The Cardinals can only hope they end up having the same kind of success this coming season that they ultimately enjoyed back in 2008, which is the last time they had a battle this wide open entering training camp for the starting QB job.
As is expected to be the case this offseason — with Kevin Kolb widely considered a slight favorite for now over strong-armed John Skelton — it wasn’t until relatively deep into the 2008 preseason when veteran Kurt Warner was officially named the starter over former first-round draft pick Matt Leinart. The rest, of course, is history, with a brilliant 2008 campaign by Warner, culminated by a last-second Super Bowl loss to the Steelers, ending up being primarily responsible for a season for the ages in the desert.
After admitting earlier this offseason that he probably preferred that Kolb win the starting job based on the hefty price they paid for him (both in players and money), Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt said that Skelton, who won six of the eight games in which he appeared last season, simply played too well when given the opportunity to not be granted a serious shot to beat Kolb out this summer.
“It’s a similar situation, in that it again figures to be well into the preseason before the starter is named, with both Kolb and Skelton expected to get a chance to start some games,” said one veteran team insider when asked to compare the Cards’ QB scenarios in 2008 and 2012. “What’s different, though, is that back in 2008, there was a lot more hope that good things could happen because of the way Warner came on the previous season after Leinart was hurt.”
After replacing Leinart in 2007, Warner was 5-6 in 11 starts, including three wins in the final five games. He rifled three TD passes in each of the last four games and surpassed 300 yards passing in four of the last six games, beginning with a 484-yard effort in a 37-31 loss to the Niners.
“I’m not sure how much real hope there is with these guys (Kolb and Skelton),” the insider said. “We all saw the problems Kolb had last season. And, to be honest, Skelton really benefited more than anything from a rejuvenated defense that carried the team.”