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Thursday, November 17, 2011
Comfort zones: John Skelton vs. Kevin Kolb

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Injuries, opposing defenses and game situations influence receiving totals from week to week.

So do quarterback changes.

The chart shows reception and yardage totals for Arizona Cardinals players in each of their quarterback's past two games. John Skelton is coming off games against St. Louis and Philadelphia. Kevin Kolb played most recently against Pittsburgh and Baltimore.

Skelton faced easier competition and won both games, making clutch plays in fourth quarters. Toe and foot injuries continue to sideline Kolb. I would expect him to resume as the starter when healthy -- unless Skelton leads Arizona past 8-1 San Francisco in Week 11.

The numbers seem to confirm perceptions that Skelton appears more comfortable than Kolb to this point. He's been more proficient at getting the ball to Arizona's secondary wide receivers, especially Andre Roberts. My thought was that a quarterback more comfortable in the offense might stick with plays longer, allowing him to find secondary receivers. Kolb has bailed on some plays too early.

Facing lesser defenses also can make a quarterback more comfortable. Skelton hasn't had to worry about Terrell Suggs or Troy Polamalu coming after him.

I'm heading to San Francisco for the Cardinals' game against the 49ers. Skelton's performance in that game should answer questions about the position in Arizona. This will be Skelton's first start of the season against one of the better defenses in the league.

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