GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 11: Cornerback Patrick Peterson #21 of the Arizona Cardinals before the NFL game against the San Francisco 49ers at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 11, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the 49ers 21-19. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
I was pleased to be joined by Jess Root from Revenge of the Birds, our Arizona Cardinals affiliate, to preview Sunday's game. Jess talked about who will start at quarterback for the Cardinals, how Patrick Peterson has done as a cornerback, what punter Dave Zastudil has been doing, and more.
Chris: "This season, Kevin Kolb was acquired to be the starter, yet backup quarterback John Skelton basically has a 4-1 record. Is there any clear indication as to who will start against Cleveland? Is the fanbase firmly behind Kolb, or are they calling for Skelton to stay in there?"
Jess: "As of now, because Kolb has been limited in practice all week because of his head injury, it looks more and more like John Skelton will start. As for the fans, there is a big split. They see the wins with Skelton and also see the struggles of Kolb and think that Skelton is the guy. Then others see how bad Skelton has looked and realize that the defense and special teams play with him at the helm has been phenomenal."
Chris: "Former Browns punter Dave Zastudil has been your punter all season long. How has he been doing?"
Kevin: "He has been okay. He does do longer kicks better than the guy he replaced, Ben Graham, which is why Graham was let go. The one thing Arizona was never able to do was flip field position on a kick. Zastudil has been able to do that more often. He has been far from stellar, but he hasn't been bad."
Chris: "Many Browns fans were dying to acquire Patrick Peterson in the draft, but Arizona took him first. We've seen the outstanding job he has done on punt returns, but how would you describe his performance as a cornerback so far?"
Kevin: "He has been a work in progress. He has looked ok, great and bad all season. One thing is for sure is that he is improving. He doesn't get beat long now, but he sometimes tackles poorly underneath. In all, he looks like, at his current rate of improvement, to be able to become a very, very good corner."
Chris: "Arizona's recent surge has given them a chance at sneaking into the playoffs as a wildcard, especially with Detroit's tough schedule coming up. Do fans believe the postseason is within reach, or has the fanbase basically ruled that possibility out due to all of the things that would have to go in the Cardinals' favor?"
Kevin: "Since fans wrote them off already, the feeling is one of sheer happiness that they are in the mix. No one expects them to get in, but a lot have jumped on the bus of "it might just happen." I'm on that bus. We won't be too disappointed if the Cards don't make it, but more and more think there is a shot (and there is!)."
Chris: "Browns fans are also familiar with tight end Todd Heap from facing him in Baltimore for so many years. Heap just came back from an injury, if I understand correctly. Do you expect him to be involved in the offensive gameplan this Sunday?"
Kevin: "Heap has been a huge disappointment because he just has not been able to stay on the field. He played more last week, but was a non-factor in the passing game. He is in the gameplan, but the issue is that the quarterbacks have struggled all year being able to hit the seam route with either Heap or rookie Rob Housler. They just keep missing them. Any contribution at this point would be considered awesome."
Once again, I'd like to thank Jess for taking the time to answer my questions.