Arizona Cardinals: Quarterback Job Is Skelton's to Lose

Travis WakemanCorrespondent IIAugust 6, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 01:  Quarterback John Skelton #19 of the Arizona Cardinals throws a pass during the NFL game against the Seattle Seahawks at the University of Phoenix Stadium on January 1, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Cardinals defeated the Seahawks 23-20 in overtime.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The NFL preseason kicked off on Sunday Night with the Hall of Fame Game from Canton, Ohio.

Looking to make a strong first impression in what should be a tight race for the starting quarterback position, Kevin Kolb was dragged to the turf in his own end zone and appeared to be in pain.

After leaving the game, sideline reporter Stacy Dales said Kolb had bruised his ribs and was doubtful to return. Instead, Kolb could only watch from the sideline as John Skelton came into the game and went 4-of-6 for 32 yards, looking poised and confident running the offense.

But it's not just the injury that Kolb will be battling. In 2011, Kolb was 1-6 as a starter while Skelton went 5-2, almost leading the Cards to a playoff berth.

At 6'6", Skelton is a very big, athletic passer that can make plays. Kolb on the other hand, has a career QB rating of 76.7 and has only started 16 games in five NFL seasons.

The Cardinals have weapons on offense. Aside from a running game with plenty of potential, they have Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, Early Doucet, Todd Heap and Rob Housler. That is a core of offensive players that could make some noise in the NFC West.

But it all starts with the quarterback. The offensive line will be key as they'll need more consistent play from a line that gave up 54 sacks a season ago.

After being traded to the Cardinals prior to last season, there were high hopes for Kolb to become the team's quarterback of the future. But save for the 2011 season opener against Carolina, a 28-21 Arizona victory in which Kolb threw for 309 yards and two touchdowns, it's been nothing short of disappointing.

Disappointing is probably the word Kolb would use to describe the way his 2012 season started. While it's unclear what the severity of his rib injury is, what does appear to be clear is that he's already in a hole in this quarterback competition.