle sprains have anything to do with being tackled by a 300lb dude? Is it possible he overreacted? Sure, but I will give him the benefit of the doubt.

  30. By Richrad on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    Darren, I don’t think the line is as horrible as people make it out to be, and I don’t think Russ Grimm has underachieved like a lot do…

    But why on earth is it impossible for this team to run a screen pass again this year?? When Grimm was a HoF linemen, did screen passes not exist back then? Is it the QB? I just can’t figure it out…

  31. By Peter in Canada on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    Richrad – We ran screens with Warner. The winning TD against the Giants on Sunday night in 2009 came on a screen and so did the winning TD against the Eagles that got us into the SB.

    You are right, I haven’t seen it used recently. It should have been called yesterday especially in the third quarter to slow down the rush.

  32. By KKFan on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    I was happy for the Cards win. …and for Kevin. That he was able to perform well when getting the chance. To get the protection for the time to survey the field, to make his reads, and the kind of play calling to allow him success.

    I knew Kevin would not let his personal disappointment of not being named the starter interfer with being a good team mate, and fulfilling the role that he was asked to accept. That is just not Kevins demeaner. He is a team mate and a professional first and foremost.
    I just hope the fans who have been so unjust in their quick to judge him, will finally see what a great asset he can be to the team.

    Also, want to say that I am glad that the news on John isn’t as dire as it could have been. Keep it going Cards (except when you play my Eagles). You have the start and the makings of a good young team.

  33. By KKFan on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    @ Richard, It’s like anything else once everyone catches on, it no longer has the same effect.

  34. By Brett on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    You my enemy need to get off our blog there is only room for true fans not bandwagoneers!

  35. By ak24 on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    The difference with Kolb and Skelton is this: Skelton played a solid first half, and he’ll do that. He’ll have solid days where he plays a little above average. Kolb on the other hand can put together a drive like that drive against seattle. Where he looks like an elite qb and makes me remember when we had warner. Sure Kolb makes a lot of mistakes. Whatever is causing them idk. Maybe it’s our playcalling, our blocking, stupid mental errors idk. But I do know when Kolb is on his A game, you all saw it. He shredded a very good defense in that drive. With the exception of that first pass (of course butterflies), he played flawless. And with Skelton, even when he’s on his A game, you will never get that from him.

  36. By Jzoully on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    Darren,

    I counted it up, one sack, and suppose to be one of the top defensive teams this year. Does this mean that we don’t have as much offensive line trouble as we thought?

  37. By Darren Urban on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    Jzoully —

    RE: One sack

    It means that for this week, there was good pass protection. Run blocking needs work.

  38. By BIG RED on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    To all you idiots about Whiz not running the No Huddle offense all the time would be stupid, do you want our defense killed and tired. Think before you speak.

  39. By Rio on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    Johns injury, i thought for sure he had two broken legs , one broken arm , pecvis fracture, broker neck, spleen torn and liver damage. And all is was a turn ankle, i have never seem someone on a football field look so hurt with as little of a injury.

    Now i hear Justin Beaver is looking to fight John.

  40. By Jzoully on Sep 10, 2012 | Reply

    I believe you when I hear that, when we rush for under 50 yards combined I know we need better rushing. The offensive line is in better shape then last year I know that. Brandon Keith was demoralizing, and Levi Brown is still giving up sacks. One more question Darren, if D’Anthony Batiste does well this season and doesn’t give up sacks like Levi did last year, would D’Anthony contest for the starting position next year against Levi?

    Rio get out of here, this chat is for true fans, not fans that bad talk a quarterback of ours that just went down.

  41. By Darren Urban on Sep 11, 2012 | Reply

    Jzoully —

    RE: Batiste

    I believe Levi will be the LT next year, as of now. It’s a long, long season. We’ll see where Batiste is by the time it is over.

  42. By DowdyMan on Sep 11, 2012 | Reply

    Does the play calling drive anyone else nuts or is it just me? I know we can’t run no-huddle all game and I know we gotta run the ball but our play calling at times makes my head hurt. (Or maybe it’s because I am a contractor in the Middle East watching the game at 2 AM and drinking my 12th Monster Energy drink of the night.) Yeah, that’s probably it.

    I see WAY too much of the standard “Run on 1st and 2nd down then pass on 3rd” . We have the lead and the ball coming out of halftime and what do we do on the first drive? Yup, you guessed it….run on 1st down, run on 2nd down, then try to pass on third. Of course we go three and out. I saw that trend way too many times this game. I’m not criticizing our coaching staff, (ok..maybe a little)..but Whiz is an outstanding coach so it makes me wonder why we go so vanilla at times. Oh, and could we win a game just once NOT on the last play of the game? It will take 2 weeks to get more blood pressure medicine here so go easy on me will ya? I’m gonna need nitro AND Prozac if this year is a repeat of last.

    Go Cards!!

  43. By BIG RED on Sep 11, 2012 | Reply

    Hey, Rio go back to school. Talking about stupidity, you just won the cake.

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