Say what you will about our Arizona Cardinals. Sure, we’ve lost 7 games in-a-row. Can you say “rebuilding season?” But, we haven’t been beaten 45-3 this year! Did you see the Patriots/Jets game last night? OUCH!
(Courtesy of Bob McManaman – Arizona Republic)
Break out your handkerchiefs and reach for the tissue box. It’s now time for another edition of, “As the Quarterback Turns.”
This week, Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt is faced with yet another difficult decision. Does he gamble and hope a terribly inconsistent Derek Anderson passes his concussion-symptoms tests? Or does he roll the dice even further and turn the starting quarterback job over to third-string rookie John Skelton?
Whisenhunt wasn’t ready to say on Monday, a day after the Cardinals lost their seventh consecutive game 19-6 to the St. Louis Rams.
// “We have injury issues there. We have performance issues at that position,” he said. “That’s something we’re going to look at as we go forward this week.”
Anderson looked groggy to Whisenhunt early in the second half, apparently from absorbing a few too many hits, and the coach turned to rookie backup Max Hall. But Hall left with a dislocated left shoulder and could miss anywhere from two to four weeks.
If Anderson can’t play this Sunday when the Cardinals host the Denver Broncos, that leaves Skelton, who completed 3 of 6 passes for 45 yards in his NFL debut.
The Cardinals also would have to bring in another quarterback, most likely a veteran who can step in and play immediately, if necessary.
“Obviously we can’t go into the game with one quarterback,” Whisenhunt said. “That’s going to be determined by what happens with Derek. But that is something you have to look at, yes.”
Whisenhunt wouldn’t even rule out starting the new guy, whoever it happens to be.
“It’s difficult, but you have to look at what you’re working with,” he said. “Is the guy somebody that’s been around an NFL team before. Is he somebody that’s played? Is he somebody that’s familiar with that?
“It would be very hard to get another young player that hasn’t played a snap in the NFL and think he would be ready for the game. It’s obviously a concern going into this week. Who’s going to be there calling the signals for us? That’s something in the next couple day we’re going to have to pay attention to and work through.”
Anderson wasn’t available for interviews Monday. He was being evaluated by doctors and his status won’t be known at least until Wednesday at the earliest.
Skelton, however, sounded as if he fully expects to get the chance to play.
“As the game goes on and I get more experience, I’ll definitely become more comfortable,” the fifth-round pick from Fordham said. “But I think I have the capabilities to play at this level.”
But is he ready right now? In one breath, Whisenhunt said he’s excited about Skelton’s future and praises his size and strong arm. In the next, he said “by no means do I think he’s ready to play,” and adds anything the Cardinals get to see out of Skelton from here on out “is a bonus.”
Cardinals safety Kerry Rhodes said he was impressed with what little he saw from Skelton in the fourth quarter against the Rams.
“I don’t know a lot about John Skelton but he works hard with the scout team and seems to throw the ball well,” Rhodes said. “But when you get in the game and those live bullets come, it can be a different story.”
Skelton knows if he plays Sunday, the Broncos will likely try to blitz him to death.
“I’m sure they will, just like they would with any rookie quarterback,” he said. “You just have to prepare as much as you can during the week about what you’re expecting to see on Sunday and roll with the tide, I guess.”
Or in this case, roll along with “As the Quarterback Turns.”