Atlanta, GA- The NFL may be the most overreactive league in professional sports, but the Arizona Cardinals might have one of the worst offenses in modern day history. In a game where the defense created six Atlanta turnovers to Arizona’s one and Matt Ryan was picked off five times, the Cardinals were able to score one touchdown. Four of Ryan’s interceptions gave the Cardinals starting field position inside the Atlanta 35-yard line, and only one resulted in seven points. That drive started off on Atlanta’s 9-yard line.
John Skelton was playing so poorly that Ken Whisenhunt benched him in favor of 6th round rookie Ryan Lindley during the 2nd quarter. Skelton failed to take advantage of Atlanta’s early batch of turnovers, repeatedly missing receivers and misreading coverage. Larry Fitzgerald was so frustrated he was even someone demonstrative towards Skelton at one point, and anyone who watches Fitzgerald knows how upset he has to be to actually show it on the field. Whisenhunt’s move to bench Skelton may have not paid off, but he had to show the QB what happens when expectations are continually unmet.
This game was even harder to swallow when considering the defense’s Herculean effort yesterday. They went out and dominated one of the better, more balanced offenses in an arena where Atlanta is ridiculously hard to beat. Daryl Washington continues to play out of his mind and the Cards were able to pressure Ryan into a bad day while only rushing four for most of the game. Atlanta finally scored one touchdown late in the game, but overall this defense played extremely well. The offensive players should be paying for dinner for the rest of the year after the disparaging efforts coming from one side of the ball to the other.
Whisenhunt’s move to bench Skelton shows a coach running out of options. At the beginning of the year nobody would’ve predicted Kevin Kolb being looked at as a potential savor, and I still don’t, but I’m confident he could’ve taken advantage of all the turnovers Matt Ryan handed Arizona yesterday. Without Kolb to hold over Skelton’s shoulder, Whisnehunt felt he had to make a change to spark the offense. That move didn’t spark the offense though, Ryan Lindley wasn’t ready to play, but that’s the gamble Wiz took when he benched Skelton.
Would Skelton have played better in the 2nd half with the prime field position Lindley got? Probably, but nobody saw two more interceptions coming, and fans shouldn’t have to watch Tebow-like accuracy at the quarterback position for one quarter, let alone three or four. Skelton simply wasn’t playing well or urgent enough, so he got demoted to see what the young kid could do. That’s how Skelton got his shot, and if he wants to ever get one again he’s got to change a few things.
About the Author
Written by Thomas Mitchell
Born & raised in Arizona, part of the MJ generation. Lifelong sports fanatic