NFL analyst: Arizona Cardinals should stick with Lindley
The Arizona Cardinals' quarterback carousel is back in motion after the team lost its sixth consecutive game on Sunday to the Atlanta Falcons.
After John Skelton missed Larry Fitzgerald on a post-corner route in the end zone following an Atlanta turnover, head coach Ken Whisenhunt turned to rookie sixth-round pick Ryan Lindley.
Fox NFL Analyst Daryl Johnston told Arizona Sports 620's Doug and Wolf Monday he was not surprised Whisenhunt had seen enough of Skelton, who went 2-of-7 for just six yards, with the botched throw to Fitzgerald sealing his fate.
But at this point, Johnston feels the team can't go back to their beleaguered quarterback after making such a bold move.
"When you do that, I've always believed that you've gotten to the point when ‘I make this change, I'm staying with it'. You can't go back and forth with the quarterback position and we'll have to wait and see how Kevin Kolb does returning to the field," Johnston said.
Lindley, who started the season third on the Cardinals' depth chart at quarterback, went 9-for-20 for 64 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions against the Falcons. While, he certainly didn't set the football world on fire in his debut, Johnston didn't see any reason the 23-year-old rookie shouldn't get the start next week against the Rams.
"[Lindley] just missed one time Andre Roberts and one time Larry Fitzgerald on the deep throw," Johnston said. "So I don't know how much time he had at practice during the course of the bye week. I don't know many reps he took during that time, but he managed the game okay."
The young signal caller did have a turnover on a sack by Falcons' defensive end John Abraham, but Johnston said he has seen that from a number of seasoned quarterbacks and Lindley's play-calling ultimately didn't harm the Cardinals.
"He didn't make a critical decision where he had an interception that really hurt Arizona," Johnston stated.
Johnston said the ongoing struggle for the Cardinals' coaching staff has been finding some offensive stability. The team wasted a brilliant defensive effort against Atlanta where they forced six turnovers, including five Matt Ryan interceptions.
"It's just been tough and coach Whisenhunt talked to us about the continuity challenges and this is just another part of that equation, trying to build something to get some continuity on the offense," Johnston explained.
The Cardinals' struggles at quarterback and on offense have been a black cloud hovering over the team all season.
"It's been a tough year and they're just trying to do what they can to hold up their end of the bargain," Johnston said. "Their defense played outstanding yesterday but the offense just didn't hold up their end of the bargain."
Whisenhunt seemingly had no choice but to make a change at quarterback after the team's abysmal offensive performance. Still, he's not ready to name his starter for next week against St. Louis.
But, if you listen to Johnston, he has serious doubts that Skelton is the man for the Cardinals -- for the short or long-term.
"I think it's going to be very difficult for him moving forward," Johnston said. "It was an opportunity for him to step into a spot and establish himself, if not as a starter, as a dependable backup that you can rely on. [Skelton] didn't make the throws [Sunday] and for whatever reason that was, you've got to go in a direction that you feel gives your team the best opportunity to have success."
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