Arizona to start Skelton at QB vs. Seahawks

TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona’s John Skelton will be back at starting quarterback when the Cardinals play the Seahawks on Sunday in Seattle.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt, whose team is mired in an eight-game losing streak, announced after Wednesday’s practice that he would replace rookie Ryan Lindley after two starts.

He said the environment the Cardinals will face in Seattle, where the crowd is among the loudest in the NFL and the conditions are likely to be cold and wet, was “one of many factors” in his decision. Plus, the Seahawks have one of the NFL’s best defenses.

“There’s a number of reasons that we’re making this decision,” Whisenhunt said. “I’m not going to get into each one of these reasons, but that’s the direction we’re going.”

Skelton called it “another opportunity.”

“You can’t take any opportunity for granted,” he said. “If it comes at the beginning of the season, the end of the season, when you’re losing, when you’re winning, you’ve just got to take advantage of every opportunity you get.”

Skelton, a third-year pro from Fordham, beat out Kevin Kolb for the starting job in preseason, then went down late in the opener against Seattle with an ankle injury. Kolb came on to direct the winning touchdown drive against the Seahawks and helped the team get off to a 4-0 start.

When Kolb went out with a rib injury against Buffalo, Skelton came on and started the next four games before being benched in favor of Lindley after completing 2 of 7 passes and missing a wide-open Larry Fitzgerald in the end zone early against Atlanta three weeks ago.

With Lindley making his second NFL start, the Cardinals had one of their worst offensive performances in franchise history in a 7-6 loss at the New York Jets last Sunday. Arizona tied a franchise record with five first downs and was 0 for 15 on third-down conversions. Lindley completed 10 of 31 passes for 72 yards and an interception.

The Cardinals gained 22 yards in the second half, but Whisenhunt chose to stick with Lindley rather than go back to Skelton during the game, a decision he reversed this week.

“I’ve been ready to go ever since coming out of the Atlanta game, had anything happened in that game, or leading up to where we are now, I’ve been ready the entire time,” Skelton said. “Whether they came to me or not, I was always going to be ready.”

Skelton called the experience of the past few weeks “humbling.”

“You’ve always got to take the good with the bad,” he said. “You can never let yourself get too high or too low. I think me being kind of even-keeled helps the situation. I don’t let myself worry about it too much. I know that it’s part of the game. The whole process, Anything on the field, off the field, is all a learning process. You’ve got to take it in stride.”

Asked if he was even-keeled even in the aftermath of the switch to Lindley, Skelton said, “I think about as much as I could have been, all things considered. It’s frustrating and everything but I don’t think I ever let my attitude get the better of me.”

Lindley, a sixth-round draft pick out of San Diego State, said he understood and respected the decision.

“When you don’t perform like that, you don’t have much ground to argue on,” he said. “I didn’t play to where I think I’m capable. John’s going to step up and do his thing. I’m going to go to work and be the backup and be there if they need me.”

Lindley said he was not losing confidence.

“It was an off day, a perfect storm the way things happened,” he said. “It was a rough one but you’ve got to move on and pick up from there.”

He said there were two ways he could react to what has happened.

“You can let it eat you up or you can learn from this,” Lindley said. “I’m going to learn from this and move on.”

Kolb has missed six games and did not sound optimistic, acknowledging that his condition had not improved over the past two weeks as he practiced on a limited basis.

“When I really push it in the weight room, when I really try to push the ball downfield, that’s whenever I’m kind of hitting that wall,” he said.

Kolb said that cartilage pieces tore from the upper part of his rib cage and have not returned to their natural position as the injury healed.

“They’re laying underneath my sternum now, so that’s how they’re trying to heal,” he said. “Rather than healing where they’re butted up straight against it like a normal cracked rib or cracked cartilage when they’re flush with each other, mine are laid underneath there. So that’s kind of what extends the process.”

Kolb said he couldn’t answer whether he will play again this season but said he’s got to keep pushing “for myself, for my sanity.”

More in Sports

RPI has changed way hoops coaches approach non-league games

The implementation of RPI for state-tourney seeding has local basketball coaches thinking differently.

Everett’s Akash Bains leaps over Prince George’s Josh Maser during a game Dec. 16, 2017, at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Sivertips bounce back, rout Cougars 4-0

Dustin Wolf notches his first career shutout as Everett rebounds from a loss to beat Prince George.

How might NHL team in Seattle impact Silvertips?

A look at local reaction to the possibility of the NHL coming to Seattle.

Seahawks ditch ‘every game is the same’ mantra for Rams showdown

Seattle hosts first-place Los Angeles in what is essentially the NFC West championship game on Sunday.

Freshmen contributing for UW men’s basketball team

Mike Hopkins likes what he’s seen from his freshmen through… Continue reading

Saturday’s prep scores, recaps

BOYS BASKETBALL Neah Bay 61, Darrington 55 Bellingham 77, Sultan 55 Interlake… Continue reading

Saturday’s stars of the night

Peter Kim, Anthony Armad, Kamiak wrestling Kim and Armad, both seniors, helped… Continue reading

Friday’s prep basketball scores, recaps

Girls teams get defensive in decisive victories.

Glacier Peak’s Makayla Guerra attempts a shot past Jackson’s Sydney Carter Friday night at Glacier Peak High School in Snohomish on December 15, 2017. Glacier Peak won 63-46. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
New-look Glacier Peak girls basketball beats Jackson 63-46

The Grizzlies are starting to find their footing after losing three stars to graduation from last season.

Most Read