TEMPE, Ariz. Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt quashed any notion of a quarterback controversy Thursday when he was asked if theres any scenario under which Kevin Kolb would not regain the starters role over John Skelton when he returns from a foot injury.
Theres no real reason to even comment on that, Whisenhunt said.
Hes right, but the question will persist, particularly if the Cards go to Philadelphia and beat the struggling Eagles with Skelton at quarterback. That would give Skelton a 2-0 record as the starter, while Kolb would be 1-6.
Kolb is familiar with this feeling. He joked Wednesday that the backup quarterback is always the most popular guy on the team with the fan base.
"I was real popular for a long time," in Philadelphia, he said.
It is, after all, a results-driven league, but the leash with Kolb will be a little longer than it would be under normal circumstances. First, the Cards signed Kolb to a five-year, 63 million contract extension. Thats a significant financial commitment, even if just 22 million is guaranteed.
Second, no matter how much Cards fans are sick of hearing it, Kolb did not have the benefit of an offseason to learn a new offense. That makes a huge difference at the games most difficult position.
Some critics have countered that rookies such as Cam Newton and Andy Dalton are having early success. As Samuel Jacksons character, Jules, says in Pulp Fiction, Well, allow me to retort. Both Newton and Dalton were drafted, so they got their hands on the team playbook in April. They were able to study for three months before they hit the field.
Kolb got his book two days before training camp began on July 28.
"Things take time," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "You had one of the all-time great ones there with Kurt Warner, and that was up and down initially. Then he came in and got it all figured out and it was lights out.
"That's how those things work. Kevin's a young guy that's going to do nothing but get better."
Whisenhunt hopes so, because the final reason there is no QB controversy in Arizona is that Whisenhunts future is tied to Kolbs. He backed this horse in the offseason. Hes not about to give up on Kolb after seven games played.
That doesnt mean the cries for Skelton or even Rich Bartel will stop if the Cards start winning without Kolb. But Whisenhunt will cross that bridge when he comes to it. In the meantime, hes got to figure out how to help Kolb succeed by next season. If he doesnt a quarterback controversy will be the least of his concerns. Hell be embroiled in a coaching controversy instead.