One of the unknowns for the Falcons entering Sunday's game against the Cardinals is what QB they can expect to face.
They have an idea it will be third-year backup John Skelton, but Kevin Kolb may be available, as well. Kolb started the season with an injury and Skelton began Week 1 as the starter. Once Kolb was ready the following week, he stepped in until leaving Week 6's game with a shoulder and ribs injuries.
When Kolb has played, he's performed a little better than Skelton. This season he's got eight TDs and three interceptions to Skelton's two TDs and five INTs. Kolb did not practice for the Cardinals on Wednesday and it's looking like Skelton will get the start.
"He's done an excellent job since he's been in there," safety William Moore said. "They're coming off a bye week so I'm sure they've got all their bits and pieces all figured out. It's nothing new we haven't seen. Any team can be dangerous coming off the bye week when they've got time to plan stuff."
Atlanta will want to get pressure on whichever quarterback is under center, regardless of the name. The Cardinals have allowed 41 sacks this season, ranked last in the NFL. Rookie right tackle Bobbie Massie has started every game this season and rookie left tackle Nate Potter finished the Week 9 game and is slated to start as well.
Two rookie tackles protecting Skelton or Kolb looks like a favorable matchup for John Abraham, Kroy Biermann and the three young defensive ends hungry to rush the passer. Both QBs have a similar skillset with slight differences.
"I think they're both pocket passers whereas Kolb is a little bit more mobile than Skelton," safety Thomas DeCoud said. "Skelton is a bigger body, taller guy that can stand in the pocket and deliver the ball. Kolb has the ability to extend plays even though he will stay in the pocket."
The game plan from Mike Nolan isn't expected to change much depending on who lines up at QB. Both Skelton and Kolb run the same scheme and that's what the Falcons are preparing for. Atlanta is approaching Sunday with a mentality they've employed for much of the season. Regardless of the opponent or caliber of opposing QB, they want to play their game and force offenses to adjust to what they're doing.
"It really doesn't matter who is back there taking snaps, we just have to know it's all about us," DeCoud said. "I know you've heard this a million times from everybody on this team, but it really is about us and what we need to do and how we need to execute on Sunday."