The Cardinals won't know until the middle of the week at the earliest if quarterback Kevin Kolb will able to return from a foot injury.
John Skelton's performance in place of Kolb gives the team the benefit of time. The Cardinals have won both games in which Skelton has started, and while Skelton hasn't been great, he's been resilient and resourceful.
He's thrown four touchdown passes and been intercepted twice. He's shown a great ability to bounce back from poor plays. In the victory last week over the Eagles, his two interceptions led to 10 points for Philadelphia.
But Skelton doesn't let failure linger. As a starter the last two years, he has led the Cardinals to a 4-2 record. In three of those victories, he led the team to scores in the fourth quarter.
Kolb made progress last week in rehabbing from his foot injury, which was extensive. In addition to turf toe, Kolb suffered sprained ligaments in the mid-foot area and a bone bruise.
He hasn't taken a snap in practice in two weeks, but he should be able to get some work in this week. Will it be enough for him to start Sunday in San Francisco?
No one will know until at least Wednesday. Coach Ken Whisenhunt isn't going to name a starter until he has to, but it would make some sense for him to go back to Kolb when Kolb is healthy.
The Cardinals invested considerable resources in Kolb, and they need to let him gain experience in the offense. Even though the Cardinals have won two consecutive games, they aren't going to the playoffs.
It's against the nature of any coach to play for next year, but it would be wise for Whisenhunt to do just that.
Skelton's steady play, however, gives Whisenhunt the luxury of time. The coach doesn't feel pressure to rush Kolb back before he's 100 percent.
It wouldn't be surprising if Kolb were to be Skelton's backup in San Francisco on Sunday, then return to the starting job the following week in St. Louis.