SANTA CLARA -- Kevin Kolb's name came up a lot in offseason speculation for three NFC West teams.The St. Louis Rams' quarterback situation was set with Sam Bradford, but the 49ers, Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks were viewed by many as logical landing spots for Kolb.As it turned out, the Cardinals wanted him badly, and acquired Kolb from the Philadelphia Eagles shortly after the lockout lifted.After losing six games in a row with Kolb at the controls, the Cardinals are on a two-game win streak . . . with second-year player John Skelton as the quarterback. And Skelton will likely be at quarterback when the Cardinals visit the 49ers on Sunday.
Kolb has missed the past two games with a toe injury, and has not been cleared to practice, Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said Wednesday in a conference call with Bay Area reporters. So Whisenhunt wanted no part in discussing the possibility Skelton might be the better option even when Kolb is healthy."Kevin hasn't been cleared to play, and he's only limited in practice. So there's no point, really, to even talk about this," Whisenhunt said. "I understand the interest and all the questions, but John has done exactly what we asked him to do, which was come in and play. Until we have a situation where we face that, there's no point in talking about that."The Cardinals acquired Kolb in a trade from the Eagles for cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second-round draft pick. Arizona then awarded Kolb a five-year, 63 million extension. So the organization has invested heavily in Kolb.
"The intention of getting Kevin was for our future going forward, so we could grow as a group with a young guy that we felt could play the position," Whisenhunt said. "And that's still the intent. I think it's very difficult when you don't have an offseason. You're in a new offense. You're asking him to do things that he hasn't done for you before. When you get only six weeks of preparation and preseason and putting him in where the real bullets fly, it's difficult."With the challenges that teams faced with the compressed offseason, Whisenhunt was asked if it was even more impressive what the 49ers (8-1) have accomplished this season with quarterback Alex Smith learning the new offense Jim Harbaugh brought with him."That's a fair statement," Whisenhunt said. "They're an impressive football team. I think they've had a number of guys who have been there together working for a couple years. I know it seems like we've seen a lot of those guys the last couple of years."Kudos to Alex. I think they're a very talented bunch, and they're well-coached. I think Coach Harbaugh has done a great job with those guys."