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John Skelton Back As Starting QB

Posted Dec 5, 2012

Notebook: Kolb rehab slows; Cards won't see Browner in Seattle

Quarterbacks John Skelton (right) and Kevin Kolb go through early warm-ups last weekend in New York. Skelton was returned to the starting lineup Wednesday.

John Skelton is back at quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals.

How long that will last Skelton does not know. He can’t worry about that, not after being coach Ken Whisenhunt’s pick to replace rookie Ryan Lindley as the Cards head to Seattle Sunday to play the Seahawks.

“You can’t take another opportunity for granted, if it comes at the beginning of the season or the end of the season, whether you are losing or when you’re winning,” said Skelton, who had been benched early in the Nov. 18 Atlanta game in favor of Lindley. “You just have to take advantage.”

Whisenhunt, who had stuck with Lindley throughout last weekend’s 7-6 loss in New York to the Jets, didn’t get into specifics of why he wanted to go back to Skelton. Some of it had to do both with the venue – Seattle is a rough place to play, especially for a rookie – and that Skelton started against the Seahawks in the season opener.

“There were a lot of factors and I’m not going to go into each one,” Whisenhunt said.

Another probably was Lindley’s struggles. He completed just 10-of-31 passes against the Jets for 72 yards, and in his time of two-plus games, he had no touchdown passes and five interceptions. Over the last six quarters, the Cardinals had scored just six points.

“You have to respect the decision,” Lindley said. “When you don’t perform like that, there isn’t much ground to argue on. … I’m not losing confidence.

“Every time it seemed like we’d knock it down and get something going (against the Jets), something else hit the fan.”

Kevin Kolb, still recovering from his ribs injury, said Wednesday his rehab had “hit a wall” and didn’t sound optimistic about a return soon. Skelton, who has never played in Seattle, had said Monday he hoped Whisenhunt could still feel he could turn back to Skelton if needed. That time, with the Cards on an eight-game losing streak, is now.

“I’ve been ready to go since coming out of the Atlanta game,” Skelton said, adding that he thought he had handled his benching well. “It’s frustrating and everything, but I don’t think I ever let my attitude get the better of me.”

Skelton not only started the year as the man behind center but he had been the choice once Kolb went down as well, but he was lifted after completing just 2-of-7 passes against the Falcons. He acknowledged he needs to complete more passes and up his percentage to open receivers.

Skelton called the back-and-forth this season, first losing his starting job to Kolb because of his ankle injury to the benching to Wednesday’s ascension, as “humbling.”

““You always have to take the good with the bad,” Skelton said. “You can’t ever let yourself get too high or too low. I think me being kind of even-keeled helps the situation. I know it’s part of the game. The whole process, anything on the field, off the field, it’s all a learning process.”

KOLB STRUGGLES TO RETURN

The question wasn’t even fully asked when Kolb admitted how frustrated he was now that his comeback from his ribs injury has “hit a wall.”

“You keep telling yourself this the week,” Kolb said, except it isn’t. Kolb said a recent MRI showed some swelling, and his issue isn’t even just with pain tolerance. His broken ribs aren’t completely healed yet and he has a “lack of function” because of it.

“This is not like coming back when you are a senior in high school,” Kolb said. “(The NFL) is an elite level where you have to be firing on all cylinders.

“I’ve got to keep pushing for myself and my sanity, one day at a time.”

With the Cardinals struggling and the playoffs unrealistic, Kolb could just shut it down for the season. He insisted that isn’t the case, and that he wants to get back on the field.

“As a player I always have a lot to prove and these guys are warriors and I want to be a warrior for them too,” Kolb said. “I know (Kolb shutting down) is what people are thinking, but I am very tight with a bunch of people in here and if I get a chance, I’m going to go out and battle with them.”

BROWNER TO MISS CARDS’ GAME

Skelton and the Cards’ passing game will benefit from the Seahawks losing starting cornerback Brandon Browner, who will begin a four-game suspension Sunday for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drugs policy. Fellow starting cornerback Richard Sherman also is facing a potential four-game ban, but he is in the process of appealing and will play against the Cards.

Walter Thurmond will replace Browner in the lineup.

“We treat it like next guy up, really like you would treat an injury,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “Brandon can’t play for us, and Walter Thurmond, his opportunity is now. We’ll miss the guy, but just go along with the system and the rules, and next guy up. I’m excited to see Walter play. A couple years ago, Walter was the next guy up and he started ahead of Richard Sherman. Then, when Walter got hurt against Cleveland a few years back, Richard took his spot. We have a lot of faith in Walter, and we’re counting on him to come in and play good football.”

ROBERTS STILL SITTING

Wide receiver Andre Roberts (ankle) sat out practice again Wednesday, as did defensive end Ronald Talley (ankle). Limited was Kolb, defensive end Calais Campbell (calf), running back Beanie Wells (knee), linebacker Reggie Walker (knee) and safety Kerry Rhodes (quadricep).

EXTRA POINTS

Whisenhunt wasn’t going to get into details about the decision to release tight end Todd Heap Tuesday.

“It’s unfortunate it didn’t work out the way either one of us wanted,” Whisenhunt said. “But sometimes that happens. It’s just an unfortunate thing.” …

Originally, the two Cardinals’ two sacks of Mark Sanchez in the Jets game were both split – one between safety Adrian Wilson and defensive end David Carter, the other between linebacker Sam Acho and defensive end Darnell Dockett. The sacks were officially changed Wednesday to solo sacks for Wilson and Acho.

 

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