TEMPE, Ariz. For the first time since he took over the starting role for injured quarterback Kevin Kolb two games ago, John Skelton faced the media underneath the old shade tree at the teams practice facility. Its a Wednesday custom for the starting quarterback.
Was this a telltale sign of his elevated status? No. We wont go there. Besides, Kolb also addressed the media and he went first, destroying any symbolism that might otherwise have been overplayed.
This was just a tacit admission by the Cards that Skelton needs to be more accessible in the short term, especially since it appears he will make his third consecutive start with Kolb still battling the effects of turf toe and a bone bruise on the outside of his foot.
Kolb did some individual work Wednesday and did some drops to test his plant foot, but he is still moving gingerly, so it would be foolish to rush him back this soon.
Im just being careful, not putting too much of a strain on the foot, Kolb said. Today was my first time to throw to a guy moving across the field in three weeks so it felt good, like a kid at Christmas.
Skelton feels the same, but he may not when the challenge ramps up another notch against the San Francisco 49ers. Skelton eased into the starting role with a game against the lowly Rams. He took a step up against the talented but chemistry- and karma-starved Eagles. Now he gets to face a talented 49er defense oozing with chemistry and confidence while allowing a league-low 15.3 points per game.
Their front fours real active, Skelton said. We feel if we can protect up front, get some running game going early that hopefully well be successful; well get some throws on them.
Then its up to Skelton to make some plays and not just in the fourth quarter like he did at Philadelphia.
Coach Ken Whisenhunt praised Skeltons ability to produce when he needed to in the past two games, but he also made it clear there were plenty of plays that Skelton left out on the field. In two games, Skelton is completing just 54.7 percent of his passes (41 of 75).
I dont think John is necessarily an inaccurate thrower, Whisenhunt said. He throws a pretty good ball, and hes accurate with it. I think some of it is just getting used to the game speed and the tight windows that you have to try to throw it in.
Those windows will look a lot bigger if Larry Fitzgerald keeps making catches like he last Sunday, but Skelton knows he needs to improve on that performance.
I did a lot of things well, especially in the fourth quarter, but I spotted them 10 points with the two interceptions which really hurt us, he said. Im just trying to improve on whats hurting me.
Some of his problems stem from poor reads (like Asante Samuels interception), some of them stem from poor mechanics (like Nnamdi Asomughas interception).
When I do everything right and get all my mechanics and reads on the same page, were successful as an offense, he said.
Kolb smiled when asked if, because of Skeltons current success, he was reminded of losing his job last year to Michael Vick after Kolb got hurt.
Im not even going to go there, Kolb said.
Skelton didnt want to go there either when asked about the fans calling for him to keep the job.
Everyones entitled to their opinion, Skelton said. But what happens in-house is between the team everyone in this building. I know Kevin is doing everything he can to get back.
Until he does, Kolb insists hes got Skeltons back.
You always put the team first, Kolb said. Thats the only way you can go about it. Thats the way true professionals go about it. Thats the way I feel and thats the way I felt on Sunday.