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Patriots preparing to face either John Skelton or Kevin Kolb

09.12.12 at 5:02 pm ET
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Which quarterback will start for the Cardinals Sunday? (AP)

FOXBORO — John Skelton or Kevin Kolb?

That’s a question that’s been asked around Arizona plenty as the team has tried to find a franchise signal-caller over the last two seasons, but this week it’s a question for the Patriots as they wonder which quarterback they’ll face.

The Cardinals gave up a boatload to get Kolb prior to last season, but various injuries caused him to miss eight games in the 2011-12 season. Skelton, a fifth-round pick out of Fordham in the 2011 draft, went 6-2 as a starter in his place last year and won the starting job entering this season, but an ankle sprain forced him out of the season-opener. With Skelton out of the game, Kolb came in and threw the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter to lead Arizona to a 20-16 win over the Seahawks.

It’s unknown whether Skelton will be good to go for Sunday, and coach Ken Whisenhunt hasn’t definitively said that Skelton will keep the No. 1 job. Asked about the decision-making process for the quarterback position Wednesday, Whisenhunt didn’t say anything concrete.

“We still have a few days until the game,” he said on a conference call. “A lot of [what we do] is going to depend on how John’s ankle as it’s improving, continues to improve. We feel very fortunate that it was just an ankle sprain and a low ankle sprain at that. And he’s getting better quickly so we feel very lucky about that.”

While Kolb certainly has a higher pedigree as a second-round pick (albeit a bit of a surprise second-round pick) of the Eagles back in 2007, neither he nor the then-rookie Skelton dazzled despite the fact that the team won seven of its last nine games last season. Kolb was 146-for-253 for 1,955 yards with nine touchdowns, eight interceptions and seven fumbles the eight games in which he played, while Skelton completed 151 of 275 passes for 1,913 yards with 11 touchdowns, 14 picks and one fumble.

Whichever quarterback is under center, Bill Belichick and the Patriots hope to be ready.

“I think their skill sets are a little bit different, but the offense is the same,” Belichick said Wednesday. “Certainly when Kolb came in last week, they didn’t change their offense. They continued to do what they do, so we have to defend the other 10 guys as well as the quarterback. It’s just more of an awareness of which guy’s in there and knowing his skills. It’s like when they have different running backs, whether it’s [Ryan] Williams or [Beanie] Wells or whoever it is, it’s still the same plays.”

Added Belichick: “They’re both good players and they’ve won with both players,” Belichick said. “We’ll have to be ready for whoever they put in there. We can’t control that.”

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