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Staying Together Through Offensive Issues

Posted Dec 3, 2012

Whisenhunt still deciding on QB starter after Lindley struggles

Quarterback Ryan Lindley (14) and the Cardinals' offense come off the field after a stalled drive during Sunday's loss to the Jets.

The idea was to interview Kerry Rhodes about his big game Sunday, one of things that went right on mostly gloomy game for the Cardinals.

But even Rhodes wasn’t into that idea in the least, given the circumstances.

“We’ve lost eight games in a row,” the safety said Monday, a day after a 7-6 loss to the Jets in New York. “To talk about myself personally is not what I want to do right now.”

Rhodes would talk about the team, however, stressing they needed to remember they are in it together.

“We’ve all had not-so-great moments, some have had great moments,” Rhodes said. “But as a team, you are only as good as your last game, your last play, your last whatever. Yesterday was a loss for us and we’re not that good right now.”

The focus remained, a day later, on the struggles of rookie quarterback Ryan Lindley and the decision by coach Ken Whisenhunt to stick with him rather than go to John Skelton. Lindley completed 10 of 31 passes for 72 yards.

Whisenhunt reiterated “we didn’t help Ryan out very much yesterday” with various problems on the offense aside from quarterback. When he was asked about staying with Lindley despite recent comments that he would replace players that weren’t getting the job done, Whisenhunt again addressed the offense overall.

“Like I said, I don’t think anybody did their job well enough offensively,” Whisenhunt said. “The quarterback gets the focal point of that because he’s the guy.”

There has been no decision on which quarterback will start for the Cardinals this weekend in Seattle. Whisenhunt said he wanted to look at the video and discuss it with his staff. Whisenhunt is still hopeful Kevin Kolb can return at some point from his ribs injury, but it still seems likely either Lindley or Skelton will get the shot at the Seahawks.

Lindley did not appear in the locker room during Monday’s media session. Skelton said he had no idea if he might be back in the lineup, although he clearly would like the opportunity.

“Every bit of my being wanted to play (Sunday),” Skelton said. “But that’s going into the week too. It’s not just on Sunday. I think everyone in the locker room wants to play. No one wants to sit on the sideline. You see things going the way they did, it makes you champ at the bit a little more.”

Skelton said he didn’t lobby at all to play Sunday – “In all the places I have been, all the locker rooms since being little, that’s for coaches to decide, that’s not for players to try and influence,” he said – and said Whisenhunt will take the quarterback position in whatever he thinks is the right direction.

“I don’t think (Coach) is throwing arrows and then drawing a target around it,” Skelton said. “I think he’s got his reasons behind everything he is doing.”

Whisenhunt was asked directly if he had lost confidence in Skelton. “I wouldn’t say that I lost confidence in John’s ability,” Whisenhunt said.

Skelton was asked whether he thought Whisenhunt had lost faith in him.

“I’d hope not,” Skelton said. “I understand we lost six (or) seven in a row and he went with a change and I understand that. I hope there is nothing I did to deter him from coming back to me.”

Seattle has never been an easy place to play for any Cardinals’ quarterback. A Kolb-led offense managed only 10 points there last season, and the Seahawks’ defense has improved since then. Whisenhunt said the Cardinals – coming off a zero-for-15 showing on third downs, with a franchise record-tying low five first downs – are trying to find something that works on that side of the ball.

“(Sunday) was unacceptable, by any stretch of the imagination, offensively,” Whisenhunt said.

Defensively, the Cardinals had a good day in New York. Good enough to win, which, it can be argued, the unit has done in each of the last three games to no avail.

Whisenhunt said he hasn’t “sensed” any discord by the defense because of the offensive problems. Rhodes was reminded it would only be human nature for such feelings to crop up, but again, the veteran safety was preaching the need to stay together.

“That’s human nature thing, sure,” Rhodes said. “But we have invested so much into this year to do what we can do and try and be the best we can. The offense is doing that and we are doing that as well. We’re not perfect on the defensive side of the ball. Until we have a perfect game, until we shut someone out and they have zero yards, then we can’t say anything.”


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