John Skelton was released by the Cardinals yesterday. So ends an improbable chapter in the revolving door / soap opera that is the Cardinals QB position.
The Cards are acting like a carnival barker: "Hurry, hurry, hurry, step right up! Who will be the next contestant to dare defy the football Gods and become the next QB to take a moribund team to the Promised Land?"
My ‘mancrush' on Skelton is well documented in past articles. I mean, who wouldn't love a guy who stands 6'5", has a big arm, and can take hits while throwing the pigskin? He physically resembles my personal hero, the fabulous Johnny Unitas, and that is not a bad thing. His footwork even resembles Johnny U. But, back in Johnny U's day, he had a great offensive line that gave him time to throw. Skelton didn't have that luxury with the Cardinals. But even if he did, Skelton's inaccuracy was just killer. As in, career-killing.
In review, the 2010 fifth round pick had, in his three seasons, had thrown 15 touchdown passes and 25 interceptions.
He completed 53.2 percent of his pass attempts for 3,707 yards.
All offseason it looked unlikely that Skelton would survive into training camp. Bruce Arians lamented the inability to talk to Kevin Kolb while watching video - to ask why and why not of certain plays - and, perhaps in that inability to talk to Skelton and gain an understanding of how his mind works, Skelton lost out too. But, Skelton's inadequacies were seen first-hand the last three years by new GM Steve Keim. Keim had a good feel for what he had in Skelton. And unfortunately it didn't feel good.
Skelton's release comes just as Kolb gets a second chance, signing with the really QB-needy Buffalo Bills. Will John Skelton get a second chance? I believe so. I fervently hope so. Not as a starter, but as a backup. Skelton, in my humble opinion, was paired with the wrong system for his style of play. I was really hoping that he would be able to stick around and get "coached-up" by Arians and Tom Moore. They are reputedly "QB coaches". I feel that his prior coaching amounted to trying to "cram a square peg into a round hole" style of coaching.
Skelton needs to go to a West Coast-style team. When he knows when, where, and to which spot on the field he is supposed to throw to. Skelton may develop, later, into a thinking-man's type of QB (like my aforementioned Johnny U.). Right now, he just needs to quit thinking, and just DO. And he MUST become more accurate with his passes. How many times did we see Larry Fitzgerald work his magic, and get open, only to watch helplessly as the pass sailed over his head, or just be tantalizingly out of reach?
I don't know if Skelton's problems are mechanical, footwork, or mental, or any mixture of those three. But there is one trait Skelton possesses that cannot be taught; you have to be born with it - leadership. I was continually amazed that the Cards offensive line seemed to block differently, and better, when he played in relief. He could have had a bigger attitude on the field, though. Skelton should have swaggered out on the field, slapped his offensive linemen on their keisters and said, "Let's go kick some ass, boys." Instead, he looked like he was meekly taking charge, saying "thank you" instead of "it's about damn time!"
Anyway, I personally am going to miss John Skelton. I always thought that the Cardinals had a real chance to beat anybody when he was on the field. He was given so many chances to take the team by the throat and guide them by the force of his will. But he blew those chances. John Skelton is a big enough man, both physically and mentally, to accept what has happened, and drive on with his career. Here's to you, John.
(Oh, and don't delete the Cardinals' number from your cellphone just yet. Since the offensive line has been ignored so far (same ol' Cardinals), you'll be needed again.)