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Arizona's Skelton back at QB after Kolb injury

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Arizona's Skelton back at QB after Kolb injury

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) John Skelton won a long, tight competition to become starting quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals, only to go down with a sprained ankle in the final minutes of the season opener.

Five games and another quarterback injury later, Skelton is starting again.

Kevin Kolb, who replaced Skelton in the opener and helped the Cardinals get off to a 4-0 start, is out indefinitely with rib and chest injuries sustained Sunday when Arizona was beaten at home by Buffalo 19-16 in overtime.

It was the Cardinals' second straight loss.

Now Skelton steps in to lead the Cardinals to Minnesota to face the Vikings on Sunday - and try to figure out how to succeed behind an offensive line that allowed Kolb to be sacked 22 times in the last three games.

Switching quarterbacks is nothing new for the Cardinals. Through the preseason, Skelton and Kolb took turns as starters. Whisenhunt didn't anoint Skelton until nine days before the regular-season opener.

``It's too much of a big deal,'' wide receiver Andre Roberts said after Wednesday's practice. ``You know we had John at the beginning of the year, we had him in camp, so it's not like we're bringing somebody in new that we haven't played with.

``John's been here for a while. We understand what he brings to the table, so it won't be that big of an adjustment.''

Skelton, a fifth-round draft pick out of Fordham in 2010, is 8-4 as a starter. He stands 6-foot-6 and has a rocket for an arm, although he sometimes struggles with accuracy. Last Sunday was the first time Skelton had been active since the injury - and the rust showed.

After Kolb went down, Skelton completed 2 of 10 for 45 yards. He did complete a fourth-down pass to Larry Fitzgerald to set up a 38-yard field goal try by Jay Feely that would have given Arizona the victory. But the kick was deflected and careened off the left upright, sending the game into overtime.

In the overtime, the Bills punted on their first possession, but Skelton threw an interception that set up Buffalo's winning field goal.

Skelton said that having a full week of practice with the starters will help him get back into the proper rhythm.

``Instead of just mentally repping everything like you do when you're the backup or inactive or what have you, you get to run it,'' he said. ``You get to see against a defense. You get to experience it out there. It just makes the week go by that much easier because you are more comfortable with everything, and then come Sunday you are ready for everything that comes.''

He'd better be ready for Jared Allen and the rest of the Vikings' pass rush. Kolb was pounded mercilessly in the last three games as the line struggled, particularly on the edge, where tackles D'Anthony Batiste and rookie Bobby Massie often seemed hopelessly outmatched.

Skelton said there are things he can do to mitigate the rush.

``A lot of it is getting the ball out of your hands quick,'' he said. ``There are times where you're going to get sacked and there's nothing you can do about it. There are other times when you can get the ball out of your hand quick. You can throw it away. You can flee the pocket sooner. Ultimately, everybody has to do their job.''

Skelton found it difficult to watch Kolb do the job he had fought for and, briefly, won.

``It's frustrating more than anything,'' Skelton said, ``to put in all the hard work in the past years and offseason, getting named the starter the way I was, and then kind of have it disappear and taken away from you that early.''

Now it's Kolb's turn to be frustrated. Brought to Arizona as the supposed franchise quarterback, he struggled a year ago, then was sidelined twice by injury, first with turf toe, then with a concussion.

After all that, he lost the fight for the starting job.

When he relieved the injured Skelton late in the fourth quarter of the opener, he directed the winning touchdown drive. Three more victories gave him a measure of redemption. Surviving the onslaught of the pass rush erased any doubt of his toughness.

But he's likely out for several weeks. That gives Skelton another chance.

``John has been in this role before,'' Whisenhunt said. ``John has played where he hasn't gotten a lot of snaps and John did well, so we expect John to go in there and do a good job.''

If something happens to Skelton, the only option will be Ryan Lindley, a rookie drafted in the sixth round out of San Diego State. Lindley has never taken an NFL regular-season snap.

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Capitals re-sign Madison Bowey leaving Tom Wilson the lone remaining RFA

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Capitals re-sign Madison Bowey leaving Tom Wilson the lone remaining RFA

Defenseman Madison Bowey re-signed with the Capitals on Thursday, inking a two-year extension that will carry an average of $1 million.

Bowey carried a cap charge of $703,333 last season.

The 23-year-old appeared in 51 games for the Caps in 2017-18, amassing 12 assists, 24 penalty minutes and a plus/minus rating of minus-3.

Bowey also suited up in nine contests for AHL Hershey, though he finished the season as one of the Black Aces during Washington's run to the Stanley Cup.

With Bowey back in the fold, the Caps now have six of seven defenseman from last season’s roster under contract. (Veteran Brooks Orpik remains an unrestricted free agent.)

Bowey had an uneven first year in the NHL—he didn’t play following the late-February addition of Michal Kempny—but the Caps expect that the 6-2, 198-pound right-shot blue liner will become reliable full-time player with more seasoning.

Bowey’s deal leaves Tom Wilson as the Caps' only remaining unsigned restricted free agent. The sides are in discussions on a multi-year extension.

Including Bowey’s extension, the Caps have roughly $7.3 million in salary cap space remaining, according to www.capfriendly.com.

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Carmelo Anthony traded to Hawks, who will buy him out, in three-team deal involving Dennis Schroder

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Carmelo Anthony traded to Hawks, who will buy him out, in three-team deal involving Dennis Schroder

The stage has been set for Carmelo Anthony to hit free agency, as the 10-time All-Star was traded to the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday in a three-team deal, one that will lead to a subsequent buyout of his contract. ESPN first reported the news and noted that the Rockets are the favorites to sign him.

The full deal sends Dennis Schroder from the Hawks to the Thunder in exchange for Anthony and a protected first round pick, and sends Mike Muscala from Atlanta to Philly. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot will go to the Thunder from Phily and Justin Anderson will go from the Sixers to the Hawks.

That's a complicated deal, but it ultimately frees Anthony up to choose a new team. He was set to make $27.9 million from the Thunder next season, but the Hawks are footing the bill to let him walk.

Anthony's skills have declined now that he's 34 years old. Last season, he averaged 16.2 points on 40.4 percent shooting, way down from the 22.4 points he averaged the season before with the Knicks.

Still, Anthony could help a team looking for a scoring punch and the Rockets would like some more help in their quest to take down the Warriors. If he signs there, he will join friend Chris Paul and the 2017-18 MVP, James Harden. 

Houston has been the logical landing spot for Anthony ever since news broke that the Thunder were looking for a way out of his contract. If he doesn't go there, perhaps the Lakers would make sense. LeBron James is going to need a lot more help than the roster he currently has around him to make some noise in the crowded Western Conference.

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