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Cards still undecided on starting QB, rookie to get nod in final preseason game

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com
Lindley starts Thursday but either Kolb or Skelton will be under center in Week 1. (US Presswire)

The benefit of one extra preseason game did nothing to settle the Cardinals' quarterback situation. And now, as if coach Ken Whisenhunt has officially run out of ideas and will spend the next few days waiting for a sign from God, Arizona will start rookie Ryan Lindley in its final preseason game.

While much remains to be decided, this much is certain: whatever Lindley does Thursday -- up to and including throwing for 600 yards and 10 touchdowns -- he will not be the Week 1 regular-season starter. Beyond that, who knows.

Whisenhunt said Monday that neither Kevin Kolb nor John Skelton would likely see the field against the Broncos in the final preseason game. Given that he's seen both players for going on a year now -- through the 2011 season, minicamps, OTAs and now training camp -- we're guessing there's nothing the coach feels he can learn from one more meaningless game, especially one that will likely feature players for both teams who won't be on NFL rosters by the end of the week.

Whoever ends up under center when the Cards host the Seahawks on Sept. 9 this much is certain: they'll be on a short leash. There's a reason Arizona wanted Peyton Manning this spring, less than a year after trading cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second-round pick to the Eagles for Kolb. (The organization exacerbated matters by then signing Kolb to a $63 million extension, including $20 million in guarantees.) Even before Kolb's most recent uneven performance in last Thursday Cards-Titans preseason get-together (he led an end-of-half touchdown drive but also threw two interceptions, one of the pick-six variety), ESPN reported that Arizona was still open to the possibility of adding a veteran quarterback.

Clearly, that didn't include Tarvaris Jackson, who the Seahawks traded to Buffalo on Monday. Nor does it appear to include Vince Young, the just-released Bills QB who was taken seven picks before the Cardinals selected Matt Leinart 10th overall in the 2006 draft. But with teams required to get down to 53 players by this Friday afternoon, other veteran quarterbacks are sure to hit free agency in the coming days. For now, however, the job will remain in-house.

After going 17 of 22 for 156 yards with 1 TD and 2 INTs against the Titans, Kolb was asked why he deserved the gig.

"I finally felt like I was in a game atmosphere tonight," he said Thursday. "I was in rhythm whenever we did get the ball moving there and I think the guys felt the tempo. And tempo is a big thing for us, I think that's how we're going to have to play."

That's been the problem, of course -- the Cards with Kolb have struggled to consistently "get the ball moving." Which reminds us of something former Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner said last week in regards to Kolb.

"I've been in games when it's hard to get the game to slow down, and it's not a fun place to be," he said. "Everything looks like a jumbled mess. Sometimes you're nervous, sometimes you're anxious. When I watch (Kolb) on film, it looks like he's looking in the right spots. But that doesn't mean he's seeing it, or that he's seeing what I'm seeing. But he's looking at it and not letting the ball go. What's causing that?"

That's the $63 million question.


CBSSports.com takes you inside the Arizona Cardinals training camp to see what the staff does to get the best out of its players and prepare for the marathon that is the NFL season.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our Pick-6 Podcast and NFL newsletter. You can follow Ryan Wilson on Twitter here: @ryanwilson_07.

 
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