Jun. 12, 2012; Tempe, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback John Skelton during minicamp at the Cardinals practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
The players for the Arizona Cardinals report to Flagstaff for training camp this coming Tuesday, with practices commencing on Wednesday. Some of us will likely be up there for at lest part of camp to see the team in action. Over the next few days, we start a new preview series, looking over each position, who is on the roster and what are some significant storylines.
Today we begin with the quarterback position.
The story has been told and discussed a lot. We know the protagonists.
Kolb was brought last offseason via trade and given an expensive contract for someone that had not proven to be an NFL starter, although it was in line with the contracts of that sort (see Matt Cassell and Aaron Rodgers -- before becoming a superstar). He struggled to get comfortable with the offense in a shortened offseason and suffered injuries. When he played, the team lost a lot of games.
John Skelton was drafted in 2010 in the fifth round, played late in the season his rookie year because of injuries and ineffectiveness. He reached folk hero status in 2011 with a few big plays late in games and being the quarterback when the team won games, although statistically he was worse than Kolb. His play earned him the opportunity to try in open competition to win the starting job.
Rich Bartel was brought on as a late seaosn pickup in 2010, when he was a backup QB in the UFL. He is loved by the coaching staff because of his work in practice and in meetings. He is very much like a coach, despite being inexperienced in the league.
Ryan Lindley is a late-round pick from this year's draft. He has big arm and some project him to be an impact player in the league and that he might even get to start this year. That is far-fetched in my opinion, but the potential is there.
There are two quarterback battles. The first one is obvious. That would be for the starting job. Kevin Kolb vs. John Skelton. Fans are mostly planted in one corner or the other, taking sides. Kolb has been paid the big bucks. Skelton has a few wins and big plays. One needs to clearly separate himself from the other to really grab hold of that job and lead the team.
The other battle is much more overlooked. That would be the battle for the third QB spot. The coaches love Bartel, but the team used a draft pick on Lindley. Bartel is fighting to stay in the league. Lindley could go to the practice squad, but many feel he would not clear waivers and the Cards would lose him. Conventional wisdom says Lindley will be the guy, but Bartel isn't going to go down without a fight.
There you have it. Anything else? What are the keys to these battles? Who will be on the roster come the regular season? How will the depth chart be? What do you want to see in training camp from these guys?