Does anyone want to win the Arizona Cardinals starting quarterback job?
Arizona's front five protected John Skelton and Kevin Kolb like they were mad at them, making it a little tough to assess the ongoing quarterback battle.
The situation is looking clearer in Arizona. Kevin Kolb will be the league's most expensive backup. John Skelton is now the front runner.— John Clayton (@ClaytonESPN) August 19, 2012
Let's see if Thursday's battle changed anything.
In a word, it was a yucky performance.
Skelton's first snap had him under pressure, which, thanks to the offensive line, would be a theme all night, but instead of throwing the ball away or attempting to move to his next progression, he overthrew his first target. It was intercepted.
All right, good start.
Fortunately, Skelton learned from his mistake. On the next possession, his first throw came on a 3rd-and-11. No one was open, so instead of forcing a throw, he dumped it to Todd Heap and settled for the punt. It was a good decision.
The rest of his night was full of mediocrity. He was doomed by a couple of drops by Heap and rookie Michael Floyd, but he also overthrew Larry Fitzgerald (apparently that's possible) and made a couple other questionable decisions that probably should have resulted in picks.
His final statline: 4-for-10, 41 yards, one interception, three Cardinals points.
Moving on. Please.
Can we call him the Kolb-a-coaster?
After the 27-year-old's first possession was littered with sacks, he decided to start moving out of the pocket. Mixed results would follow.
On Kolb's second possession, a third-down toss was batted down at the line, only to be caught by left guard Daryn Colledge for the first down. Of course, Kolb probably wishes the possession just ended there, because a few plays later came the king of bad throws.
Kolb escaped the pocket nicely, but underthrew (or overthrew, depending on who he was aiming for. I don't even know) his guy by about five yards into a sea of Titans. It could have been intercepted by three or four different guys.
Kolb bounced back with a very impressive seven-play, 86-yard drive for a touchdown only to start the second half with a pick-six that rivaled his first interception for worst throw of the night.
Of course, one more bounce-back came, as Kolb led a nice drive for a field goal to close out his night.
His final line: 17-of-22 for 156 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
What Does it Mean?
First and foremost, the Cardinals offense is in trouble and I feel bad for Larry Fitzgerald.
To be fair, the offensive line didn't give either QB a ton of time to operate, and that makes it hard to come to a just decision, but Ken Whisenhunt must choose the guy to run this offense with this line.
Because of that, Kolb needs to be the guy. Skelton just isn't a good option in this kind of environment (via Bleacher Report's Matt Miller):
When Skelton has time, he'll find open WR and make a good throw. Trouble is he's too slow/stiff to improvise and move behind bad OL.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) August 24, 2012
Don't get me wrong. Skelton can make the better throws and operates much smoother out of a clean pocket. But since a clean pocket won't be around too often, Kolb, who showed the ability to move out of the pocket and make plays with his legs, has a better chance at success.
Who should be the Week 1 starter?
Kolb's floor is lower. There will be terrible throws, as he showcased against Tennessee. But he makes more sense for this particular offense.
Just know that no matter what decision is made—and it's more than possible that Skelton is still Whisenhunt's choice—it's not going to be pretty. Oh, and no one won the job with Thursday night's performance.
No pressure, defense.