TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — With 13 days remaining before the regular-season opener, the Cardinals still don’t have a starting quarterback.
Coach Ken Whisenhunt said Monday that he’s still not ready to announce whether Kevin Kolb or John Skelton will start the Sept. 9 game against the Seahawks, making the Cards the only team in the NFL that hasn’t selected a starter.
“I have the sense that everyone is expecting a starting quarterback announcement today,” Whisenhunt said to open his regular Monday news conference. “We don’t have one for you.”
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To make the situation a bit more perplexing, Whisenhunt said he doesn’t expect either quarterback to play in the team’s preseason finale at home Thursday night against the Broncos.
That leaves two days of full practice and one walk-through to further evaluate Kolb and Whisenhunt if the team is to have a starter when game-planning begins in earnest for the season opener.
Rookie Ryan Lindley, a sixth-round draft pick out of San Diego State, will start against the Broncos as the coach goes with a mix of starters and backups.
However, Whisenhunt said, “I want to make sure I’m clear on this: Ryan Lindley is not going to emerge from this game as our starter, no matter how he does.”
The coach said that by having a fifth preseason game, the opportunity exists to see players such as Lindley and running back William Powell play alongside starters and against the opponent’s better players.
Whisenhunt said that, with Lindley, “you have a young player that we felt strongly about in our evaluations.”
“We had high grades on him. We were excited to get him where we did,” the coach said, “and I think you can’t escape the fact that with very limited reps, he has performed well in the preseason.”
Kolb and Skelton have started two preseason games each, and Whisenhunt decided against giving them a shot in the fifth game.
“I don’t know how long Denver is going to play their starters,” he said, “so as far as evaluation of the quarterbacks and trying to make it a level playing field, as for the number of reps and who they are playing against, I don’t know how much that would serve with John or Kevin out of this game.”
Whisenhunt told the quarterbacks before practice on Monday that there had been no decision. Both said they took the news in stride.
“I don’t expect anything. I just roll with the punches,” Kolb said. “Head coaches always see a little more than what we do, and I know he’s got a plan.”
Does Kolb really believe Whisenhunt hasn’t made a decision?
“That’s what he’s telling us,” Kolb said. “As a player, you get used to doing that. You get used to just going to practice every time and not worrying about all the distractions and keep working.”
Skelton acknowledged that he would like to play Thursday night.
“Whenever you get to go against a live defense, to see something other than our practice team, it helps,” he said. “But I understand the decision, and we’re just going to go forward from it.”
Asked if he thought a decision would have been made by now, Skelton said, “Like anything else, I’ve been taking it all by stride.
“I think the team kind of knew the sooner we can get a decision made, the sooner we can go forward,” he said. “But it hasn’t worked out that way.”