“I’m prepared to go out and play with whomever,” the Pro Bowl wide receiver said. “I’ve played with a million quarterbacks it seems like. I try not to focus on who is throwing the ball. My job is to catch it. You do your job.”
Fitzgerald and his teammates got no answers on the subject Monday. Coach Ken Whisenhunt did indeed name a starting quarterback, but not for the season, just for the Thursday’s preseason finale against Denver. As if to keep everyone guessing, that starter will be rookie sixth-round draft pick Ryan Lindley. Barring injury, the men battling for the “real” starting job – Kevin Kolb and John Skelton – won’t even play against the Broncos.
As for when the final Skelton/Kolb decision will come, “we’ll let you know,” Whisenhunt said.
Whisenhunt explained his reasoning for starting Lindley, which was two-fold. It gives a player like Lindley – who had looked good against deeper backups – to play against Broncos who are higher on the depth chart. Yet because Denver will likely not play key players long if at all in the final preseason game, Whisenhunt didn’t see the point of trying to dole out comparable playing time to Kolb and Skelton.
The coach was emphatic on the issue of Lindley’s spot in the mix for permanent starter. “I want to make sure I am clear on this,” Whisenhunt said. “Ryan Lindley is not going to emerge from this game as our starter, no matter how he does.”
Lindley wasn’t saying much – “I’m just thankful for the opportunity” – but the choice was more about the guys who won’t be playing than who will. With neither Kolb nor Skelton starting and with both finishing with two preseason starts, no insight could be gleaned on which man might get the nod for the regular season.
Whenever Whisenhunt decides to provide that nod.
“I don’t expect anything,” Kolb said. “I just roll with the punches. The head coach always sees a little more than what we do. I know he’s got a plan.”
Said Skelton, “Like everything, I’m taking it all in stride. I think the team knows the sooner we have a decision the sooner we can move forward but it hasn’t worked out that way.”
Whisenhunt said he wanted to see practice Monday and Tuesday with the quarterbacks to further evaluate the situation, as well as continue to monitor their progress in meetings. It’s possible Whisenhunt has already made a choice in his own mind and chooses instead to hold on to that announcement, but “I don’t see why he would do that,” Skelton said.
As far as the quarterbacks know, a decision has yet to come.
“That’s what he is telling us,” Kolb said. “And that’s what you get used to, going to practice all the time and not worrying about the distractions.”
The final preseason game will have a mix of starters and others. The Cards officially elevated D’Anthony Batiste to starting left tackle and rookie
The quarterback question will remain a little longer.
“I know there are a lot of fans that want to know the answer,” Whisenhunt said. “But when we are ready to announce that, we will do that.”