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All John Skelton does is win

Arizona Cardinals v San Francisco 49ers Getty Images

Yes, the title of this post is tongue-in-cheek. It’s also true.

Tim Tebow isn’t the only quarterback with a low completion percentage winning games in insane, impossible to explain ways.

John Skelton has started three games for the Cardinals, and played the majority of Sunday’s upset win over the 49ers. (He came into the game early with the Cardinals trailing.)

Arizona is 4-1 in Skelton’s games. They are 2-5 when Kevin Kolb handles the quarterback duties.

Skelton’s play has been erratic. He can look great one quarter and simply not up to NFL standards the next. His performance Sunday against San Francisco was his best outing.

Consider that Skelton got very little help from his running game. His offensive line might be the worst in football.

Skelton did get a ton of help from his defense, who kept the Cardinals alive with its red zone play.  But Skelton’s aggressiveness was the key.

The second year player from Fordham threw for 282 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions on only 28 attempts. He’s now averaging over seven yards-per-attempt on the year. That’s higher than players like Tebow, Joe Flacco, and Andy Dalton.

The kid is not afraid to go after defenses. The great 49ers humiliated Skelton a few weeks back, but Skelton led a big comeback against them Sunday. If anything, he’s too aggressive.

So what does it all mean?

1. Measuring a quarterback by wins is overrated. It always has been. So much goes into a win, with luck a much bigger factor than anyone wants to admit.

Skelton has benefited from an improved Cardinals defense, special teams scores, and facing the Rams twice. He’s also had a knack for just enough big plays.

2. Skelton is a good NFL backup at the very worst. There has been no appreciable difference between him and Kolb this year. We’d argue Skelton has more upside.

That’s probably not a good thing for the Cardinals.

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43 Responses to “All John Skelton does is win”
  1. sonoco says: Dec 12, 2011 6:54 PM

    I don’t know what I’m more proud of, my team winning the NFC West or being the only team to beat Skelton this year. Truly the mark of a quality team.

  2. sterilizecromartie says: Dec 12, 2011 6:55 PM

    1. Measuring a quarterback by wins is overrated. It always has been.
    ————–
    Really? I mean, it’s not the ONLY way to measure a quarterback, but I would never ever say that it is overrated.

  3. earthtopft says: Dec 12, 2011 6:57 PM

    Helter Skelton has 6 NFL wins, the same as Colt McCoy from the 2010 draft. In 13 fewer starts. Tebow has 8 wins, the same as Sam Bradford in 13 fewer starts. Whoda thunk?

  4. theysone says: Dec 12, 2011 6:59 PM

    Skelton looked bad other than those 3 long tds (which he had help from Fitzgerald’s amazing ability to “go up and get the ball”) which accounted for well over half of his total yardage.

  5. goldrush36 says: Dec 12, 2011 7:01 PM

    There was some luck, some blown coverages too, and some bad calls swinging the momentum or extending drives but such is the life in the NFL. They were hungry, and the 49ers honestly deserved to lose after their red-zone performance yesterday anyway. That said, like it or not cards fans…. Skelton > Kolb slightly and he is a hell of a lot tougher.

  6. swampymux12 says: Dec 12, 2011 7:05 PM

    Kevin Kolb has been a disappointment this year, even when healthy. At least they didn’t pull an Oakland and trade 8 first round draft picks for a washed up QB :)

    Glad Skelton is playing pretty well now, because he’s looked awful at times.

  7. musiccitymiracle says: Dec 12, 2011 7:05 PM

    3 games started + 1 game coming in to relieve Kolb = 4 games. How could he be 4-1 over 4 games? You’ve got some daft interns.

  8. wadecounty93 says: Dec 12, 2011 7:07 PM

    Skelton over Sanchez.

  9. mikea311 says: Dec 12, 2011 7:07 PM

    Eli manning used to look terrible for three quarters too.so did drew brees.

    Why not let these guys play for a while before we grade them.

  10. jayman35 says: Dec 12, 2011 7:07 PM

    Really? Skelton looked so good in San Francisco three weeks ago Whisenhunt thought to bench him in favor of the 3rd stringer. But sure, he’s a winner alright.

  11. johnnyshore says: Dec 12, 2011 7:09 PM

    As a 49er fan who has now had the pleasure of watching Skelton play twice, I notice one big difference between him and Kolb, and I think it is why they are winning. Skelton understands how good Larry Fitzgerald is, and he doesn’t hesitate to throw it up to him, even in dangerous plays he trusts Fitz to come down with it. Larry’s big touchdown yesterday came on a ball that could have been picked off, but off course Larry fought for it and came down with it over Dashon Goldson. It reminds me of Tim Rattay back when he was on the 49ers. T-Rat wasn’t particularly good, but he never hesitated to throw the ball up to TO, and it made a big difference than the other qb’s. I think Kolb needs to realize this, and give the ball to Fitz more than he does. I don’t know the exact statistics, but I bet if you break it down, Skelton sends plenty more balls Fitz’s way, and it is paying huge dividends for the Cards.

  12. cardsfann1 says: Dec 12, 2011 7:11 PM

    Skelton is playing in his second year without the benefit of a training camp this year. He has a below average line and played against the defense that has not gave up a rushing td this season. I really don’t know what people expect from him. Other than the first game against the 49ers he has looked better than my expectations. The kid has a cannon arm. He will get better. Give him some time.

  13. Kya_Tropic_Fan says: Dec 12, 2011 7:20 PM

    Someone has to win games, because we know it isnt Kevin “Dont call me fragile” Kolb. As bad as the Eagles have been on the field this year, they should get some kind of “Personnel Award” for duping the Cardinals so badly

  14. Fred says: Dec 12, 2011 7:28 PM

    Measuring a QB by wins is pretty damn effective, Greg. Admittedly, 8 games is too small a sample to enable you to reach any kind of valid conclusion, but if John Skelton goes 40-10 instead of 4-1, I’m pretty sure he’ll get — and deserve — Brady money.

  15. johntonioholmes says: Dec 12, 2011 7:35 PM

    I don’t have anything against Tebow, but it is funny how Denver beats 5 or 6 teams who won’t make the playoffs and Tebowmania kicks in.

    Skelton has actually faced tougher teams and come out on top. I’m not taking anything away from Tebow, but it just shows how messed up the media is.

  16. metalhead65 says: Dec 12, 2011 7:39 PM

    wins are over rated? just because the guy experts like you said could not be a nfl qb has proved you wrong you have to start throwing things out there to try and prove your point. was skelton picked apart coming out of college and told he will never make it after being a winner in college? he was drafted by a coach and gm who wanted him unlike tebow. and enough of picking on him for his beliefs! why is ok to only pick on a christian player? if there was a muslim player who praised alla all the time and anybody said a word about it he would be crucified by the press and people of that faith who are offended by just about anything. but because he is a christian it is ok?

  17. hillzmickelzon says: Dec 12, 2011 7:42 PM

    I hate to say it but does kevin kolb play alot like J.P losman with less starts? I gotta say J.P looked good on the bills a couple of games a few years back just like kolb did replacing Mcnabb but now with a few games under his belt Kolb is lookin like mr losman.

  18. freedomispopular says: Dec 12, 2011 7:57 PM

    I’m pretty sure everyone knew trading for Kolb was a bad investment. Except for Arizona.

  19. bearsstillsuck says: Dec 12, 2011 8:15 PM

    how come nobody is rushing to skeletons aid and calling everybody that says he isnt a great quarterback a hater?

  20. westcoastredbird says: Dec 12, 2011 8:16 PM

    Given he has the two worst offensive tackles in the league Levi (Teflon) Brown and Brandon (Pegleg) Keith this is truly amazing. I knew this set of tackles was going to get their quarterbacks hurt; I’m just glad John Skelton is big enough to take the punishment. The sad thing is that Levi Brown was drafted ahead of Patrick Willis and Adrian Petersen. That’s what happens when you draft need over best player available! You know that if Russ Grimm can’t “coach them up” they really suck.

  21. discosucs2005 says: Dec 12, 2011 8:29 PM

    Along those same lines, all Alex Smith does is win this year. Only 3 losses and numbers far away more impressive than Skelton or Tebow.

    No reasonable person thinks Smith is great or even good QB. But if wins are all that matters, Smith is way better than Tebow.

    (As a 49er fan, I am fully aware that the odds of us ever winning a Super Bowl with Smith are extremely low. But I also don’t think Harbaugh is planning on making Smith the franchise guy.)

  22. jgo304 says: Dec 12, 2011 8:42 PM

    Not only does he win, HE THROWS THE ROCK TO FITZ!!!!!!

    Something Kolb cannot comprehend doing.

  23. cardiaccardinals says: Dec 12, 2011 9:26 PM

    I’m still not sold on Skelton, but I’d rather we focus on getting a good O-line setup before we draft our franchise quarterback.

    And I gotta say, Skelton almost gives me a heart attack every game (except loss to SF), but at least he and the rest of the team pull through and get wins.

    I do care about how many wins the QB has. >.<

  24. westclaims says: Dec 12, 2011 9:33 PM

    Just a bashing article on the Cards. Not surprised. Cards have won 5 of their last 6. Nothing else matters.

  25. rcali says: Dec 12, 2011 9:38 PM

    He’s like a white Tim Tebow!

  26. realitypolice says: Dec 12, 2011 9:45 PM

    theysone says:
    Dec 12, 2011 6:59 PM
    Skelton looked bad other than those 3 long tds (which he had help from Fitzgerald’s amazing ability to “go up and get the ball”) which accounted for well over half of his total yardage.
    =============================
    Yup, and Tebow has looked bad in 28 of the 32 quarters he has played this year.

    Other than Marion Barber stupidly going out of bounds, Tebow loses yesterday.

    Other than Ponder throwing an INT last week, Tebow loses that game.

    Other than the Dolphins turning the ball over in OT, Tebow loses that game.

    If you are too dense to realize that this article was really about the absurdity of calling Tebow a great QB by pointing out Skelton’s luck, I don’t know what to tell you.

  27. howiefeltersnatch says: Dec 12, 2011 9:47 PM

    The guy is a Derek Anderson clone. Nice backup fer sure but likely will never be more than that.

  28. rarson says: Dec 12, 2011 10:40 PM

    “That’s higher than players like Tebow, Joe Flacco, and Andy Dalton.”

    It’s also a smaller sample size.

    “Measuring a quarterback by wins is overrated.”

    It’s only overrated if you use an extremely small sample size, like say, 5 games.

    I see what you’re doing here, Gregg. You’re saying “Look at Skelton: wins don’t mean your quarterback is good.” And I agree. And obviously, you’re drawing parallels to Tebow, probably because you’re as sick as most of us hearing how Tebow single-handedly drove his team to victory every time they win, even when he does nothing but throw a pick when it counts the most. But you’re focusing on the wrong details.

    A bad quarterback can be masked by good players around him. A good quarterback can be held back by his team or even his coaching staff. Whatever the case, for those of us who evaluate the players by watching them every Sunday, it takes more than a few games of a single season to get an idea of how good a quarterback really is.

  29. rarson says: Dec 12, 2011 10:44 PM

    From now on, whenever anyone says “all he does is win”, I’m going to assume that they’re talking about John Skelton.

  30. rajbais says: Dec 12, 2011 10:50 PM

    He has better QB mechanics compared to Tim Tebow and wins as much as Tebow does, but we have to ignore what he’s doing!!! Media members, ENOUGH OF THIS TEBOW CRAP!!!!

    Tebow just sets up game winning field goals with overall crappy QB play!!!

    CARDINALS, GET RID OF KEVIN KOLB!!!! Stephen A. Smith was correct about him!!!! His name should be Kevin “Corn on the” Kolb!!!!

    More John Skelton!!!! More John Skelton!!!!

  31. smokingconch says: Dec 12, 2011 11:39 PM

    Wins will never be a good way to judge quarterbacks.

    Who would you rather have in the Super Bowl for your team: Trent Dilfer or Dan Marino?

    I rest my case.

  32. pikkiwoki says: Dec 13, 2011 2:01 AM

    Hey Rosenthal,

    If the media was tripping over themselves trying to bash Skelton, saying things like “Kolb gives the Cardinals the best chance to win,” and “It’s embarrassing to think the Cardinals could win with Skelton!” then you might actually have a point.

    Since that obviously isn’t the case, you have no point. It’s okay to admit you were wrong.

  33. hjworton46 says: Dec 13, 2011 2:12 AM

    Anyone who’d put a win in the NFL down to luck should not be writing about it. Luck does not exist.

  34. discosucs2005 says: Dec 13, 2011 2:13 AM

    Everybody is always looking for a perfect statistic. There is none. There is no way to know for certain who really is the best QB, the best team of all time, the greatest defense, the most dangerous running back. That’s why I love football, and sports in general. In most other aspects of life, there is a lot of tangibility. But in sports, it’s all opinion, and nothing matters.

  35. blackqbwhiterb says: Dec 13, 2011 5:27 AM

    Just keep winning Cardinals. Don’t wanna see them draft ahead of me. And hey, Vince Lombardi went to Fordham, so why not give Skelton a shot??

  36. lookatthefarside says: Dec 13, 2011 5:34 AM

    As a Niner fan, we need to step up on the red zone, but hats off to the Cardinals.

  37. jessethegreat says: Dec 13, 2011 5:41 AM

    smokingconch says:
    Dec 12, 2011 11:39 PM
    Wins will never be a good way to judge quarterbacks.

    Who would you rather have in the Super Bowl for your team: Trent Dilfer or Dan Marino?

    I rest my case.
    ——————————————————–
    Depends, Do I get the Ravens Defense with Dilfer if I pick him?

  38. tatum064 says: Dec 13, 2011 6:36 AM

    swampymux12 says:
    Dec 12, 2011 7:05 PM
    Kevin Kolb has been a disappointment this year, even when healthy. At least they didn’t pull an Oakland and trade 8 first round draft picks for a washed up QB

    Glad Skelton is playing pretty well now, because he’s looked awful at times.

    =====================

    No worries, WE PUNKED Kolb’s old team in Oaktown, anyway…with JaMarcus Russell starting at QB and 7 QB sacks on McNabb.

  39. wiley16350 says: Dec 13, 2011 6:45 AM

    You act like rating QB’s by wins is something new and started with Tebow. It’s what they used to say about Mike Vick and Vince Young. It’s why Joe Montana is supposedly the greatest QB of all-time. Never mind that if it wasn’t for the 49ers defense (or Danny White) against the Cowboys forcing a fumble. The catch would have never happened. The 49ers wouldn’t have even played in the first superbowl. And if it wasn’t for the 49ers defense stopping the Bengals on 4th and 1 at the 1 yard line, that great drive to beat the Bengals the second time wouldn’t have happened either. That’s 2 of Montana’s superbowls that wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for things that he had no control over. But the biggest reason Montana does get so much praise is because when he was given a chance in the clutch, he made the plays to win games. That’s what Tebow has been doing. Mike Vick, Vince Young and probably Skelton (can’t say for sure) won games by making a few plays throughout and then the defense finishes it. Where, with Tebow and Montana they are the ones on the field to finish the game and making plays when it counts most. Thats the reason they get more praise for winning. I’m not saying it should be that way, but that is why they get more praise for winning. And no, I’m not saying Tebow is as good as Montana.

  40. cuda1234 says: Dec 13, 2011 7:28 AM

    Wow, a guy who just wins, but doesn’t throw the starter under the bus, demand the team install a new offense to make him look better or demand a bunch of interviews that he uses to tell the public how humble he is? REFRESHING.

    I always love that about Timmy – come over here and let me tell the camera how humble I am. Isn’t that an oxymoron?

  41. Kevin Roberts says: Dec 13, 2011 7:44 AM

    so let me get this straight…you’re using the fact that John Skelton has won three games as a starter and one off the bench to show us that Tim Tebow isn’t good?

    Pretty sure the title was a slight on Tebow, and pretty sure this whole article is.

  42. bunjy96 says: Dec 13, 2011 8:07 AM

    How many SB did each of them win?

  43. wiley16350 says: Dec 13, 2011 9:21 AM

    @cuda1234

    you probably should provide evidence for your negative assertions of Tebow. I never saw or heard anything that Tebow demanded the team to change the offense or that Tebow demanded to be interviewed. From what I heard, it was John Fox’s idea to change the offense. And since Tebow has a great public following, its the media that more than likely asks Tebow to do interviews. Its awfully stupid when people have to invent things so that they can feel justified to hate someone.

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