Five years ago the Cardinals finished their ninth consecutive non-winning season and the 19th in the last 20 years since the team moved from St. Louis to Arizona. Four years ago they were in the Super Bowl, and three years ago the divisional round of the playoffs.
The addition of Kurt Warner brought the team out of the doldrums, but as soon as he left the Cardinals have gone right back to their losing ways. While they still have plenty of talent on the roster that doesn't appear to be ending anytime soon because they lack talent in a key spot--quarterback.
By Friday the team is expected to name the starting quarterback for the start of the 2012 season. It would be preferred to name one for the season, but since neither Kevin Kolb or John Skelton have been impressive during the preseason there is no clear-cut choice.
The team paid a heavy price to bring Kolb in last season thinking that the two games he started in Philadelphia (where he threw for over 700 yards combined) were indicative of how he would play for them. After all, the Cardinals have one of the best receivers in the game in Larry Fitzgerald; Andre Roberts and Early Doucet are not too bad either.
Kolb started his tenure with the Cardinals on a pretty good note completing 66.7 percent of his passes for 309 yards and two touchdowns in a 28-21 win over the Carolina Panthers. It was all downhill from there. Thanks to injuries and poor play he appeared in only eight more games and threw more interceptions (8) than touchdowns (7).
Statistically Skelton did worse than Kolb almost across the board, but he did well where it counted leading the Cardinals to a 6-2 record.
Skelton's win/loss record couldn't be ignored and led to the open competition for the starting job this preseason. Neither QB made an impression in the first two games, and while Kolb was better than Skelton in the third game (17-22, 156 yards, 1 TD) the overall success of his start was mitigated by two interceptions.
Every team in the NFL has named their starting quarterback, but the Arizona Cardinals. While a strong showing by either in the final preseason game Thursday will likely be what Whisenhunt uses to justify his choice, in the back of his mind he will be thinking that it (the strong showing) came against back-ups and guys no longer on NFL rosters (since starters rarely play the final preseason game).
Scouring the waiver wire is not much of an option either since whomever they get will need time to learn the offense. With the way Kevin Kolb and John Skelton have played it is almost like head coach Ken Whisenhunt must choose between the lesser of two evils.