Redskins

Skelton back at starting QB for Arizona Cardinals

Skelton back at starting QB for Arizona Cardinals

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) Arizona's John Skelton will be back at starting quarterback when the Cardinals play the Seahawks on Sunday in Seattle.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt, whose team is mired in an eight-game losing streak, announced after Wednesday's practice that he would replace rookie Ryan Lindley after two starts.

He said the environment the Cardinals will face in Seattle, where the crowd is among the loudest in the NFL and the conditions are likely to be cold and wet, was ``one of many factors'' in his decision. Plus, the Seahawks have one of the NFL's best defenses.

``There's a number of reasons that we're making this decision,'' Whisenhunt said. ``I'm not going to get into each one of these reasons, but that's the direction we're going.''

Skelton called it ``another opportunity.''

``You can't take any opportunity for granted,'' he said. ``If it comes at the beginning of the season, the end of the season, when you're losing, when you're winning, you've just got to take advantage of every opportunity you get.''

Skelton, a third-year pro from Fordham, beat out Kevin Kolb for the starting job in preseason, then went down late in the opener against Seattle with an ankle injury. Kolb came on to direct the winning touchdown drive against the Seahawks and helped the team get off to a 4-0 start.

When Kolb went out with a rib injury against Buffalo, Skelton came on and started the next four games before being benched in favor of Lindley after completing 2 of 7 passes and missing a wide-open Larry Fitzgerald in the end zone early against Atlanta three weeks ago.

With Lindley making his second NFL start, the Cardinals had one of their worst offensive performances in franchise history in a 7-6 loss at the New York Jets last Sunday. Arizona tied a franchise record with five first downs and was 0 for 15 on third-down conversions. Lindley completed 10 of 31 passes for 72 yards and an interception.

The Cardinals gained 22 yards in the second half, but Whisenhunt chose to stick with Lindley rather than go back to Skelton during the game, a decision he reversed this week.

``I've been ready to go ever since coming out of the Atlanta game, had anything happened in that game, or leading up to where we are now, I've been ready the entire time,'' Skelton said. ``Whether they came to me or not, I was always going to be ready.''

Skelton called the experience of the past few weeks ``humbling.''

``You've always got to take the good with the bad,'' he said. ``You can never let yourself get too high or too low. I think me being kind of even-keeled helps the situation. I don't let myself worry about it too much. I know that it's part of the game. The whole process, Anything on the field, off the field, is all a learning process. You've got to take it in stride.''

Asked if he was even-keeled even in the aftermath of the switch to Lindley, Skelton said, ``I think about as much as I could have been, all things considered. It's frustrating and everything but I don't think I ever let my attitude get the better of me.''

Lindley, a sixth-round draft pick out of San Diego State, said he understood and respected the decision.

``When you don't perform like that, you don't have much ground to argue on,'' he said. ``I didn't play to where I think I'm capable. John's going to step up and do his thing. I'm going to go to work and be the backup and be there if they need me.''

Lindley said he was not losing confidence.

``It was an off day, a perfect storm the way things happened,'' he said. ``It was a rough one but you've got to move on and pick up from there.''

He said there were two ways he could react to what has happened.

``You can let it eat you up or you can learn from this,'' Lindley said. ``I'm going to learn from this and move on.''

Kolb has missed six games and did not sound optimistic, acknowledging that his condition had not improved over the past two weeks as he practiced on a limited basis.

``When I really push it in the weight room, when I really try to push the ball downfield, that's whenever I'm kind of hitting that wall,'' he said.

Kolb said that cartilage pieces tore from the upper part of his rib cage and have not returned to their natural position as the injury healed.

``They're laying underneath my sternum now, so that's how they're trying to heal,'' he said. ``Rather than healing where they're butted up straight against it like a normal cracked rib or cracked cartilage when they're flush with each other, mine are laid underneath there. So that's kind of what extends the process.''

Kolb said he couldn't answer whether he will play again this season but said he's got to keep pushing ``for myself, for my sanity.''

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Need to Know: A good sign for the Redskins’ running game?

Need to Know: A good sign for the Redskins’ running game?

Here is what you need to know on Sunday, August 19, five days before the Washington Redskins host the Broncos in their third preseason game. 

Talking points

A year ago, there was tremendous concern about the Redskins’ rushing game. In their first two preseason games in 2017 when the games were the Redskins’ first-team offense against the other team’s starters on defense, Washington gained 13 yards on 13 carries. In the first halves of those games, which were played mostly with players on both sides who would end up making the roster the total was 21 attempts for 20 yards. 

At the time, the company line was to downplay the problems. 

“I’m just not worried,” said Trent Williams.

“It’s going to take time and it’s going to take plus-one, plus-two, negative-one, then you get a plus-eight. And things to pop. It’s attrition. Nothing’s going to happen just because you want it to.”

As we now know, the Redskins rushing game never really got going. Certainly, injuries to backs Rob Kelley and Chris Thompson and to the entire offensive line contributed heavily to their No. 27 ranking in rushing yards. But a look at the preseason could indicate that the building blocks for an effective rushing game just weren’t in place. 

Things are looking better this year. In two preseason games, the Redskins have rushed for 216 yards. In the first halves of the games, they have 31 attempts for 109 yards. That’s not a great average (3.5 yards per carry) but it is a vast improvement on the sub-one yard per carrying average they had through two games last year. 

Let’s not get carried away here. Preseason numbers aren’t rock-solid indicators by any stretch and even if they were we are looking at a small sample size. Still, the preseason stats are what we have to look at right now. We will see how things develop.  

Bureau of statistics

In 2017 the Redskins averaged 123 rushing yards per game in their first five games. In their last 11 games, they averaged 76 per game. 

On the record

Jay Gruden on the returns of RBs Byron Marshall and Samaje Perine from ankle injuries: "There are no reports really, we'll just wait and see. Every injury is different, and we'll play it by ear and see how long it takes . . . The injury report will come out Week 1 on - when is it, Wednesday? And there you have it."

Comment: Yes, this really was Gruden and not Bill Belichick. The whole organization has been tighter with injury information in general this year. We’re getting a lot of descriptions like “lower leg” rather than ankle or toe. If that’s the way they want to do business that’s fine but be advised as a fan that you are not going to get much information. 

The agenda

Today: Practice at Redskins Park 1:50; Jay Gruden news conference and player availability after practice, approx. 3:00

Upcoming: Preseason Broncos @ Redskins (Aug. 24) 5 days; Final cut (Sept. 1) 13 days; Season opener @ Cardinals (Sept. 9) 21 days

In case you missed it

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page,Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler

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After releasing Martez Carter the Redskins are thin at running back

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Associated Press

After releasing Martez Carter the Redskins are thin at running back

The Redskins are very thin at running back right now. 

Today at practice the Redskins had three running backs on the field. Rob Kelley and Kapri Bibbs are fully healthy while Chris Thompson is limited as he recovers from a broken leg he suffered last November. 

Injuries have hit the depth at running back. The most recent casualty was Martez Carter, who was waived with an injury designation. 

The move was surprising since Carter had some good runs against the Jets during their preseason game on Thursday and he did not appear to be injured during the game. 

Coach Jay Gruden did not offer any more details as to what the injury to Carter was, only that he is no longer with the team. 

Also sidelined with lower leg injuries are Samaje Perine and Byron Marshall. According to media reports, Perine will be out one week and Marshall for two to four. Gruden would not confirm the timelines, saying only that they are undergoing treatment and the timetable for their returns in unknown. 

The Redskins will bring in some running backs to try out on Sunday. They will need at least one and probably two in order to get through the upcoming preseason game against the Broncos on Friday. 

In other personnel moves, the Redskins waived linebacker Jeff Knox and defensive end Jalen Wilkerson and signed offensive tackle Kendall Calhoun, defensive back Darius Hillary, and wide receiver Allenzae Staggers. 

More Redskins news

-Redskins vs Jets: Must-see photos from the game
-AnalysisFive Redskins-Jets observations

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler