Monday, November 14, 2011
Coach: Kevin Kolb hurt, so no issue
Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt says there is no reason to even address a potential decision at quarterback as long as Kevin Kolb is injured.
Backup John Skelton has had two uneven performances, but they were both victories. On Sunday, he led Arizona to a 21-17 win in Philadelphia, where the big second-year pro overcame two interceptions to direct three long drives that each ended with a touchdown pass.
Kolb was acquired in a trade with Philadelphia and signed to a five-year, $63 million contract -- $21 million guaranteed -- as Arizona's quarterback of the future. The game in which he was injured was Arizona's sixth loss in a row, and Kolb has not practiced for two weeks.
The Cardinals (3-6) play at the NFC West's runaway leader San Francisco (8-1) next Sunday.
"Kevin is doing everything he can to get healthy again and get back on the field," Skelton told the NFL Network on Monday. "He's a competitor and he wants to be out there just as bad as anyone. That's not for me to say or me to speculate about. It's really up to the coaching staff. I'm sure if Kevin's healthy, he'll be able to go."
After he had addressed a similar question, Whisenhunt was asked directly Monday if there was a chance Skelton would get the start even if Kolb was healthy.
"I know that you're going to try to ask this question a bunch of times," he said. "I understand that. I understand the point of discussion. Where we are right now, it doesn't matter. Until we get Kevin back out there and practicing and we can assess where he is after having missed a couple of weeks, you can't even talk about that, to be honest with you."
Skelton had an interception returned for a touchdown and another pick set up a field goal. But after each interception, the Cardinals answered with long touchdown drives. On third-and-goal at the Eagles 5-yard line, Skelton threw a touchdown pass to Early Doucet for the game-winner with 1:53 to play.
The victory snapped an 11-game road losing streak dating to the 2010 season opener at St. Louis. Arizona hadn't won on the East Coast since beating the New York Giants two years ago.
A week ago in the Cardinals' overtime home win over St. Louis, Skelton was responsible for two safeties, then led his team on an 84-yard fourth-quarter touchdown drive to tie the game.
Skelton, who gave the defense the lion's share of the credit at Philadelphia, said a quarterback just has to forget it when things go badly. After his interception allowed the go-ahead field goal for the Eagles, Skelton directed an 11-play, 89-yard TD drive that included a fourth-and-two first-down pass to LaRod Stephens-Howling and a spectacular catch by Larry Fitzgerald to the Philadelphia 1.
"You can't dwell on the past," Skelton said. "You can have three bad quarters but ultimately when your down in the nitty gritty of everything you have to be able to push that out of your mind and focus on the task at hand."
Skelton completed 21 of 40 for 313 yards and three touchdowns, with his two interceptions. Two of the scoring passes were to Fitzgerald, whose 70 TDs for his career to pass Roy Green for the franchise record. Fitzgerald caught seven for 146 yards.
Skelton is 4-2 as a starter, but this was his first road win. He started the final four games last season.
"Last year, even when he hadn't even really had any training camp reps and we threw him in there in the last four games, he appeared poised. He just didn't have any idea of what he was doing, where to go with it," Whisenhunt said.
Now he has an understanding of the offense, the coach said.
"Some of the throws that he misses, you see him be upset because his footwork or his technique was bad when he knew he was anticipating something," Whisenhunt said. "But the one thing I'll say about John is whenever you bounce back from something bad, like he did a couple of times yesterday, he led long drives and made some big plays in those drives, it says a lot about the mental toughness of that player. That's a great quality to have at that position. You have to have it."