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Skelton Named Starting QB

Rookie gets first chance, Bartel to back up with Anderson sidelined


John Skelton was named starting quarterback for Sunday's game against Denver.

The first interview John Skelton did as an NFL starting quarterback was in Spanish.

It had been planned, and Skelton – who learned the language from his grandparents in his native, El Paso, Texas – is fluent, although he doesn't use it every day.

"That (interview) was hard," Skelton quipped. "Harder than practice."

Practice hasn't been easy either, however. Going from inactive third-string quarterback all season to ramping into a starter in a week's time can't be. With Derek Anderson still not cleared from the concussion he suffered last weekend, coach Ken Whisenhunt had only Skelton or Richard Bartel – who was just signed Tuesday – to pick from.

He picked Skelton.

"Didn't really have a choice," Whisenhunt said, adding that Skelton's command of the offense was better throughout the week and that he's better prepared to play than the previous week.

"It doesn't mean it's going to be great quarterback play," Whisenhunt added. "We're hoping he'll get in there and handle it well and make some plays for us."

Whisenhunt is hoping Anderson can be cleared in time to be the game's third quarterback. Bartel will be the backup.

Skelton said the game plan was developed with him in mind, plays he ran successfully in the preseason and training camp. He has also been helped by one-on-one sessions with quarterbacks coach Chris Miller over the last three or four weeks to talk specifically about details.

"It's one thing to sit back and watch the reps and learn by film study," Skelton said. "(Practice) definitely helped. I benefitted from running (the offense) because a lot of those plays, it's the first time I have run them."

Skelton said he is expecting to have some nerves, despite his brief playing time last week. While Whisenhunt made sure to temper expectations, Skelton was very plain with his own expectations.

"A win," Skelton said. "I think that would help everyone involved in the locker room. Getting a win no matter how we get it, will be our number one goal."

That's usually an upset for a rookie fifth-round pick starting his first NFL game.

 "You have to understand what you are faced with and you have to be patient," Whisenhunt said. "Your expectations can't be so high that they are going to come in and play well.

"To think John was going to be in line to play a lot is something you weren't expecting. But where we are now with our team, with our record, it's one of the things you get to look at. It's one of the positives, I would guess. Let's face it, the bottom line is, we still want to win a game."

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