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Saturday, December 31, 2011
XTRA910 audio: NFC West Week 17

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

John Skelton's slow starts and fast finishes for the Arizona Cardinals came up Friday during my weekly conversation with Dan Bickley and Mike Jurecki on XTRA Sports 910 AM in Phoenix.

How to explain them?

A thought: Dynamics change when one team leads another team late in a game. The trailing team plays more aggressively in the absence of anything to lose. The leading team often changes how it plays as well.

Skelton has handled these situations well. He will need to play better earlier in games to become more than a backup for the long term.

In the meantime, though, Skelton has already exceeded reasonable expectations for a 2010 fifth-round draft choice from Fordham. That was one of the points I raised during our radio conversation.

Yes, it's frustrating for Cardinals fans when Skelton struggles all game, only to flourish late, but he's a second-year player from the Patriot League and the 155th player chosen in his draft class. Were we expecting instant, sustained success?