The Cardinals will be in (mostly) bad company when they start their fourth quarterback of the 2012 season.
When the Cardinals start Brian Hoyer against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, they will be starting their fourth different quarterback of the season. The other three were Kevin Kolb, who was injured in Week 6, John Skelton, who started Week 7 through Week 11, and Ryan Lindley, who started Week 12 through Week 16. Kolb, who was having a decent season before his season-ending rib injury, gave the Cardinals the only somewhat efficient play at the quarterback position. The other three have not.
There have only been 19 teams since the AFL merger to start four quarterbacks in a single season, and 13 of those 19 had losing seasons. The Cardinals will be the 20th team and the 14th to have a losing season. The last team before the Cardinals was the 2008 Cleveland Browns, who went through Brady Quinn, Derek Anderson, Ken Dorsey and Bruce Gradkowski en route to a 4-12 season.
Kolb led the Cardinals to a 4-2 record before he was injured in Week 6 and in his six starts, he had an average quarterback rating of 94.88 and since then, the other three quarterbacks on the roster have had an average rating of 51.44.
"It's no secret, we haven't got the production out of that position that we've needed," Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt said this week. "We've got to get consistency out of that position."
Whether or not the Cardinals will put Kolb back in the driver seat in 2013 remains to be seen. In the meantime, the Cardinals better focus on shoring up their offensive line, which has allowed the most sacks (56) of any line in the NFL by nine, or they won't be able to keep a quarterback healthy for an entire year.