Posted tagged ‘Arizona Cardinals’

Cardinals QB John Skelton has experience which should help him against St. Louis Rams

November 6, 2011

Via Adam Green/Arizona Sports:

(By Mark J. Rebilas, US Presswire)

The first time John Skelton saw action in a regular season NFL game was at University of Phoenix Stadium against the St. Louis Rams.A fifth-round pick out of Fordham, the rookie entered the game when both Derek Anderson and Max Hall went down with injuries.

Skelton completed three of six passes for 45 yards in Arizona’s 19-6 loss, but the experience he gained that day — and the four starts that followed — will help him if he gets the call Sunday for an injured Kevin Kolb, at home, against the Rams.

“Anytime you get experience it’s invaluable,” Skelton said. “So those four games I got to play last year really helped towards this year.”

Skelton said his goal is to make the most of any opportunity he’s given, which he sort of did last season. Skelton led the team to two wins in four starts, though completed just 47.6 percent of his passes and threw just two touchdowns.

No longer a rookie, the QB is more confident this time around.

“I fit in now,” he said. “Maybe last year, early in the year, training camp and stuff, I felt out of place, but now I know I can make all the throws, I’ve seen a lot of defenses and I’ll be prepared for what they bring.”

And while the team is comfortable with Skelton, a big game Sunday would not meanhe should be permanently elevated to the starter’s role.

“[Kevin’s] the starting quarterback, I’m just going to come in, do my backup-role job,” he said. “I am going to prepare like I’m the starter but I do that every week anyways.”

In his starts, he has brought a very nice balanced attack for the Cardinals and I think Larry Fitzgerald and the running game will like that he is starting today. I feel he won’t turn the ball over excessively or force anything. He will bring short yardage and long drives which the Cardinals have needed all season long…

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Cardinals Kolb is hurt, John Skelton gets another chance to prove he’s the future

November 6, 2011

Via Azcardinals.com:

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America)

John Skelton, as the backup quarterback, insists he gets ready to start every game even if he knows he won’t.

That’s easy to have said, for instance, two weeks ago when Kevin Kolb was healthy. It means something different when Kolb is limping around with a turf toe.

“It’s more of a sense of urgency, it’s more of ‘You might play’ to now ‘You may play,’ ” Skelton said Thursday. “You prepare as best you can for the situation you find yourself in.”

That situation is that Kolb didn’t practice for a second straight day and that Skelton seems likely to find himself under center Sunday against the Rams. It’s nothing he wasn’t already thinking. Coach Ken Whisenhunt said if Kolb doesn’t practice Friday he’d still “consider” playing Kolb, although it sounded anything but a certainty.

Skelton missed a chunk of the preseason after suffering a high ankle sprain, the reason he fell behind Rich Bartel on the depth chart through the first five games of the season. Then came the bye week, which “let him get back in the flow,” Whisenhunt said. Following the bye, Skelton was back to his backup role.

If Skelton does play, Whisenhunt is much more comfortable than he was last year, when the intent was to have Skelton ride the bench all season and just watch. Even without an offseason, Skelton is in a much better place — “It was hard enough for him to call a play in the huddle last year,” Whisenhunt said – after starting the final four games of 2010.

That highlighted one of Skelton’s strengths, which was that rarely does he get flustered. Skelton said he isn’t the type of guy to throw a helmet when things go haywire and, despite his youth, he has already developed a reputation of an even-tempered demeanor, impervious to emotional derailment.

He also has a dry sense of humor, which he showed off when a reporter asked if Skelton at least had a dog to kick around.

“I do, and he gets kicked quite a bit,” Skelton joked. “It’s mostly his fault though.”

I love that this kid gets another chance to start. I think he is the future of the Cardinals and Kolb is not the answer. I think Skelton is more mobile and has more arm strength. True, he went to Fordham but he has shown that he can win games. I still remember the 4th and 17 on Christmas Day against the Cowboys when he completed a 20 yard pass which lead to a great game winning drive. He can be a star and I think he doesn’t get credit because Kolb went to Houston and played at a bigger program. I think that’s poppy-cock and you’ll see a happy Fitzgerald today against St. Louis…

Year 2 for John Skelton = same results in opening preseason game

August 16, 2011

Cardinals Quaterback John Skelton enters this year as a backup to the starter and 21 million dollar man as they like to call him, Kevin Kolb. Last year he started in 5 games and threw the ball well enough to win two of the four games including a game winning drive against the Cowboys on Christmas Eve. But even with all the controversy on who will be the backup this season in Arizona, John wants to be able to go out and play with his teammates…

“Kevin comes in highly touted, he’s having a great camp and he was behind the eight-ball having to sit out those (early) practices,” Skelton said. “But that week or so when it was just the three of us, we were pushing each other. One of us would make a play and another of us would make a play too. It stinks because we know in all likelihood someone will have to be let go, and whoever that is it will be rough because I think we have great chemistry in the quarterbacks room.

Last year in his first preseason game against the Texans, he led two touchdown drives to take the lead and win the game for the Cardinals. This year he put up the same numbers… 

(Ben Margot / AP Photo)

 

  C/ATT YDS AVG TD  
J. Skelton 6/10 94 9.4 1

It was a great game for John. He started out 0-2 and missed the receivers but he hung in there tough and threw a great 18 yard strike to Stephen Williams in the back of the end zone. He has grown in my opinion when watching tape on him and I really see a bright future even though Kevin Kolb is in his way. I think it will be a nice test for him to see how he will do against the defending champion Packers at Lambeau Field. Tune in for it fans, it should be a great one…

Fordham’s Stephen Skelton wants to be like his brother and play football on Sunday

April 6, 2011

Via ESPN New York :

More than 200 miles from the billionaires-versus-millionaires labor fight in Washington, D.C., and a world away from the clamor created by the future millionaire/entertainer/icon known as Cam Newton, the purest form of the NFL spring played out Tuesday in the Bronx.

The small-school dreamers — 28 of them — showed up to Fordham’s pro day on the Rose Hill campus. Six Fordham seniors, along with 22 other draft-eligible players from 13 other area schools, ran, jumped, lifted and shuttled for NFL scouts. For most of them, this was their once-in-a-lifetime shot at pro ball, a chance to do something — anything — to catch somebody’s attention.

No fewer than 15 NFL teams were represented at the workout, including three representatives from the New York Jets and one from the New York Giants. There were no head coaches and no TV cameras, only two dozen scouts and a smattering of well-wishers, a few with handheld video cameras. And there was the Fordham women’s softball team, which practiced on the adjacent field and occasionally belted a homer onto the football field.

You can bet Cam didn’t have to worry about stray fly balls during his workout.

At Auburn University, where the Heisman Trophy-winning Newton performed in his highly anticipated pro day, more than 150 scouts, coaches and personnel executives — the most important eyes in the NFL — turned out for the year’s Gotta-Be-There workout. Maybe you saw it; after all, it was broadcast live on ESPN3.

Back in the Bronx, on a practice field outside the Vince Lombardi Center, it was akin to an “American Idol” audition — off-the-radar hopefuls from schools such as Stony Brook, Monmouth and Wagner. One player came with DVDs, handing out his personal highlight reel to as many scouts as he could. Hey, whatever you can do.

If the NFL wannabes needed inspiration, all they had to do was look at former Fordham quarterback John Skelton, who was drafted last year by the Arizona Cardinals and wound up starting their final four games. A year ago, Skelton was the star of the school’s first pro day. On this day, he came to be the quarterback for his brother, Stephen Skelton, a Fordham tight end who could slip into the late rounds of next month’s draft.

“A lot of the big-school guys get the hype,” the elder Skelton said. “Some deserve it and some get it because the media needs something to write about, but you see guys from the smaller schools that have talent. These are guys that no one ever heard of, but they come to something like this and it’s an opportunity to get in front of an NFL scout.”

Skelton threw passes to his brother, who ran a variety of pass routes under the supervision of Cardinals tight ends coach Freddie Kitchens. It was Skelton-to-Skelton, just like it used to be at their house in El Paso, Texas. Their father, John, who coached his sons in high school, got them started young, buying them Vikings and Bears kid uniforms (complete with plastic shoulder pads) when they were little boys.

“I felt like I was in our backyard,” said Stephen, who finished his collegiate career with 127 receptions. “Every time I looked at John he had a big smile on his face. That made it very comfortable for me.”

The brotherly game of pitch-and-catch culminated three-plus hours of testing and scrutiny. After being weighed and measured — 6-4½, 253 pounds — Skelton aced the bench press, hoisting 225 pounds a total of 25 times, a personal best. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.73 and 4.69 seconds, a smidge below his goal of the mid-4.6s.

Before the workout, Skelton met with scouts from the Cards, Jaguars and Falcons. There will be more meetings and more workouts in the coming weeks. By the end of a taxing day, he felt he had impressed the scouts.

“I just know I’ll be playing on Sundays somewhere,” he said.

With the draft, you never know — and that goes both ways. A high draft pick from an elite conference — let’s say Vernon Gholston, formerly of the Jets — can turn into an NFL bust, confounding the evaluators who get paid good money to make those decisions. At the same time, a player like Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin can hit it big after being undrafted out of Monmouth (N.J.) College.

Chris Hogan, a receiver from Monmouth, turned heads Tuesday. So did Fordham safety Isa Abdul Quddus. They were among the handful of players who were invited to stick around for positional drills; the others were sent home, their football careers probably over. Most of them will graduate and go to work. Thanks for coming, we’ll be in touch.

Down at Auburn, Newton received generally positive reviews, reportedly showing improved accuracy with his passing. Whether he’s drafted first or 15th, he will be a millionaire and, according to a recent quote by him, an entertainer and an icon.

“Let them have all the media,” Stephen Skelton said of the big-school boys. “This is only one day. It really depends on what happens over the next year. There are a lot of good players that come from small schools. Just look at my brother.”

Yes, look at him — a one-in-a-thousand story. On Tuesday in the Bronx, far away from the spotlight, they were hoping for one in 28.

I am happy for this kid and what he was able to do at Fordham. He is a big kid who can catch the ball in the end zone. I have even seen him play on Jack Coffey Field and the kid is a well-rounded tight end. He blocks well, he catches, and he can run routes which he did at Fordham very well. From what I have seen, I do see him playing on Sunday’s in the NFL and I see him being a nice surprise. What I want is for the Arizona Cardinals, who are depleted at the Tight End spot, to pick up Stephen so his brother John Skelton can throw to him every day. But that would be in a perfect world and I just don’t see that happening. What I do see is a late round pick and a kid who will give you production at that spot. In the end, my favorite part about this article is how he sticks up for the smaller schools and tells off people about the Auburn’s and Oklahoma’s of the world.  But as we say at Fordham, “Hail men of Fordham Hail”…

John Skelton’s First start in NFL, Fantastic. Second start, Average

December 22, 2010

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 12: Quarterback John Skelton #19 of the Arizona Cardinals throws the football during the NFL game against the Denver Broncos at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 12, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Broncos 43-13. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

In his first game as starting Quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals, John Skelton led them to a win against the lowly Broncos by a score 43-13. John had no touchdowns but most importantly he had no sacks and no turnovers. He finished with 15-of-37 for 146 yards.

Here are some article clips from his first start:

“John is, like, emotionless,” wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said.

Even-keeled is a phrase made for Skelton, and if the Cardinals learned anything Sunday, it was that Skelton would carry that personality into games. His first start ended in a 43-13 victory over the Broncos, and while Skelton wasn’t the reason for the win, he wasn’t doing anything to lose it either, and that was enough.

“We didn’t get in the end zone (enough) and that hurts,” Skelton said. “But Jay did a great job kicking field goals and the defense did a great job of getting field position. We didn’t take advantage. I thought I played decent. It’s something to build on.”

Whisenhunt wouldn’t commit to Skelton to start next week in Carolina, noting he didn’t need to make a decision so quickly after the game. But he was clearly impressed with how Skelton handled himself, since “he never seemed flustered.”
Receivers dropped three of Skelton’s first four throws – all incompletions – but Skelton said it didn’t affect him. Third downs were still an issue – the Cards were 4-for-16 – but ultimately, they did score some touchdowns.
 
That’s the kind of thing that earns praise from coach Ken Whisenhunt, who had talked repeatedly of Skelton not being ready and then verbally patted Skelton on the back Sunday.
“He’s by no means a finished product,” Whisenhunt said. “But I’m very pleased with how he handled himself today.”
Nothing that happened Sunday changed the Cards’ offseason plans, nor will it – unless Skelton suddenly posts three straight 330-yard, 3-touchdown games to finish out the year. At this point, Whisenhunt won’t even commit to Skelton as starter next week, although it would be a surprise if Skelton doesn’t get the chance in Carolina.
 

John Skelton throws in 19-12 loss in Carolina. Photo Courtesy of Star-Telegram

In his second start it was a different story. He turned the ball over twice, got sacked three times, and they ended up losing to the Carolina Panthers 19-12. He finished 17-of-33 for 196 yards. But he fumbled the ball away on one sack and airmailed an interception when he tried to force a pass to tight end Stephen Spach, turnovers he had avoided in his first start.

 Here are some more article clips from John’s second game:
 
Whisenhunt and Skelton both said the QB had some trouble with his reads – either missing open receivers, or throwing at the wrong time. That hurt especially since the Cardinals may have done their best job of the season making sure they were in manageable third-down situations, leading to another 4-for-15 conversion rate.
 
“We left a lot of plays on the field like we have in weeks past,” Skelton said. “(My reads) are coming along but I’m still a long way from where I want to be.”
 
Skelton struggled early, throwing his first NFL interception, which led to Carolina’s lone touchdown. He also fumbled the ball away and, Whisenhunt said, missed some calls at the line of scrimmage. But he also liked the way Skelton recovered.

“I think the way he handled himself later in the game is reason to have a lot of optimism about him as a quarterback,” the coach said.

…In John’s first start, he played very well and looked promising. I watched the whole game and he looked like an NFL quarterback out there. The problem is that his wide receivers drop the ball too much. There could have been so many big plays but the team dropped the ball and it stalled any movement on drives. In his second start, the mistakes just kept piling up. The O-line wasn’t protecting as well which led to the three sacks and the pick, the wide receivers dropped more passes, and they turned the ball over way too many times. But what John brings to this Arizona team is a ton of balance. A balance between the run game and the pass game. If you watched the Broncos game you saw the balance between pass and run. Hightower and Wells split the carries and it led to more production on offense. The more they can implement this balance, the more wins the Cardinals will have. In the second game I think John definitely lost reads and he was out of sync which could happen. But he is still developing and he is growing as a player and a quarterback and he is still looking to be the QB of the future. The big test will come against the Cowboys this saturday on Christmas day. One present I want is a John Skelton win and touchdown pass… 

Whisenhunt makes decision: John Skelton is the Starting QB

December 10, 2010

John Skelton starting against Broncos this Sunday. Photo courtesy of azcardinals.com

Via Arizona Cardinals:

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 playin
g 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.”

…This is great news because the whole week Coach Whisenhunt put fans in limbo over who was going to start. He finally decided it was John. I think this was the perfect choice because it is time to give the guy who you brought in here time to develop. I have watched him since his days at Fordham and I think he can develop into a Kurt Warner or Peyton Manning type player. If you want to win as Coach would say, the winner is going to start this weekend. He loves to get out there on the field and compete. This is a perfect situation because he will be playing a Denver Broncos team that has been going through a lot with the coaching change and the constant losing every single year. I don’t know what the outcome will be but I am just going to love watching John play with my fellow Fordham fans. I hope he throws 3 TD and wins, but just saying John Skelton,  starting quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals puts a smile on my face…

John Skelton played in first game in 19-6 loss to St. Louis Rams

December 6, 2010

Remember when I was writing it is about time to start playing John Skelton on this website? Well, it finally happened.

Yesterday in Arizona, John played in the fourth quarter in their loss to the St. Louis Rams. Skelton entered the game when fellow rookie quarterback Max Hall was injured while being sacked early in the fourth quarter. On his first pass attempt in the NFL was on a 3rd and 16. He threw a 22 yard strike to Steve Breaston to get the first down. The next play he throws a 19 yard pass to Larry Fitzgerald for another first down. The next few plays were penalized and the drive was stalled.

Here is video of his first complete pass:

John Skelton ended up 3-for-6 for 45 yards on the day. But with Derek “It’s Fine” Anderson under going tests for a concussion and Max Hall likely out for the year with a seperated shoulder, Coach Whisenhunt ended up declining to say what will happen with the position.

“I don’t know right now (who will start),” Whisenhunt said. “We’ll see how it goes this week.”

 Still, the coach would not rule out the team signing a quarterback and giving him the starting nod.

“It happened to us a couple of years ago,” Whisenhunt, “… It’s difficult, yes, but I think you have to look at what you’re working with. Is the guy somebody that has been around the NFL before? Is he somebody that’s played?”

…Well Coach, I will tell you exactly what to do. Start John Skelton next week against Denver. He showed poise, confidence, and a cannon when he came in. He has only practiced with the first team on 8 plays all year and looked good when passing to Larry Fitzgerald. I seriously see big things in this kid. I know that learning on the sideline is better than coming into the game and getting beat up, but sometimes you need to get beat up before you learn how to become a stud. Now I am not saying he needs to turn into a David Carr, Matt Stafford, or Alex Smith. But what I am trying to say is he needs the experience with only 4 games left and no more games left to play for. When your team is getting embarrassed and the fans want to see him play, please the fans and let him show them why he was drafted in the fifth round. He can be that Peyton Manning type player as was seen on ESPN Sports Science in the draft. Arizona needs to give him a chance because the future is now and you can’t keep sitting this player all season long. He’s the future and you must turn to him now. I know if he starts against Denver, I will be having a massive party with my fellow Fordham fans to celebrate one of the greatest days in sports history. Let this day happen, let John start, and let him show Arizona why Larry Fitzgerald should stay. It’s time for change…