Two years ago, quarterback John Skelton remembers simply competing during camp in an effort to make the Arizona Cardinals’ roster. Now he’s in a fight for the team’s starting gig. Though Kolb has been announced as the early No. 1 quarterback on the depth chart, Skelton seems to be right there behind him.
The two played fairly sparingly in a preseason game against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, but Kolb didn’t help his chances. His first pass was intercepted and he finished just 1-for-4. Skelton, who says he does his best not to think about the competition, went 4-for-6 for 32 yards in the Cardinals’ 17-10 loss.
John Skelton joined KTAR in Phoenix with Doug and Wolf to discuss his learning curve, his anxiety level while immersed in the quarterback competition, having a brother as part of the squad, what a normal training camp feels like, if he’s changed his mechanics and more on his mentality in competing with Kolb.
How long does it take a young quarterback to learn you can’t be a hero on every play?:
“It’s hard to learn, especially because everyone in the NFL kind of stood out in college. And they were able to kind of go up, over and beyond what was asked of them sometimes. Here, everyone’s the best of the best and you can’t play outside of your element. You can’t try to do more than what’s asked of you, especially on offense at the quarterback position. A lot of it is you’re not going to have the play all the time. The defense might dial up the right defense and you might have nothing and the throwaway is the best play.”
Where’s your anxiety level when it comes to the quarterback competition?:
“I’m pretty even-keeled. I don’t get too high, don’t get too low. There’s times, coming off the practice field, where you kind of look back and you kind of regret a throw you made, or regret a read, and maybe now being in this situation, you kind of harp on it … a little longer. But every day is a new day and every meeting is a new install and you’ve just got to move forward and continue to grow.”
On having his brother, Steve, on the team as a tight end right now:
“I think the criticism from the media or fans or anyone is nothing compared to the criticism I get from my family members. And that’s ever since high school. My grandfather would be at the games, ‘Oh, your brother was open, get him the ball.'”
You’ve had a rookie camp and a lockout to deal with. What’s it like just to have a normal camp?:
“To be honest, I don’t know what a normal camp is. This is new to me, too. Coming in as a rookie, you’re kind of in awe. You don’t know where the meal place is, you don’t know the dorms, you don’t know the schedule by heart yet. … That year, I was, ‘Am I going to make the team?’ That was the question. Last year, coming off the lockout, everything just seemed so condensed. We were rushing through everything. … Now, finally, my third year, what everyone is accustomed to in training camp, this is new to me. So, I’m still kind of, I won’t say learning my way through this, but kind of getting a sigh of relief.”
Have you changed your mechanics?:
“A little bit. Nothing dramatic. A lot of it is coming over the top. I’ve played baseball all my life and always had a strong arm and was always to make three quarters — my arm is at three quarters. Having a big arm has kind of hurt me a little bit in the sense that I don’t get my feet in the right position all the time, I don’t get my body in the right position. … I worked out with an NFL vet that kind of helped me along the way who, early in his career, had a lot of the same problems I did.”
How did you feel when the depth chart came out and Kevin Kolb was number one?:
“I actually didn’t know until walking off the practice field one day, someone in the media asked me about it. … That day or the next day is when Coach came out and said Kevin was going to go ahead and start. I guess, for aesthetic purposes, you have to have a one and two at some point and I guess that’s what it was.”
How much do you really think about the fact that you’re in a competition?:
“I don’t think it really crosses my mind too much. It’s something that whether I was starting or competing for a starting job or competing to be on the roster, I’m going to take it the same situation, take it the same way. I think a lot of the outside influences talk about it more than we do in house. Everyone knows about it, it’s written all over the walls, but it’s not something that’s being harped on all the time.”