Whisenhunt said from the very beginning that he was a "project" when they first drafted him. They knew he had the physical tools and the mental capabilities of an elite QB, but they needed to get him some experience and work him into the playbook. He can make all the throws, and the accuracy is there, but he has to do a better job of reading the defense. That's going to come with more playing time and experience. Right now though he's a work-in-progress and you really can't expect too much out of him. He has been steadily improving despite not having an offseason (the most important time for a QB to develop), lack of first team reps, and a nagging high ankle sprain which he has kept quiet about (probably why his throws are little higher because he isn’t able to set his feet). If you look at his numbers from last year you’ll see a significant improvement.
Completion percentage is something that people need to take notice. Last year he had 47.6%, this year that rose to 54.9% that an improvement +7.3%. Eventhough those aren’t numbers to boast about, it still shows that Skelton has been improving in the past year. He’s also been taking more shots downfield, and a reason why his average yardage has rising from last year. Something that Kolb has yet to do, or possibly can’t do. Either way, him taking risks have either resulted in a HUGE gain, or a turnover. From the looks of these numbers, he’s been winning most of the battles through the air. Once he gets a hold of adequately adjusting to scanning defensive schemes, he’s going to be much tougher to beat. I think the general consensus for the coaching staff going next year will be that his numbers are expected to improve.
Three things that I would love to see him work on this season would be: 1) his decision making in the pocket 2) being able to convert on 3rd downs and 3) REDZONE efficiency. If he can improve on those key elements, then there is no doubt in my mind that he could one day be a good QB. As of right now though I like what I'm seeing out of him, and he definitely has MORE upside than Kevin Kolb at this point of his career.
I think Skelton's numbers could have been better too, because this year's offensive play calling has been horrendous. I don't understand why OC Mike Miller continues to make stupid decision by throwing it on third and short or when we are close to the end zone. Beanie has not being fully utilized this entire year, and BOTH Skelton and Kolb where throwing the ball when they had NO reason to be throwing it to begin with. In the Ravens game when we had the lead, I couldn't understand why Kevin Kolb was trying to throw the ball instead of running the clock. Mike Miller deserves much of the blame because of his inability to convert on 3rd down and extend drives. Both Skelton and Kolb struggled because of stupid play calling, but Skelton handled the job better that's why they had more wins. I don't know if it was the lack of the offseason, but he really screwed offensive production this year with bad play calls, hopefully this year more player become acclimated and grasp his offensive scheme.
As for Kevin Kolb, Cardinals have to find a way of restructuring his contract. There is NOWAY he should get 10 million for a season that he didn't even play half the time. I’m also concerned with his health, concussions are serious, and they can be detrimental to a player’s livelihood. Kolb doesn’t have the body to take serious punishment, and I think he has a little too much pride in himself to give up. While I do respect Kolb for his courage and his admiration for getting back onto the field, I don’t think he should be pushing his body to its limits. Hopefully, Kolb can find some other way to contribute to the game he loves, but as a QB in the NFL it’s not going to happen. I would think that he would best be suited as a future NFL Head Coach one day.
Last week I was disappointed with the outcome, but I'm certainly NOT surprised. Cardinals should find a way to handle the Kolb mess, and find a veteran QB during the offseason, and then give Skelton the opportunity to compete for the starting job (which he'll probably win). People have to show some patience with this kid because he still young and is only going to get better.
I have a GOOD feeling about next year (as long as Kolb is not starting). Right now though, I just want to finish 8-8, and beat the Seahawks this week, and end the season on a good note.