Last week Ken Whisenhunt said he wouldn’t start John Skelton at Quarterback this year for the Arizona Cardinals, barring injury, because he didn’t want to lose their “identity”. He also said he didn’t want to “ruin” a young player. The identity has already been lost. It was lost the minute Kurt Warner retired. As far as ruining a young player, why doesn’t that same philosophy apply to Max Hall, who has been obliterated every time he’s been put out there? Even without the injuries last week to Max Hall and Derek Anderson, John Skelton needs to start for this Arizona Cardinals football team.
The first reason is painfully obvious to everyone involved. Derek Anderson prevents winning. In a recent poll titled, “What would you rather do than watch one more game with Anderson behind center?” the 2nd most popular response was “Poke my eyes repeatedly with paperclips” which followed “Work in a sewage treatment plant without gloves.” Apparently, shoveling some Anderson while gloveless is preferable to blinding yourself. But only barely.
This season is a bust for the Arizona Cardinals, standing at 3-9. Yet we’ve learned nothing about this team, other than the fact that they are very bad. The only way to justify such a horrible season is if the Cardinals find their Quarterback of the future in John Skelton. If the rook Skelton manages even a semblance of NFL form it will justify everything that’s happened this year. Even failure will tell us something. It will tell us the Cardinals need to find a long-term Quarterback. Now is the time to exhaust the roster and find out who your players are.
It’s telling that when Anderson went down and Hall started taking reps the Arizona crowd cheered. It’s even more telling that when Hall went down in a heap of 6 foot 1 incompetence and Skelton started warming up that the crowd gave him a standing ovation. This was the guy they hadn’t seen, and they gave him a standing ovation. A standing ovation, for a 3rd string Quarterback who hasn’t played a snap and who the coaches top to bottom said wasn’t ready. That tells you the desperation of this fan base, they don’t want to go back to the “Same Old Cardinals”, who regularly put up 4-12 seasons.
Skelton’s sampling of play Sunday is too small to justify any type of anointment. But he showed enough—standing tall in the pocket, looking like an actual NFL Quarterback, completing some nice passes—that he deserves a chance. He made some nice throws, and his one fault, tossing it well over Fitz’s head during a Free Safety blitz, can be excused because he and Fitzgerald weren’t on the same page as far as the blitzing adjustments and routes. That’s to be expected.
It’s time to get the team looking forward. It’s time to get the fans looking forward. The only way to do that is to start John Skelton.