Kevin Kolb will make over $8 million this year ; John Skelton will make less than $500,000. And yet by all indications, Kolb and Skelton will battle it out on a level playing field for the right to start under center for the Arizona Cardinals in 2012. Now, Kolb probably has a built-in advantage from the franchise’s perspective, but it was Skelton who was directing the offense for six of the team’s eight wins in 2011.
John Skelton joined Doug and Wolf on KTAR in Phoenix to talk about his quarterback competition with Kevin Kolb, specifically discussing the strange dynamics of a competition like this, and to share his blueprint for what he feels he has to do to emerge as Ken Whisenhunt’s starting quarterback for Week 1 of the 2012 regular season.
On if he feels as though he’s in a quarterback competition:
“I do. I do. … It’s like anything else. Whenever you’re competing you always wanna put your best foot forward, you always wanna put your best work on film and stuff. And it’s a grind. I know Kevin’s pushing and I’m pushing, and really there’s competition at every position right now. And if it wasn’t Kevin and I competing, and Kevin was the starter, I’m sure I’d be competing with Rich [Bartel], or I’d be competing with Ryan [Lindley], who just came in. To be able to know that you’re going into a competition for the starting job makes it that much more precise in the workouts and everything.”
On the uniqueness of a football quarterback competition:
“Yeah, I think that’s a dynamic that’s so specific to sports and especially football, where you might be training your replacement in another job, but here you’re competing back and forth off of each other, you’re bouncing ideas off of each other. You take something from the meeting room that maybe you missed and the other guy got and he’ll help you out on the field. The question I get all the time is, ‘You probably hate Kevin,’ or ‘You probably can’t get along with Kevin.’ And I’m like, ‘No. It’s the complete opposite.’ Kevin and I, we go golfing on Tuesdays, we go out afterwards and have some wings and stuff. We just have a great dynamic in our quarterback room with all four guys that are there now, and it’s a different dynamic just because it’s not something that’s common in our society. But here it is on the football field and you see it every day.”
On what he has to do to win the quarterback competition:
“I think right now it’s just getting a better understanding of the playbook, a better understanding of defenses that we’re gonna face and trying to exploit certain defenses that we’re gonna see. We play San Francisco twice a year. They’re a stellar defense. Why do we attack them this way? Why do we run this play in this situation? I think once I get a better grasp of everything we’re trying to accomplish as an offense, then everything kind of falls in line. Then the footwork falls in line because I know where I’m going with the ball. Then the accuracy falls in line because my footwork’s in line. I think it starts at the top. Once the mental game’s slowed down — which it has tremendously since I first came into this program — I think once that’s at the level of the elite quarterbacks in the league I can go ahead and kind of let everything else fall into place, and then just play football again.”