I completely understand our need to find some kind of silver lining to this horrible, horrible season and I realize that somehow finding the QB of the future would be the ultimate silver lining, BUT John Skelton has done NOTHING so far to prove that he is that guy. The best thing I can say about the kid is that he's been the best QB that we've started so far this season but being the tallest midget at the circus is not a compliment.
I will agree that Skelton has done some promising things for a rookie, including some pocket poise and the intelligence to throw the ball away at times instead of forcing it, but he has not done enough to remove QB from the top of our off season needs list.
For those who are chalking up this game as a successful outing for young Skelton, I must ask WHY? Sure he completed just over half of his passes and he almost topped 200 yards, but look at when and how his stats where compiled.
- With roughly eight minutes to go in the game, Skelton was 10 of 23 for 75 yards. 75 freaking yards!!! That's a whopping 3.3 yards per pass attempt and he'd accounted for two turnovers, one of which turned into the Panthers' only TD. Oh and he started 4 for 4 so for a large portion of the game he was 6 of 19 (32% completion percentage).
- In his final two drives, Skelton was 7 of 10 for 121 yards. Now why were these final two drives so successful? How about because the Panthers were up 19-3 with half a quarter to play? Secondly because every single play during those two drives came out of a shotgun formation and most of them were run out of the no-huddle. So in a hurry up mode, facing a defense that was simply trying to avoid giving up the big play, Skelton had his only success the entire game. Pardon me for not proclaiming him as the second coming.
If you're still having doubts, we could also talk about the Cardinals offensive drives today. Nine drives through the first three quarters included five 'three and outs,' two turnovers and only ONE drive that was longer than 20 yards. Those nine drives gained a total of 113 yards. So the way I look at it is that Skelton and the offense as a whole was completely and utterly ineffective when the Panthers were actually playing their regular defense.
Other things that continue to baffle me....
- I contend that no other coach in the NFL would start Bryan Robinson over Dan Williams. Whiz is unbelievably stubborn when it comes to trusting veterans over rookies. Williams is a much better player and for some reason its obvious to everyone but Whiz.
- I would also love to hear an explanation for today's offensive gameplan. Let's see a rookie QB making his first road start against a defense that is ranked 23rd against the rush and 8th against the pass. Yet inspite of all that, we throw the ball 61% of the time in the first half. Skelton had 18 pass attempts in the first half and he scrambled on another two plays, so Whiz called 20 pass plays in a first half of a relatively close game. I just don't get it......
- I know some of us are disapointed in the defense today but I for one am not. They certainly weren't perfect and at times they looked pretty disinterested in tackling anyone but look at what they did overall. The Cardinals offense kept them on the game most of the field yet they only allowed 19 points. Three of the Panthers scoring drives were 31 yards or shorter, including the only TD drive. My ony complaint would be that we had very few impact plays (1 turnover, 2 sacks).
That's all I've got for now so bring on your "the recievers dropped balls" and "you can't just look at the numbers" counterpoints. The bottom line is if the season ended today, QB is the #1 need and Skelton will have to play quite a bit better over the next to games to change that feeling for me. Oh and Whiz needs to hire a real OC, b/c he's simply not cutting it in that role anymore.