TEMPE, Ariz. — Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt is having fun with this less-than-suspenseful quarterback decision.
Despite the fact that Week 1 starter John Skelton missed Wednesday’s and Thursday’s practices and was able to do only rehab work Friday with his walking boot off, Whisenhunt had this to say when asked if the Cardinals had a starting quarterback for Sunday’s game against the Patriots in Foxborough, Mass.
“We will,” Whisenhunt said, a wide smile cracking his face. “We’ll see who that is Sunday at 1 o’clock.”
We’re going out on a limb here and saying that guy will be Kevin Kolb. Couple Skelton’s lack of preparation with the fact that team president Michael Bidwill went on talk radio Tuesday and announced that Kolb would be the starter and you had more information than you needed without an official announcement.
Even if Whisenhunt is still maintaining the ruse that Skelton could play.
“I have hope that he can be available,” Whisenhunt said. “I know he’s into the plan mentally. It’s doubtful that he would play, but I was encouraged by what I saw out of him today.”
The only real possibility is that Skelton could serve as the backup.
Kolb didn’t speak to reporters Friday, but he didn’t sound concerned with the lack of an announcement earlier this week after coming off the bench against the Seahawks and leading what turned out to be a game-winning touchdown drive.
“I’m used to curveballs,” he said. “It was a unique experience, but you just roll with the punches and keep staying ready.”
There is a widely held belief that players don’t lose their spot due to injuries, but it’s really a belief that defies logic. If Kolb were to go into New England and play well — even lead his team to an upset win — why wouldn’t Whisenhunt consider starting him even if Skelton returns?
The NFL is all about competition and giving your team the best chance to succeed. If Kolb is that guy, so be it. Whisenhunt shouldn’t be criticized for leaving open that possibility on Monday when asked if Skelton would definitely be the starter upon his return.
As for the challenge ahead, it couldn’t get bigger or harder for Kolb than the defending AFC champions.
“They’re obviously where everybody wants to be,” Kolb said. “They’re in the hunt every year for the Super Bowl, if not in it.
“You can’t give them any mistakes. You can’t give them any turnovers, because they capitalize on every one of them.”
Aside from the challenges presented by quarterback Tom Brady and what looks like a vastly improved defense, there is also the challenge of matching wits with mastermind coach Bill Belichick.
“He reads into everything. He’s like a CIA operative,” Kolb said. “You can’t give him anything, because he’s looking at it.” INJURY REPORT
Of the 14 players besides Skelton (doubtful for Sunday’s game) on the official injury report this week, CB Patrick Peterson (groin), S Rashad Johnson (thigh) and SS Adrian Wilson (ankle) were the only ones listed as limited on Friday.
Whisenhunt isn’t concerned with their availability for Sunday’s game.
“You never know when you travel, because you never know how their bodies will respond to it,” Whisenhunt said. “But I don’t anticipate that we’ll have any issues on Sunday with any of our players. They all participated in practice today, and I think with a normal week’s preparation, they’ll be fine.”
Johnson, Peterson and Wilson are all listed as questionable. LB O’Brien Schofield (knee), CB Jamell Fleming (shoulder), LG Daryn Colledge (elbow), PK Jay Feely (back), TE Jeff King (knee), FS Kerry Rhodes (foot), C Lyle Sendlein (back), RG Adam Snyder (elbow), CB Greg Toler (hip), RB Beanie Wells (knee) and RB Ryan Williams (knee) are all listed as probable.
The Patriots listed seven players as questionable for Sunday’s game: G Dan Connolly (head), CB Alfonzo Dennard (hamstring), TE Daniel Fells (shin), OL Nick McDonald (shoulder), CB Sterling Moore (knee), RB Shane Vereen (foot) and OT Sebastian Vollmer (back). S Patrick Chung (shoulder) is listed as probable. Follow Craig Morgan on Twitter