The First Turn of the Skelton Key

With Matt Leinart looking on, NT Gabe Watson congratulates rookie QB John Skelton on his game winning TD completion.

Two drives, two touchdowns for the Skelton-led Cardinals.  The fifth round selection out of Fordham couldn’t have had a better pro debut Saturday night against the Houston Texans.  In fact, it was perfect.  The rookie put together a statistically perfect 158.3 passer rating. 

“I just wanted to get out there,” Skelton said.  “We’ve gone through our minicamps and OTAs.  We’ve had endless meetings, endless film.  To finally play a game against someone else is a good feeling.”  Cardinals fans should feel good too, but how good is another story. 

It must be pointed out that Skelton, the third string quarterback, was playing against the absolute lowest quality defense Houston had to offer.  Despite that, it’s nice to see the young quarterback play with poise and determination in his first real taste of the NFL.  Top flight competition or not, a lesser rookie could have faltered where Skelton took the opportunity to show his potential.

For those thinking that Skelton is going to leapfrog Derek Anderson on the depth chart and supplant Matt Leinart as the starter, it’s not going to happen.  In fact, Skelton is still locked in a battle with undrafted rookie Max Hall for the third string job; we haven’t even seen Hall play, which I’m sure will be remedied at some point during the pre-season. 

Things are definitely looking up for Skelton, though.  He obviously has a considerable edge over Hall for the third spot.  Skelton believes he will continue progressing.  “This [pre-season game] eases the transition for the rest of preseason,” Skelton remarked.  “I knew what the coaches wanted to see from me, poise in the huddle and controlling the offense.”  That’s exactly what the coaches and everyone else saw from the rookie.

While Skelton was the obvious rookie headliner on offense, there were other rookies that Coach Whisenhunt was pleased with, including undrafted wide receivers Max Komar and Stephen Williams.  “I am excited about some of our young players,” Whisenhunt explained.  “There’s going to be some adjustments and some corrections with some of them because they are just learning the system.  (But) I think we got a lot accomplished.”  Williams has been giving Andre Roberts and Onrea Jones some serious competition for the fourth wide receiver spot.  Komar, on the other hand, may be a long shot to remain on the roster once the regular season starts.


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