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Arizona QB situation in disarray after loss

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Arizona QB situation in disarray after loss

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) The quarterback situation for the Arizona Cardinals is in disarray again following the benching of John Skelton early in the team's 23-19 loss at Atlanta.

Rookie Ryan Lindley replaced Skelton and had a difficult day as Arizona managed to lose despite six turnovers by the Falcons, five of them on Matt Ryan interceptions.

Asked Monday if he would stick with Lindley, coach Ken Whisenhunt said he and his staff will ``sit down as a staff and look at what we're trying to get done and make that evaluation.''

``I've just watched the film right now,'' Whisenhunt said, ``and we're looking at a lot of things, not just the quarterback position. We're going to do what we think gives us the best chance to win going forward. That's not something where we have to make that decision right now.''

Whisenhunt said he expects Kevin Kolb, out with a rib injury, to work back into practice this week. But Kolb's return from an injury that has sidelined him for four games could still be a ways off. Kolb is 3-2 as a starter this season and engineered the game-winning drive in relief of the injured Skelton in the opener.

The Cardinals have lost six straight after starting the season 4-0.

Lindley, a sixth-round draft pick from San Diego State, said he didn't know any more than reporters did about whether he would start when the Cardinals play at home against St. Louis on Sunday.

The offense's woes were glaring against the backdrop of Arizona's outstanding defensive performance on Sunday, an effort that almost always assures success. The Falcons' Matt Ryan was the first quarterback to throw five interceptions and no touchdowns yet win the game since Bart Starr did it for Green Bay 45 years ago.

Arizona even got its running game, ranked last in the league entering the contest, in gear, with LaRod Stephens-Howling gaining a career-best 127. But the passing game was awful. Skelton had a string of bad throws, culminated by missing a wide open Larry Fitzgerald in the end zone, before he got the hook. He went to the sidelines having completed 2 of 7 for 6 yards.

Lindley, wide-eyed in his first NFL appearance, wound up 9 of 20 for 64 yards with no interceptions and no touchdowns.

``Statistically, obviously, there's nothing to write home about,'' Whisenhunt said. ``But he did a nice job I thought in a lot of areas, managing the game, handling the noise, doing some of the things that he needed to do in the pocket, made some good throws. That throw he made on fourth down to Larry (Fitzgerald) was a big-time throw. With that position, you're going to miss some, but I thought he handled himself well.''

When the team went into its bye week, preceding the Atlanta game, Whisenhunt had vowed to make changes when he thought they were warranted, and he said on Monday that the quarterback was not exempt from that process. Skelton got the hook shortly after the bad pass toward Fitzgerald, leading the team to settle for a field goal that put Arizona up 13-0.

``We're playing against a really good football team - best record in the NFC, in their place, and with where we are as an offense right now playing so many young guys, having two rookie tackles, you can't miss plays that you have to make,'' Whisenhunt said. ``You can't miss those. So going forward in that position where we were in the game, we had to see if we put in a player that wouldn't miss those.''

He said Lindley had impressed during practice, filling is as the No. 2 quarterback and the scout-team quarterback after first Skelton, then Kolb went down with injuries.

``He's really stood out making throws in those periods,'' Whisenhunt said. ``When you talk about that position and looking at the way he's handled himself mentally, the way he's worked physically, there's a lot of things you like about it.''

The coach has made it clear that his patience has worn thin. He diminished the role of five-time Pro Bowl safety Adrian Wilson, taking him out when the Cardinals went to their ``nickel'' defensive package.

``Adrian's a real pro and he handled it well,'' Whisenhunt said. ``That's where we are as a team. We felt like James (Sanders) and Rashad (Johnson) deserved a chance. They played very well against Philadelphia when Adrian didn't play, and we're trying to win games. We're trying to get better and those guys played well yesterday.''

During the game, he benched Michael Floyd after the rookie wide receiver lined up wrong and cost the team a timeout.

``With where we are offensively, you've got to create a sense of urgency with our guys to make plays and to be held accountable for that,'' Whisenhunt said, ``but if the guy's not doing it, you've got to put someone else in and give him the opportunity.''

Running back Beanie Wells, who expects to return from a turf toe injury and play against the Rams, has watched as the no-nonsense coach made his recent moves.

``It's the way it should be,'' Wells said. ``We get paid to play football and we get paid to play football the right way. When you're not doing it right, you have to come out. We're here to win games. We're not here just to go out there and play a game and have fun. If we're not going to do the things necessary to win games, then things have to be changed.''

With the loss, Arizona has had losing streaks of at least six games in each of the three seasons since the team made the playoffs two years running and Kurt Warner retired.

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Wizards vs. Hornets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

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USA TODAY Sports

Wizards vs. Hornets: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, Jr. and the Washington Wizards battle Kemba Walker, Dwight Howard, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:

WASHINGTON WIZARDS VS. CHARLOTTE HORNETS

Where: Capital One Arena
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Washington (coverage begins at 6 p.m.)
Live stream: NBCSportsWashington.com
Radio: 1500 AM

On a roll

The Wizards have some serious momentum going right now. With an impressive win over the Cavs on Thursday, they have now won three straight games and eight of 10 since John Wall went down with a left knee injury. They had a week off due to the All-Star break, but didn't show any rust at all in their first game back.

The Wizards are now 34-24, 10 games above the .500 mark. They are fourth in the East and could move into third on Friday if they win and the Cavaliers lose. Even with Wall out, things continue to look up for Washington.

PODCAST: BIGGEST STORYLINES COMING OUT OF ALL-STAR BREAK

Hornets have had their number

The Wizards haven't done so well against the Hornets so far this season. Charlotte has taken both meetings and that includes a 24-point win on Jan. 17. That game featured Dwight Howard taunting the Wizards late in the fourth quarter.

Howard has killed the Wizards through two games with averages of 22.0 points and 14.0 rebounds. Jeremy Lamb (20.0 ppg vs. Wizards) has been a big factor as well as All-Star Kemba Walker (21.5 ppg vs. Wizards).

The last time these teams played about a month ago frustrations boiled over in an incident that got Tim Frazier ejected. Michael Carter-Williams picked a fight with Jason Smith and Frazier went off:

RELATED: BEAL IMPRESSED BY LEBRON AT ALL-STAR GAME

Hornets coming in hot

The Hornets are outside the playoff picture at the moment at eight games below .500, but they have won two straight games and Walker and Howard are coming off huge games. In a win over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, Walker dropped 31 points and Howard grabbed 24 rebounds.

Those guys will be riding a high coming into Washington on Friday. But it should be noted that Howard complained after the game how tired he is at this point in the season. That exhausion could affect him more in the second game of a back-to-back.

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS

 

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' huge road win over Cavaliers, including Markieff Morris' alley-oop

5 must-see moments from Wizards' huge road win over Cavaliers, including Markieff Morris' alley-oop

Here are the five best plays or moments from the Washington Wizards' 110-103 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night...

1. The Wizards didn't start out well, as they trailed by nine points at the end of the first quarter. Kelly Oubre, Jr. stumbled early by missing four of his first six shots and it looked like a carryover of his slump before the All-Star break.

But Oubre got hot in the second quarter and helped the Wizards turn the game around. This was one of his best plays, a two-handed slam that he celebrated with an emphatic scream to the crowd:

RELATED: BEAL IMPRESSED BY LEBRON AT ALL-STAR GAME

2. Tomas Satoransky was one of the stars of the game. He had 17 points to go along with eight assists, four rebounds and two steals. 

Here's one of his dimes, a perfect alley-oop lob to Markieff Morris, who finished with nine points and eight rebounds:

3. Satoransky has reached double-figures in six of the 10 games since John Wall went out with an injury. This was a very impressive move, a stepback fadeaway that was super smooth:

RELATED: GET TO KNOW NEW WIZARDS FREE AGENT SIGNING

4. Ian Mahinmi made some key contributions including four offensive rebounds and a steal. This was his best basket, a powerful slam that came at a key time:

5. This play helped seal the victory. It was a smart after-timeout set drawn up by head coach Scott Brooks and it worked to perfection:

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS