Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt says that he’ll pick either Kevin Kolb or John Skelton as his starting quarterback based entirely on who looks better between now and September, and that he’s heading into the competition with no favorite in place.
Whisenhunt told Jim Rome on Rome that he doesn’t know who his starting quarterback will be, and he’s as eager as anyone to see one of his quarterbacks establish himself as the starter.
“That’s the question that’s going to be answered through the workouts this spring and in training camp this summer,” Whisenhunt said. “They’ve both been working hard at it. It’s been good to get out on the field and actually work on techniques and fundamentals with these guys. At times last year they both showed they can do good things. But consistency at that position is something we’ve got to improve on. So hopefully the competition between both of them will sharpen up one of them enough that he’ll be a good starter for us.”
Although Whisenhunt acknowledged that Kolb — who just a year ago was viewed as the team’s long-term franchise quarterback — might seem to most like the favorite in the quarterback race. But Whisenhunt said he doesn’t want to go into the race with a favorite because he wants both quarterbacks to be of the mindset that they can prove they deserve the job.
“I think the knee-jerk reaction would be to say that it is Kevin’s job to lose,” Whisenhunt said. “But then you have to look at what John Skelton did last year in winning those games when he was in there. So I think you have to give John a lot of credit for winning those games. I certainly have a lot of respect for Kevin and what he’s done in this league and we made the commitment to bring him in to our football team. So it’s going to start out as even as it possibly can, and we’re going to let the best player take it from there. We did that many years ago when we had Kurt Warner and Matt Leinart, and it worked out pretty good for us. So hopefully we’ll have that same kind of magic.”
There’s just one problem with Whisenhunt’s Leinart-Warner analogy: It isn’t true that when he was coaching those two he made it an even competition and let the best player play. In fact, in 2007 Whisenhunt started Leinart over Warner even though it was obvious that Warner was better than Leinart, solely because Leinart was a highly drafted 24-year-old and Whisenhunt believed the Cardinals were a rebuilding team who should stick with the younger player. Whisenhunt eventually saw the error of his ways, picked Warner over Leinart, and got to the Super Bowl with Warner leading the way, but that was only after he gave Leinart more chances than his play warranted.
The good news is that Whisenhunt seems to have learned a lesson from the Warner-Leinart competition when it comes to choosing a quarterback. The bad news is that neither Kolb nor Skelton has done anything to make anyone believe he can be anything like Kurt Warner.