So I suppose that you have heard that the Arizona Cardinals have a quarterback problem. They have two guys vying for the starting job and neither has been spectacular. As of right now, it appears that John Skelton holds a lead overKevin Kolb, but head coach Ken Whisenhunt is not saying which way he is leaning so far.
In that sense it is right. He still wanst to see at least one more week of practice and one more preseason game.
However, he has hurt the team with the way he has handled the QB situation.
How is that, you might ask?
In sports, and especially with Coach Whiz, competition is what is supposed to motivate individual improvement. You want to play better than your opponent and you want to be better than the guy who is behind you or ahead of you on the depth chart because that affects your ability to provide for your family.
But that doesn't mean that blind competition is always good for a team and organization.
With the quarterback situation, Whisenhunt has allowed the organization to take a lot of egg to the face, because of how he has handled Kevin Kolb.
The organization targeted Kolb, traded a lot to get him and paid him a lot of money to be the guy at quarterback. He played unevenly and got hurt, and the team lost a lot of games.
After he went down, John Skelton started some games, played unevenly and the team won some games.
But do note -- both QBs played unevenly.
Whisenhunt declared open competition for the starting job in the offseason and that is where he did the organization a disservice. Doing so did not give Kolb a vote of confidence, which has since led to the criticism of the team for making the trade. There are now whispers of how the players are not behind Kolb and how the team is unhappy with how Kolb has played since he was acquired, and all of that looks bad for the team.
The result is that every single mistake or perceived mistake by Kolb gets piled on. The guy can't win unless he is perfect and plays like Kurt Warner.
This is how Whiz should have handled the situation -- just the way he did in 2008 with Kurt Warner and Matt Leinart. He should have publicly stated that Kolb is the team's starting quarterback; that he was their guy. Then he should have said that, because Skelton led the team to many wins, he would open competition for the starting job, but that Kolb is the guy and Skelton will have to clearly outplay him.
Doing things this way would have showed the other players that the team is behind Kolb. It also gives Kolb the vote of confidence he needs to not press so much. More so, it sets a standard for fans.
If Skelton wins the job, the organization doesn't look good, but instead you have a guy in Skelton that won the job clearly. But the "egg in the face" of the team is minimized because it doesn't come nearly as early as now.
Essentially, by not backing Kolb in the offseason, the team looked like they knew they had made a mistake, whether or not they really thought they had. But they set themselves up for it.
In the end, Whisenhunt will probably end up picking the right guy, whether it is Kolb or Skelton. But the organization already lost months because of the move to get Kolb and the ensuing decision to not consider him the incumbent starter. And unless Skelton becomes an upper tier starter this year among quarterbacks, there is no way the Cardinals look good out of all this. If Skelton does, then they developed him and that is great. But short of that and the team looks foolish.
Simply put, Kolb should have "been the starter" all along. Perhaps Skelton still beats him out like Warner did Leinart, but at least the organization was behind Kolb from Day 1, rather than showing a lack of confidence that has led to more criticism than had they done it a different way.
The players would be more united, the fans would be more united. And probably there isn't the mess now that there has been.
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