Big Red Blog: Skelton no longer the underdog

Since entering the NFL, John Skelton has been the underdog story that won't go away. But his role has changed since being named the Cardinals starting quarterback to begin the 2012 season.

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Skelton no longer the underdog

Posted by Brad Wilbricht
Tuesday, September 4 - 9:30 AM

Since entering the NFL in 2010, John Skelton has been the underdog story that won't go away.

Although he was raw and unpolished as a fifth-round draft pick, Skelton saw significant playing time as a rookie. A year ago – even after Arizona signed Kevin Kolb to a lucrative long-term contract – Skelton led the Cardinals to a 6-2 record as the starter over the second half of the season.

Now, Skelton's underdog story is complete as he'll be the Cardinals' starting quarterback when the 2012 campaign kicks off Sunday against the Seahawks.

But with his role now reversed, the dynamic of Skelton's relationship with the team – and fans – will be drastically different. Instead of being the backup quarterback everyone wants to see get a chance, Skelton could soon be harassed with the criticism and backlash that NFL starting quarterbacks receive when things go sour.

Skelton's backup, Kevin Kolb, knows this all too well.

Kolb was the savior of the Cardinals franchise when he was signed last year. Kolb's presence helped Arizona lock down All-Pro wideout Larry Fitzgerald to a contract extension as he was expected to be the franchise quarterback the team had been lacking since Kurt Warner retired following the 2009 season.

But things haven't panned out for Kolb and even through the Cardinals have sunk a considerable amount of money in him, Kolb will be relegated to the sidelines, at least for now.

Back to Skelton, who won the starting job even with his own inauspicious performance this preseason.

Skelton didn't exactly light it up en route to being named the starter, completing 56 percent of his passes with a QB rating of 50.6. Meanwhile, Kolb wasn't far behind with a 49.7 QB rating and was actually more accurate completing 59.5 percent of his passing attempts.

Nonetheless, coach Ken Whisenhunt and the Cardinals brass felt better with Skelton taking the reins under center. And that's how this season will start – with Skelton shedding his underdog role along with all of the comfort that comes with it.

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