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Arizona sent cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second-round pick to the Eagles for Kolb last offseason, and then gave the quarterback a $63 million extension that included some $20 million in guarantees. It stands to reason that the organization would have reasons to prefer Kolb in the role just to see if they found their franchise quarterback.
On Thursday, Whisenhunt was rooting for Kolb, but with qualifications.
"I don't look at a player and think what's he's making or what you did to get him here," he said via the Arizona Republic. I look at them based on what kind of plays they're making.
"I obviously know how much we invested in Kevin. I want Kevin to be successful. I want him to be our quarterback, but I'm not going to ignore the fact that John Skelton worked pretty hard and did a good job in there when he was playing, too. He's earned the right to compete for that spot."
And that's the thing: Skelton was about as efficient as Kolb last season. Neither were great but the former was much cheaper than the latter. Also tempering Whisenhunt's decision: he has experience with franchise quarterbacks and their backups; in 2007, Matt Leinart and Kurt Warner split time, Warner won the job and took Arizona to a Super Bowl in 2008, and Leinart was eventually released in favor of Derek Anderson, Max Hall and Skelton.
For now, Kolb sounds unconcerned. “I've said it a hundred times: ‘Look, if you are afraid to compete in this league, go home,'” he said earlier this week. “There is a lot of time between now and (the season) and a lot of time to prove yourself.”
Meanwhile, Whisenhunt was also asked about the Cardinals' offseason interest in Peyton Manning in light of the revelation that 49ers, according to head coach Jim Harbaugh, weren't pursuing the former Colts quarterback.
"Boy, you're trying to set me up aren't you?" Whisenhunt said, smiling. "I know what you want me to do. You know I am going to stay away (from that). I'm going to get the umpire to warn you and the next time, you're outta here."
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