Week 9 has come and gone, and all of us here at ROTB are in a much better mood than last week because of a special play by the remarkable Patrick Peterson. Now for my next few FanPosts I will be looking at each Arizona Cardinals starter giving them a grade on their performance so far this season. Each grade, however, won't be directly correlated to their statistics though. I will be looking at statistics, progression (or regression), ability to make plays when we need them, and just some of my own personal opinion on each player. So with out further ado here are my grades for:
Kevin Kolb, QB
First off, let me point out that i still believe in Kolb. While he hasn't wowed anyone with his play so far, i still believe he can be a good quarterback. If you want some evidence to support that claim, take a look at Steel34D's in-depth assessment of Kolb here and here. Simply put, we need to give Kolb more time to get comfortable and show us his true ability in this offense. However, i can't give Kolb a good grade because of potential. He just hasn't shown any consistent signs of improvement this year to warrant a good grade. Furthermore, he has had chances to win or tie games on late drives and has yet to do so (although this is not completely his fault).This coupled with high expectation of his play coming into this season,is what has caused Kolb's grade to fall.
Midseason Grade: C
Beanie Wells, RB
I will admit, coming into this season i had trepidation about Beanie having a pure #1 RB role on this team. This was not caused by my faith in Beanie's athletic ability; it was a reflection of my trust in Beanie's durability and ability to use his ability in a game. Needless to say, Beanie quickly put those fears to bed. Not only has he embraced his role as the teams #1 RB, but has excelled in it. He is 14th in the league in rushing yards, with 526, despite having a bye week and missing a game with an injury. He also is tied for 3rd in rushing touchdowns with 7, and all of his touchdowns came in the red zone. He has finally living up to his 1st round potential, and in doing so, has given the Cardinals a true goal-line threat. He has also shown his ability to play through injuries the past two weeks, although less effectively yesterday than we would have liked. Overall, I am very impressed with Beanie this year, but would like to see him stay healthy.
Midseason Grade: A-
Anthony Sherman, FB
I am a big fan of the Shermanator, or Sherman Tank, so far in his rookie season. I thought he may have been a bit of a reach in the 5th round as a fullback, but he has really shown his value. The Connecticut rookie has been a big reason why Beanie is having so much success (maybe part of the reason why Beanie was less effective against the Rams?). He has been able to open some big holes for Beanie, and IMO has improved each week. Obviously, could improve on his pass blocking, and sometimes misses his cut blocks. I would like so see him with the ball in his hands a bit more, so far he has no rushes but 5 catches for 51 yards. He will be a monster next year blocking for Beanie and Williams
Midseason Grade: B+
Larry Fitzgerald, WR
What else can be said about Fitz that hasn't already been said. Other teams have, at points, been able to shut down our offense simply by triple covering Fitz. He is tied for 7th in the league in receiving yards, 646, and has caught 3 touchdown passes. This may be the only negative that can be said about Fitz, that he hasn't scored as many touchdowns as he should. But, the fact that Beanie has 7 red zone touchdowns shows that Larry's receiving yards bring us into the red zone, and Beanie punches it in. Maybe we shoul
d criticize him for not being able to consistently get open against triple coverage? He is the focal point of our offense and is going to be here for a long time.
Midseason Grade: A+
Andre Roberts, WR
After seeing glimpses of Andre's ability last year, i had high hopes for Roberts coming in. He was forced into the #2 wide-receiver spot after Breaston left for a large sum of money in Kansas City. Put bluntly, Roberts has been a big disappointment, with only 188 yards as a #2 wide-receiver. Some of his struggles can likely be attributed to a lack of chemistry with Kolb (Roberts had a fairly good game with John Skelton at quarterback). In my opinion, Roberts has two major problems so far this season; he either can't beat the coverage to get open, or when he does get open he drops the ball. Hopefully his game against the Rams shows a turning point and he can salvage this season, but so far he hasn't produced.
Midseason Grade: D
Early Doucet, WR
When Anquan Boldin was traded to Baltimore, i was optimistic that Early could become a poor-man's Boldin. He has all the tools to become that same type of possession receiver, but inconsistency has kept him lower on the depth chart. This season, however, Doucet seems to have made a big step forward. He has already surpassed his season high in receiving yards, with 437, and has become one of Kolb's favourite targets, he has a least two catches each game. I believe if we can find or develop a true #2 receiver, Early Doucet could be one of the most effective slot receivers in the NFL. Early is not there yet, but he is showing definitive signs of improvement this season.
Midseason Grade: B+
Our offense definitely has some serious talent in the skill positions, with some very high grades being passed around. However, all that this goes to show is how important good quarterback play is to have an effective offense. If Kolb can progress like i think he will, it will only further extenuate our skill positions. Obviously this is just ones mans opinion. What do you guys think of these grades? How would you grade our players performance so far?