When your supposed signalcaller for the next decade wins only twice in nine starts and struggles mightily when healthy enough to play, and his backup wins six of the eight games in which he appears and spearheads four fourth-quarter comeback wins, it’s pretty easy to justify the Cardinals’ contention that backup QB John Skelton will get a legitimate shot to unseat starter Kevin Kolb this offseason. But the way we’re hearing it from our sources on the scene, there are at least four other positions where the Cardinals are expecting much more serious competition for starting jobs.
“I think the only way Skelton replaces Kolb is if he clearly outplays him throughout training camp and the preseason, and while that certainly could happen, I don’t think it will,” one team source told PFW. “Not only have they already paid Kolb $19 million, but they really think a second season in the system and a lot better health will make a big difference for him.”
We hear far less certain situations than the one under center currently shape up at right tackle, right cornerback and right inside linebacker and, to a slightly lesser extent, left outside linebacker. “I have to think the right tackle is going to come from the draft,” the source said, adding that incumbent UFA Brandon Keith is looking increasingly iffy in a Cardinals uniform next season.
At the CB spot opposite 2011 first-rounder Patrick Peterson, we hear a dogfight could be in the offing among Greg Toler, who was out all of last season with a torn left ACL, A.J. Jefferson and free-agent pickup William Gay. At one ILB spot alongside up-and-comer Daryl Washington, there are many who believe Stewart Bradley will unseat steady veteran Paris Lenon in his second year in a system that was much different than what he was used to in Philadelphia. The front-runner at left outside linebacker is O’Brien Schofield, but veteran incumbent UFA Clark Haggans is far from being ruled out as the starter. “I think they really feel Schofield needs to be pushed,” the source said.