Redskins

In final week, Cardinals have QB issues, as usual

201212231816657965111-p2.jpeg

In final week, Cardinals have QB issues, as usual

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.''

Quarterback will be near the top of the to-do list when the season is over, and just who is in charge of that list is an open question. Cardinals President Michael Bidwill says he will assess the situation after the final game to determine if Whisenhunt comes back for the last year of his contract. General manager Rod Graves also might be gone. If Whisenhunt stays, some of his assistants almost certainly won't.

Kolb, plagued by injuries in his two seasons in Arizona, probably would have to take a pay cut to return.

Running back is another issue.

Will the Cardinals stick with Beanie Wells one more time? Plagued by injuries much of his pro career, Wells handed the Bears their first touchdown when he slid to his backside near the Arizona goal line and dropped the ball although no one had touched him. Zack Bowman gathered it and lunged across the goal line for the score.

Wells barely played after that, although he said he wasn't hurt. His gained 3 yards, helping to cement Arizona's status as the worst running team in pro football.

Whisenhunt agreed with the characterization it was a ``strange'' play by Wells.

``If you have the ball, that's your responsibility. You can't turn it over. I don't care who you are. I don't care what position you play,'' Whisenhunt said. ``In the NFL, if you turn the ball over, you're not going to play. That's the way it goes. That's been through history. There have been guys who have been good players that couldn't hold on to the football.''

It would be helpful if Arizona could ease out of its season against a team that had secured all it could and might be resting some of its best players. The 49ers' loss in Seattle ruined that.

Now safety Kerry Rhodes said the Cardinals could be in for an embarrassing afternoon if they just go through the motions to get the season finally over.

``You'd better come ready to play. You'd better be prepared,'' he said, ``or it could be another Seattle episode.''

The score of that one just two weeks ago, should anyone have forgotten, was Seattle 58, Arizona 0, the most one-sided loss in Cardinals history.

---

Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

---

Follow Bob Baum at www.twitter.com/Thebaumerphx

Quick Links

Josh Norman wants to play 'early Santa,' will give away Redskins tickets

Josh Norman wants to play 'early Santa,' will give away Redskins tickets

Josh Norman caused quite a stir with his comments Sunday about the atmosphere at FedEx Field, and the Redskins cornerback made it clear he plans to do his part in making sure the stadium is packed for Sunday's game against the Texans. 

Norman told reporters Thursday he's going to be giving away "40 or 50" free tickets for the Houston game, online and perhaps even in person.

"Yes, I will be giving out free tickets," he said. "I'll be doing it on my socials as well, I think I'll probably post tonight or something about it."

"Who knows, you may see me coming out and being an early Santa somewhere in the mall or something, just handing out tickets."

And if you are one of the lucky fans who gets a ticket from "Santa Norman," he has specific instructions on how you should behave at Sunday's game:

"Whoever get(s) them, we want them loud and just obnoxious. Just really obnoxious."

Norman joins several Redskins players who have promised to give away tickets to the Texans game.

It may be November, but the Christmas spirit is alive and well at Redskins Park. 

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

Quick Links

Who is Mike Elias?

usatsi_11324196.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Who is Mike Elias?

Where to begin after a team loses 115 games? That’s the main question settling into Mike Elias’ future when he takes over the Baltimore Orioles' beached ship.

Multiple reports have pegged Elias as the Orioles new general manager. He’s yet another front office member of the Houston Astros to be plucked by an outside organization for a larger role. He’s young, comes from an analytics-fueled front office and walks into a job where there only seems to be one direction to go following last season. 

Elias also has local ties. The 36-year-old is a graduate of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria. He went to Yale where he worked four seasons as a left-handed pitcher. Elias jumped into scouting for the St. Louis Cardinals directly after graduation.

Similar to Nationals manager Mike Rizzo, Elias moved up from a scouting baseline to a prominent decision-maker in the front office. Elias was ported from St. Louis to Houston when the Astros hired Jeff Luhnow to become general manager in 2011. The duo, and rest of the front office took over a team that was about to embark on three consecutive seasons with 100 losses or more. The organization became notable around the league for its fervent reworking of approach and willingness to absorb losses to vault to the top of the annual draft.

In 2012, the Astros selected Carlos Correa No. 1 overall. Elias, then a special assistant to the general manager, has received a large amount of the credit for taking a shortstop who became Rookie of the Year and an All-Star. Nine of the Astros’ 14 selections that year made it to the major leagues. Not all with the Astros. Not all with a large degree of success. But, they made it.

Houston selected burgeoning All-Star Alex Bregman with the No. 2 overall pick in 2015. 

However, the Astros’ high-end draft history wasn’t perfect with Luhnow and Elias in place. They selected Stanford starter Mark Appel with the No. 1 overall pick in 2013. Just 27, he is out of baseball after never making it past Triple A. The Astros took Brady Aiken with the top overall pick in 2014. He never signed. 

Yet, the organization continued to turn. Bregman developed into a star. Jose Altuve won the MVP award, Lance McCullers, also part of the 2012 class, became an All-Star. Four years after Luhnow arrived to reverse the organization’s course, the Astros had a winning season and reached the postseason. Two years later they won the World Series.

Hiring Elias signals the Orioles, long viewed as one of the stodgier organizations in baseball, are shifting to the modern era. Baltimore was known more for its reticence to embrace analytics as opposed to its use of the information. The move may also calm the ongoing rotation of the front office bosses. Elias will be the organization’s fourth general manager since the Nationals started playing baseball again in the District in 2005. 

Among Elias’ initial tasks is finding a new manager. The Orioles fired Buck Showalter after 8 ½ seasons. Three of them led to the postseason. But, the mess of last season forced a change.

They also need to hit in the draft. The Orioles hold the 2019 top overall pick.

Elias will try to conjure a way to resuscitate the Orioles while fighting the expansive cash flow of the New York Yankees and World Series champion Boston Red Sox within the division. 

He’s been part of turnarounds before. This one would fully be in his hands.