Here's a new series: The ROTB Roundtable. Ever week, the writing staff will be asked a few questions (2 or 3), and we'll post their answers. The questions will be related to what's going on in the Cardinals world, and what all the fan's are wondering.
So, read what they think, and don't forget to answer the questions yourself in the comments. Remember, you know as much as us (And possibly more).
1) After the last four games, can the Cardinals turn it around?
Jessesb: It's going to be tough not to go 1-6 with the Steelers at home and Baltimore away. Our home game could go south with many fans selling their tickets to Steeler fans. I'm not optimistic about the next two weeks, but I do have some hope because the Cards seems to win the ones their suppose to lose and lose the ones they are suppose to win.
CardsFan08: The Cardinals can definitely turn it around. They have a defense that is not great, but has proven that it can make adjustments as early as the 2nd Quarter and start limiting opponents ability to score. The half time adjustments have been admirable. They just need to change their mind set, play the young OLBs, and use the veterans on 3rd downs to be fresh legs and have veteran eyes to who can sniff out a play. If they're going to build a defense around pressure on the quarterback, they're not going to find it in their middle aged OLBs. The defense has shown that it can limit points, so the ability to win games is going to fall on the offense to actually score some points and limit turnovers. They have the building blocks in place, they just need to build protection schemes for Kolb to have time to throw and when the run is working, use it. It sounds simple and should have been obvious, but after four strait losses, I think the coaches are getting worried for their jobs and will be able to see the forest through the trees.
khodder: The next four weeks sees a very tough slate of games being put in front of the Arizona Cardinals, so in terms of wins and losses, maybe not, but in terms of overall performance, they can, and they should. It is the little things holding this team back, they need to play quality football on third downs, they are doing that defensively so far this season, but not on offense, sustain drives and you are going to score points. They need to begin to create turnovers defensively and limit their turnovers on offense, Kevin Kolb has been a major culprit so far this season, he needs to take care of the ball, and the secondary needs to start getting their hands on some errant passes. They need to execute in the redzone. Too many times this season the Cardinals have taken a drive deep into opposition territory only to come away without points, once you get inside the opponents 25, you should come away with at least 3 points all the time. If I had to pin point one person, Kevin Kolb needs to step his game up, stop turning the ball over, begin to make more accurate throws, and take advantage of the chances that are presenting themselves.
Tyler Nickel: They can, but it is going to take a drastic effort for them to make the playoffs at this point. The San Francisco 49ers are already 5-1 and they look to be the real deal. Arizona still has to play them twice and if they win both games, I don't see why the Cardinals wouldn't be able to put themselves right in the thick of things for a division title. That said, I don't know if this is their year.
JoeCB1991: Sure, before that debacle last week their first three losses were by a combined eight points. Most of the issues I think have been about Kolb not fully knowing the offense, and the Defense still learning a whole new playbook. I think that having Schofield and Acho move into the starting lineup and letting the rest of the team know that if you struggle you will be benched could help improve the play too. Have everyone fight for their jobs.
Jess: Considering the Cards still have five of their six divisional games left on the schedule, a turnaround is possible. The lead that the 49ers have is not ironclad. However, instead of looking at making the playoffs, it is important o get on some sort of roll, and I am almost certain this will happen. I don't think this group is like last year's group, even with a lot of the same personnel. Kevin Kolb is a fighter and so, while he may have ups and downs, I don't think he will struggle all year.
Question 2: Many fans are calling for Ken Whisenhunt to be fired. How short of a leash should he be on?
Jessesb: I like Coach Whiz and his style very much. I think he has made some big mistakes and has over valued certain talents (ie, Levi Brown and Joey Porter) but overall is a good coach. But its a performance driven league and if he can't get the team to produce than needs to go. I hope that he gets the ship righted.
CardsFan08: This will be controversial, but I believe many of the fans are jumping too quickly to fire Ken Whisenhunt. Some items that I'd like him to address though: Replace the Offensive Line Coach (that means you Grimm, pack your bags), get a new offensive coordinator who can actually plan an offense and make gutsy calls. Remember when the Cardinals were good? It was when Todd Haley was calling the plays, and the year after was when Warner was still calling Haley-ish plays at the line.
khodder: He needs to be given at least a season after the current season, if Whisenhunt does not survive this season all it shows is that the ownership and front office have not learned that to forge a winning team you need consistency in key areas. We fired a head coach the year after drafting an elite QB prospect, that did not work out so well, we had a veteran here for two and a half seasons before he was really given a shot, and he took us to within two minutes of a Superbowl title. Some subtle changes need to be made, on offense in particular, such as committing well and truly to the ground game, and working more short passes, three step drops into the offense to cover for the weakness of the offensive line. Patience is a virtue, and it is also an integral part of building a competitive football team in the long term.
Tyler: Let me first say that Coach Whiz will NOT be fired this season. Yes, if they finish with a subpar record, this will be the second year in a row that the Cardinals have fared poorly. After that, I think the leash will be pretty short. The owner, Michael Bidwill, invested quite a bit of money in this team through free agency and Kevin Kolb this past summer, so he is going to be looking for results. The off-season will probably consist of a chat between Whiz and Bidwill and they may put together a timeline and certain goals. If they are not met, then I think that is when Whiz might be on the hot seat.
JoeCB1991: Although we were optimistic about this season, the lockout and the new quarterback just messes up everything. I'm willing to give Whiz this as a down year just because of all the changes, but if the same struggles continue next season then yeah changes should be considered.
Jess: At this point, he has a leash. That's new. A couple of years ago, he was roaming free and had no problems. The leash is not and should not be short...yet. If things don't get turned around this season, the leash shortened. If next year is not good, he's done I think. He won't be fired before the end of the 2012 season simply because of his contract. He is signed through 2013. The team won't eat more than that last year...if even that.
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