In final week, Cardinals have QB issues, as usual

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 24, 2012 at 4:46 pm •  Published: December 24, 2012
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TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — The Arizona Cardinals entered the final week of the season with uncertainty at quarterback.

How fitting for a team that's misery on the field has been defined by poor play at that position.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt said Monday he wasn't ready to say whether Brian Hoyer would be the choice. It seems a pretty good guess considering the problems Ryan Lindley has had, and the fact Hoyer was active and John Skelton inactive Sunday, when Chicago handed the Cardinals (5-10) their 10th loss in 11 games.

Hoyer, claimed off waivers by the Cardinals from Pittsburgh two weeks ago, would be making his first NFL start if he's the choice for Sunday's game at San Francisco, where the 49ers will be looking to clinch the NFC West.

With the 49ers certain to be cranky following their one-sided loss at Seattle, it's not exactly an ideal location for an opposing quarterback to make his debut.

But after spending three seasons as a backup in New England and a mere three weeks with the Steelers this season, Hoyer would cherish any chance he gets. He had some good moments, and one very ill-advised throw, in relief of Lindley on Sunday.

In what he considered an audition, Hoyer completed 11 of 19 for 105 yards with one interception and no touchdowns. In fact, the Cardinals have failed to throw a TD pass in the last six games.

"Anytime you're out there on the field, it's your resume," Hoyer said. "You have to go out there and take advantage of every opportunity you're given. In New England I didn't get many opportunities to get on the field. I was excited to play the game (Sunday). It has been a while since I got to play and play an extensive role."

It's not overly simplistic to say that Arizona's season could have been far different with consistently solid quarterback play, rather than just the opposite. Kevin Kolb had the most success. From the time he took over late in the season opener against Seattle to the moment he went down with a rib injury that ultimately ended his season in Week 6, Arizona went 4-2. He threw eight touchdown passes with three interceptions.

The trio of Skelton, Lindley and Hoyer has a combined two TDs and 17 interceptions. Several immediately became touchdowns. In the last five games, Arizona quarterbacks threw 11 interceptions and four of them have been brought back for scores. The latest, a 10-yarder by Charles Tillman, sent Lindley to the bench in favor of Hoyer early in the second half Sunday.

"There's no question that we've got to have more consistency from the quarterback position, that's the No. 1 thing," Whisenhunt said at his weekly Monday news conference . "You look at last night's (Seattle-San Francisco) game and what a difference Russell Wilson has made in Seattle with all the plays that he makes. That's what you have to have."



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