Coach: John Skelton not ready for NFL

Updated: December 6, 2010, 9:26 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The sinking Arizona Cardinals might turn to rookie John Skelton as the team's third starting quarterback of the season.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt wouldn't name Skelton the starter for Sunday's game against Denver, but Derek Anderson is being evaluated for a concussion and backup Max Hall is out with a dislocated shoulder.

Even if Anderson is cleared to play, Whisenhunt could turn to Skelton.

"We're going to look at that. I can't say," the coach said. "We have injuries there. We have performance issues at that position. That's something that we're going to look at as we go forward this week."

Skelton, who stands 6-foot-6, replaced the diminutive Hall early in the fourth quarter and, on third down with 16 yards to go, threw 22 yards to Steve Breaston, followed by a 19-yarder to Larry Fitzgerald. Skelton, drafted in the fifth round out of Fordham, completed 3 of 6 for 45 yards and was sacked once.

"I think I did all right out there," Skelton said on Monday. "There were some mistakes. I missed a hot throw and took a sack for it. It's something to learn from."

While Whisenhunt said that "by no means" is Skelton ready to play in the NFL, that might be the best-case scenario for the sputtering offense. The Cardinals wasted a strong effort by their defense in a 19-6 loss to St. Louis on Sunday. Arizona has not scored a touchdown in eight consecutive quarters.

Still, the coach would not rule out the team signing a quarterback and giving him the starting nod.

"It happened to us a couple of years ago," Whisenhunt, "... It's difficult, yes, but I think you have to look at what you're working with. Is the guy somebody that has been around the NFL before? Is he somebody that's played?"

Whisenhunt was asked if, in hindsight, he would have handled the Matt Leinart situation differently. Leinart, expected to move into the quarterback job after Kurt Warner retired, was replaced by Anderson in the preseason and released by the team before the regular season began. He currently is the third-string quarterback for Houston.

"When we made the decision at the time, we did it based on what was best for our future going forward," Whisenhunt said. "Obviously, it's easy to second guess now because it hasn't worked out the way that any of us had hoped or thought it was going to.

"But I can't go back and say now that you would do everything different, because the dynamic is different now."

Skelton said he has learned a lot just by watching each game from the sidelines.

"Learning the offense was the hardest thing to overcome," he said, "but I definitely have the physical tools to make all the throws, see all the reads and do all that. So it's coming together with maturity and all that. It will be an uphill battle, but I think I'm ready for it."

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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