After seven consecutive defeats, the Arizona Cardinals need a victory more than they need to get reps for rookie quarterback Ryan Lindley.
Around the NFC West: Nov. 26, 2012
Might that lead the Cardinals back to John Skelton if an injury continues to sideline Kevin Kolb? Sending Lindley on the road against the New York Jets and Seattle Seahawks over the next two weeks would seem to invite disaster after Lindley tossed four picks during a 31-17 home defeat to the St. Louis Rams in Week 12.
"We are going to put the best guys in there that are going to give us the chance to win," coach Ken Whisenhunt told reporters Sunday. "We aren't going to evaluate personnel over trying to win games."
Lindley does, at least, represent some hope for the future. Sending a rookie late-round draft choice into nearly hopeless situations isn't any way to develop a quarterback. Then again, sending Lindley to the bench so quickly might also be damaging.
This team needs Kolb to get healthy in a hurry.
Kolb was the player Whisenhunt identified as the Cardinals' franchise quarterback. Skelton appears pretty much finished as a viable starting candidate. Lindley projects as a longer-term prospect. Kolb is the only highly drafted (by Philadelphia in the second round), highly paid quarterback on the roster. He's the one Arizona needs to succeed.
Arizona's offense has exceeded 20 points just once this season, during a 24-20 overtime victory over Miami. The defense scored on a fumble return during a 27-6 victory over Philadelphia a week earlier.
Kolb isn't going to save the season and rally Arizona into playoff contention. That's unrealistic. Time does remain for him to restore the position to at least an average level. For the third year in a row, mediocre QB play would represent an upgrade for Arizona.
That is particularly troubling for Arizona while young quarterbacks in Seattle and San Francisco continue to emerge.