Removing The Quarterback Controversy From The Arizona Cardinals

Written by  Cedric Hopkins September 19, 2012
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If you Google "Arizona Cardinals Quarterback" the headlines will show that it's unclear who the starting quarterback for the Cardinals should be, John Skelton or Kevin Kolb—it's a true quarterback controversy.

Actually, at this point, Arizona's quarterback situation is beyond a controversy, it's downright dysfunctional.

Head coach Ken Whisenhunt wasn't able to name his starter until just days before the regular season kicked off. And that wasn't until after he took a look at third-string quarterback Ryan Lindley in the final preseason game. 

We don't envy Whiz when it comes to making that choice, both options are poison. 

But after two weeks of play, it's evident that whoever is under center is irrelevant.

The two quarterbacks have been evaluated—ad nauseum—over every little stat, over every single game since last season. The truth is, both quarterbacks are more than capable of losing games for Arizona. Kolb has confidence issues that force him to miss plays, and Skelton has double-vision and throws to the wrong receiver—he has the accuracy of a grenade.

And by no means is Ryan Lindley the answer, at least not yet.

From what we've seen, there isn't a quarterback on the Cardinals' roster who can lead the team to the playoffs. Not this year. 

And that's not to say we don't think the Cardinals make the playoffs, because we do. What we're saying is that it doesn't matter which quarterback is under center, neither has the skill-set to actually lead a team.

Right now, Arizona is being led by one guy: defensive coordinator Ray Horton. And Horton is a guy who is capable of leading this team to the playoffs. And it started in Week 8 of last season.

The Cardinals opened the 2011 season with a 1-6 record and many had written Arizona off as a bust. That was right around the time when Horton let it be known that he had to scale back his defensive playbook for the first few weeks of the season. 

Horton revealed that he was using only about 30% of the playbook for those first seven games, but that he was ready to summon the remaining 70% in Week 8 against the Baltimore Ravens. 

In Week 8, during the first half of the game, the Ravens were completely stifled. They were held to two field goals, one of which came after the Cardinals stopped the Ravens two yards out. Quarterback Joe Flacco threw for 94 yards and one interception in the first-half. The score was 24-3 at the break. 

The Ravens came out in the second-half and unexpectedly went into a no-huddle offense—a preview of this season—and came back to beat the Cardinals. But this game proved to be a prelude to Arizona's storied second-half of the season.

Following the loss to the Ravens in Week 8, the Cardinals went on a 7-2 run to finish out the season at 8-8. The Cardinals are now 11-2 since Week 8 of last season. And if you've watched just one of those games, you know the Cardinals' success didn't come at the hands of either quarterback. 

Arizona's victories have been cemented when both Skelton and Kolb most resemble fans: when they're watching the game. The Cardinals' win column is impregnated by the defense and special teams. It's either a blocked kick, punt return for a touchdown or a relentless defense that puts opposing defenses in a chokehold. 

So let's dispense with which quarterback is the best fit for the Cardinals, neither are. And let's stop calling this a controversy. Quarterback controversies usually involve at least one quarterback who is showing promise. 

This Cardinals team is anchored by Ray Horton. And if they make it to the post-season, it will be because of what Horton has put together on defense. What the Cardinals should be doing is scouring the league for their next defensive coordinator. Because after this season, Horton is surely to land a head coaching gig.

Cedric Hopkins

Cedric Hopkins Bio

Cedric Hopkins runs this sports law/fantasy football blog. If you have issues with it, it's all his fault. Cedric was an athlete-student at the University of New Mexico (Basketball - Go Lobos!). He then morphed into a student-athlete when he attended law school in San Diego. Age replaced athleticism and now he writes appellate briefs for criminals (alleged criminals, of course) in state and federal cases, including writing U.S. Supreme Court briefs.

For years Cedric has researched and written about legal issues but maintained a love for sports. With, he's combining his two passions: researching and writing about sports. When he's not in court arguing a case before a judge (or writing about himself in the third person), he'll be doing the same with his articles on Follow me, er, him on Twitter (opens in a new window).

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