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Can John Skelton Carry a Team?


Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

At the surface, John Skelton’s game might not look pretty, but the 24-year-old quarterback has the skill set to be a successful starting play caller in the NFL.

I say this because Skelton will get the starting nod in Sunday’s matchup against the Minnesota Vikings after Kevin Kolb went out this past week with an injury to his ribs.  According to the Phoenix New Times, Kolb will be sidelined for an unspecified amount of time.

In comes Skelton, who was slated the season’s starting quarterback by head coach Ken Whisenhunt to begin the year.  Unfortunately, Skelton injured his ankle against the Seattle Seahawks in the season opener and was unable to return for the first few weeks.

Now, Skelton will look to keep the Cardinals (4-2) afloat in the NFC-West until Kolb returns, if he ever does.  But Arizona is, by no means, in panic mode.  Skelton has been a reliable quarterback since he took over the starting job in Week 9 of the 2011 campaign, leading the team to a surprising 7-2 finish.  If it wasn’t for a terrible 1-6 start, Arizona would have made the wild card.

There are, however, some concerns over his effectiveness as a quarterback.  Skelton has a gaudy 64.2 career passer rating with 14 interceptions to his 11 touchdowns last season.   But he does manage the game quite well, as his 8-4 record shows as a starter.  As a result, he’s certainly earned the respect of his teammates.

Cardinals wide receiver Andre Roberts had a moment to sound off on Skelton and his long-tenure with the team, per NFL.com.

“It’s too much of a big deal.  You know we had John at the beginning of the year, we had him in camp, so it’s not like we’re bringing somebody in new that we haven’t played with.

“John’s been here for a while.  We understand what he brings to the table, so it won’t be that big of an adjustment.”

While Skelton’s familiarity with the team is unquestioned, his ability to excel in the pocket is.  The Cardinals offensive line has been a liability this season, allowing a league-worst 28 sacks.  If the team feels it can rectify their shortcomings in pass protection, then the Cardinals are a scary, undervalued team in the NFC-West.  Especially with the division currently up for grabs (three teams are tied with a 4-2 record).

If one thing is clear, it’s that Skelton can carry a team.  He’s done it before and there’s no question he can do it again.  But lined up across from Adrian Peterson and the upstart Vikings this Sunday will be a difficult task.  Still, the Cardinals are given seven points in the matchup and have the better chance of landing within the spread with Skelton at the helm, then being routed in Minnesota.

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