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John Skelton will start next Arizona Cardinals game

Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said his quarterback competition is not over. His actions tell a different story.

John Skelton will start the Cardinals' fourth preseason game against the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night. Whisenhunt points out that it's simply Skelton's turn in the rotation. He said that Skelton's time was limited during the last preseason game because he didn't want to expose him behind Arizona's backup offensive line. Logic tells a different story.

If Kevin Kolb still had a good chance to be the Cardinals' starter, Whisenhunt would get him as much work as possible with the starting unit. He would change the rotation. If the battle still still raging, Whisenhunt would have played Skelton for more than three completions and one very brief touchdown drive last week.

The only conclusion to make: Whisenhunt has seen enough.

He gave rookie Ryan Lindley the entire second half, which made us at least wonder if he wanted to evaluate Lindley as the potential No. 2 quarterback. (In that unlikely scenario, Kolb would be cut or traded.)

"I think I'll have to give John some extended time this week," Whisenhunt told reporters Sunday, via the Arizona Republic.

This is the "dress rehearsal" week. This is closest thing we'll see to a real game in the preseason. Kolb will start the game on the sideline. Although Kolb arguably has been protected worse than Skelton, he's also slower to make decisions. He's quicker to leave the pocket. He doesn't see the pressure coming.

When things go bad for Kolb, they completely collapse.

"Some of it I will say a couple of times, Kevin's got to get the ball out. But to be perfectly honest with you, our protection has broken down a couple of times," Whisenhunt said.

Whisenhunt may not be ready to name a starter before Thursday's game, but it would be stunning if Skelton is not the pick.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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