John Skelton: Cardinals Doomed If QB Must Play Extended Time

Ethan Grant@DowntownEGAnalyst IOctober 15, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 09:  Quarterback John Skelton #19 of the Arizona Cardinals reacts after throwing an interception during the season opener against the Seattle Seahawks at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 9, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. The Carindals defeated the Seahawks 20-16.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Arizona Cardinals are the surprise team of 2012 right now, but if John Skelton is forced into an extended role for this team, the Cards don't have a chance to make playoff noise in the NFC West.

When Kevin Kolb went down with an apparent rib injury late in the fourth quarter against the Buffalo Bills, the Cardinals suddenly looked more like the team we thought they were at the beginning of the season and less like the 4-2 team they still are.

Imagine that, people. Kevin Kolb's injury has derailed a potential break-out season for the Cardinals.

Believe it or not, that's exactly what's going on in Arizona now. John Skelton, the opening-day starter who injured his ankle and got the Kolb train rolling, came on in the closing seconds. He was able to put his team in field-goal range for Jay Feely, who tied the game with 1:09 to play.

Skelton was also responsible for the major gaffe of the day, though, when he found Bills safety Jarius Byrd in overtime for an interception. The Bills were able to move into field-goal position for Ryan Lindell, and then pull off the 19-16 win.

The final line on Skelton was an ugly one: 2-of-10 passing, 45 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, 6.3 QB Rating.

It's hard to think that this was the guy coach Ken Wisenhunt pegged to start the season for this team. Kolb has been so steady in the starting role that it seems like a lifetime ago that Skelton was responsible for 150 yards and an interception in the opener against Seattle.

To his credit, Skelton was able to complete a 4th-and-11 to Larry Fitzgerald on the game-tying drive. But he wasn't able to keep the Cardinals in a position to get points in the first portion of overtime, and he showed his displeasure with himself on Twitter following the loss.

At the end of the day, simply not good enough and cost our team a Win.

— John Skelton (@johnskelton19) October 15, 2012

I think Skelton will out-work most other people in his position. He's obviously caught the eyes of the coaching staff, because there's no way that Kolb should have been challenged by this guy after the trade the Cardinals made to get him.

He won the job once. But after losing it to an ankle injury, he'll step into an unfavorable position. Not only is his practice time down, but the offensive line he's inheriting hasn't exactly lit the world on fire through the first six weeks of the season.

From ESPN's "Numbers Never Lie" Twitter page, there's only one QB leading the sack parade this season, and he's doing so in Arizona.

21. Aaron Rodgers has been sacked 21 times this season, the second most behind Kevin Kolb.

— Numbers Never Lie (@ESPN_Numbers) October 15, 2012

The West Texas product has the will power to help this team win games. But he finds himself in an unfavorable situation, and without the tools to get the job done.

The offense is now in rhythm based on what Kolb had been doing. The timing with the receivers, in the cadence and with the coaching staff now all has to be re-worked, and that will include incorporating a brand new set of running backs.

It's a no-win situation for Skelton, especially with his team in a position to compete for a playoff spot. His defense will give him a chance to keep his team in every ball game, but the sooner Kolb can return to this offense, the better.