The last starting quarterback in the NFL was named today when The Sideline View’s Adam Caplan reported that Ken Wisenhunt chose John Skelton to start the season vs. The Seattle Seahawks. With little more than a week before the Cardinal’s first game, fans were starting to wonder what was taking so long since neither Skelton or Kevin Kolb played in last night’s finals preseason loss vs. The Broncos. Although it is nice to hear a decision has finally been made so the team knows who to follow, few outside of Arizona think any QB on this roster can lead this team to the playoffs.
Next Sunday’s opener against Seattle might break a record for the combined salaries of each team’s back up quarterbacks. Seattle’s Matt Flynn will make $8 million this year, while Kolb will make $9 million of his own. However, the starters of each team will make just $1,159,400 COMBINED. ($540,000 guaranteed for Skelton, $619,400 guaranteed for 3rd round rookie Russell Wilson) Although both teams are being criticized for paying such a high price for players that ended up being back-ups, I applaud them for being objective and picking someone with wins in mind and not the media, something the New York Jets don’t seem to agree with.
As ironic as those numbers are, both Wisenhunt and Pete Carroll are confident their chosen starter brings the best shot to win games, but there is still a big difference between the two situations. Seattle fans are excited because Wilson won the job over Flynn, who played pretty well this preseason, and Wilson has shown the ability to make plays with his athleticism and accurate throwing. The feeling in Arizona is that even though Skelton won the job, it was more of winning by default since him nor Kolb couldn’t definitively show why he deserved the job over his counterpart. Wisenhunt’s decision on who will start the season would be like being forced to chose between taking your cousin or an ugly family friend to prom. You’ll still show up and might have a good time, but its definitely not what you hoped for and you sure don’t feel like a winner.
Neither Skelton or Kevin Kolb impressed anybody but their mothers this preseason, but Skelton went 6-2 with this team last year and looks the most poised in a pocket that is constantly under fire due to a bad O-line. Kolb failed to squash rumors of a skittish reputation in the pocket, and his play was uninspiring enough that none of his teammates defended him when Oakland’s Tommy Kelly called him scared after a game. Skelton’s play hasn’t been much better, but there have been consistent reports that the locker room wants him to start over Kolb. Skelton’s youth, size, and strength show a sliver of potential, enough potential to make the rest of the team believe in themselves going into games, and that is essential.
With both players playing similarly mediocre one can only support the decision the head coach makes, he is the one who sees them practice every day. Not many are questioning Wisenhunt’s decision, Kolb’s had enough opportunities to win the job, but some are questioning Wisenhunt’s delay to announce it. Maybe he was hoping for a trade for a better option, or maybe he wanted to give Kolb every opportunity to prove his worth, either way naming a starter a couple weeks ago as opposed to to right now might’ve helped the offense grow a little. Its easy to play head coach from a computer though, and I’m sure the front office wanted Kolb to have every chance he could to solidify his sizable contract.
Wisenhunt wants to win games today, not next year, and if John Skelton is his choice to start then fans should only support him and hope for the best. It’s understandable to not be filled with optimism when looking over Skelton’s performance in the preseason, but in real games (which are very different from preseason because they actually matter) the team won with Skelton. I’m not suggesting a division championship, but Skelton is a notoriously slow starter in games and he never played more than one half in the preseason. Hopefully with a full four quarters Skelton can improve throughout each game and continue his surprisingly high winning percentage. If he doesn’t, the Cardinals wings are clipped.
About the Author
Written by Thomas Mitchell
Born & raised in Arizona, part of the MJ generation. Lifelong sports fanatic