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"A Big Part Of The Interview Process"

How to fix quarterback issues key question Bidwill asking potential coaches


Brian Hoyer, an unrestricted free agent to be, hopes to have a shot at earning a starting job somewhere in the NFL.

As Cardinals president Michael Bidwill criss-crosses the country interviewing candidates for the team's vacant head coaching job, a common theme is included in meetings.

What would the potential coaches do with the Cardinals' quarterback situation?

The most prominent position in sports has been under more scrutiny than usual in Arizona this season. Four men tried to conquer the job but none of them – Kevin Kolb, John Skelton, Ryan Lindley or Brian Hoyer – were able to salvage the fortunes of a team that finished 5-11.

With free agency and the draft aside, all four hope to compete as starter in 2013.

Yet trying to predict who'll start in Week 1 of next season is as difficult as trying to determine when the world will end. Everyone thought it was 2012, but now, nobody knows.

One option could be Hoyer, who was signed Dec. 10, 2012 and played less than a half before earning a start in the season finale at San Francisco.

Along with Hoyer came his one-year deal which will expire in March. The new regime – including the new general manager -- has to determine if the Cardinals want to resign the four-year veteran.

"Anytime you get a chance to compete for a starting job, that's something that you need to look at," Hoyer said. "To be honest with you, when I got released in September (by the Patriots), I thought maybe after this year I'd have to go somewhere and kind of re-establish myself as a backup. But now going forward, there might be some opportunities to compete for a starting job and that's all you can really ask for."

But a starting job won't be simply handed to Hoyer, especially not in Arizona.

Throughout his public comments, Bidwill has appeared warm to the idea of bringing Kolb back and letting the others compete for his job.

During his press conference Dec. 31 to announce the firings of Ken Whisenhunt and Rod Graves, Bidwill expressed his support for Kolb, who missed the final 10 games with a rib injury.

"I'm not ready to give up on Kevin Kolb yet," Bidwill said.

Bidwill did not mention Skelton and Lindley during that same press conference. However, he said recently that questions about all four are part of the interview process.

Injuries, poor play and even poorer protection negated any progress the Cardinals made at quarterback in 2011. By Week 11 in Atlanta, they were leaning on Lindley, a starter who saw his first NFL action that Sunday.

It was a broken situation and Bidwill is looking for the best way to repair it.

"I'm confident that we can fix it," he said. "You look at the statistics offensively and they speak for themselves. We've been a poor offense. We've had poor quarterback play. That doesn't mean that I'm dumping on the individual quarterbacks. We needed to do a better job of protecting them, a better job of scheming around their strengths and weaknesses, a better job of developing them. I am confident we can get that fixed. That's a big part of the interview process."

Bidwill isn't limiting himself to the four quarterbacks on the roster. The Cardinals figure to add at least one signal-caller through free agency or the draft.

Some of the biggest names scheduled to become free agents are Joe Flacco, Brady Quinn, Matt Moore, Rex Grossman, Byron Leftwich, Jason Campbell and David Carr. Then there's the draft, which will include USC's Matt Barkley, Kansas State's Colin Klein, West Virginia's Geno Smith and Oklahoma's Landry Jones.

Even though Hoyer's been a career backup – well, until Dec. 30 – he has four more years of experience over any college quarterback. And he has a few weeks of experience with the Cardinals' offense.

"It's definitely a talented group and I enjoyed working with them," Hoyer said.

It's anybody's guess whether Hoyer will be in the mix come training camp, but he won't spend the offseason consumed by the thought of starting for the Cardinals in September.

"I'll cross that bridge when I get to it as far as being a free agent and things like that," Hoyer said.

"After things went south in New England, I didn't know that I'd get this opportunity this year. So, I'm obviously grateful for that, to get my first start and play. I think it obviously opens a few more opportunities than if I wouldn't have played."

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