Quarterback Kevin Kolb goes through drills Wednesday at practice.
Kevin Kolb said he felt like "a kid at Christmas" getting to practice Wednesday.
Of course, that's if his Christmas present didn't come assembled. The quarterback was still just limited because of his turf toe and bruised foot, a handful of individual drills allowing him the "feel of football movements."
"That's a big step for me, obviously," Kolb said. "It's frustrating. I didn't expect it to take this long."
The quarterbacks in the center of the Cards' spotlight right now – Kolb and backup John Skelton – each took a turn under the team's "interview tree" after practice Wednesday, a spot where just one quarterback usually holds court each week.
Until Kolb is healthy again, both will keep their attention. Kolb smiled when asked if, because of Skelton's recent success and two-game winning streak, he was feeling déjà vu after losing his job last year to Michael Vick after Kolb got injured.
"I'm not even going to go there," Kolb said. When Skelton was asked about the groundswell of support from fans who think he should be the permanent starter, he didn't want to go there either.
"Everyone is entitled to their opinion, I guess," Skelton said. "What happens in-house is between the team, everyone in this building. I know Kevin is doing everything he can to get back. It was nice to see him out there. We'll take it day-by-day."
Kolb praised Skelton's play – Skelton had 315 yards and three touchdowns in Philadelphia, although he also had two interceptions – and emphasized that while he has every intention of regaining his starting job when he is healthy, he puts the team first.
"That's the way you have to go about it, it's the way true professionals go about it, and that's the way I feel," Kolb said.
Coach Ken Whisenhunt already said the idea is moot until Kolb can play again, which he could not really Wednesday. It was suggested to Kolb he could describe his movements as done so "gingerly," and Kolb agreed it was a good description.
"I didn't even know I was moving gingerly until you just said it," Kolb said. "That's probably right. Little bit precautious. I'm being careful."
Whisenhunt said it was clear Kolb still felt some pain.
"He can move and do some things and other things bother him," Whisenhunt said. "We've got to make sure he can get through all the movements and be able to plant and throw and do all the movements, be able to get out of the pocket, that's the process."
GETTING A TIGHT END BODY
Asked about why the Cardinals chose to re-sign tight end Steve Skelton – brother of John – to the practice squad, Whisenhunt didn't miss a beat, intimating he talked to John about it during the Philadelphia game.
"I stood on the sideline and said, 'Listen, if you complete this ball to Larry down to the 1 at the end of the game, we'll sign your brother to the practice squad,' " Whisenhunt deadpanned. "I had to live up to my end of the deal."
In reality, it was the simple fact Steve Skelton was the fifth tight end in training camp and the easiest one to bring back. Whisenhunt said the move was less about long-term fears with the injuries to tight ends Todd Heap and Rob Housler and more about having someone to help simulate the many multiple tight end sets of Sunday's opponent, San Francisco.
"We wanted to have another body to rotate in there so we are not putting all the pressure on the guys that are practicing," Whisenhunt said.
For now, that is only Jim Dray and Jeff King full-time. Heap remained limited with his bad hamstring, and Housler was out with his groin problem.
BEANIE TAKES A SEAT
Running back Beanie Wells was back to sitting out because of his sore knee – he was at least limited each practice last week – although the Cards still expect him to progress to play. Wells will be facing arguably the best run defense in the league against San Francisco.
The Cards' injury list had linebacker Joey Porter (knee) and safety Kerry Rhodes (foot) sidelined because of their respective surgeries. The lengthy injury list included six players joining Kolb as limited: linebacker Stewart Bradley (ribs), cornerback Michael Adams (hamstring), linebacker Paris Lenon (groin), running back LaRod Stephens-Howling (shoulder), fullback Anthony Sherman (ankle) and tackle Brandon Keith (knee).