Right now the Cardinals are rolling, but like always, each win brings up more questions. With two weeks left in the regular season, and the race for the Playoffs heating up, the ROTB writing staff attempts to answer three of the many questions surrounding the Cardinals.
Hit the jump for their answers, and don't forget to answer the questions yourself in the comments below.
1) It seems like this question is asked every week, but with another win by John Skelton, it needs to be brought up. How short is Kevin Kolb's leash now?
Jesse Reynolds: The leash is short in my mind only because Skelton has proved he is inconsistently consistent. He is bad/mediocre the first three quarters and great in the 4th and OT. Skelton missed a lot of throws this week but also made some big ones when it counted. I'm not sure my heart and the defense can continue this way forever.
Tyler Nickel: I think this question IS asked every week... Let me answer your question with a question. How can Kolb's leash be shorter if he hasn't been able to play?
CardsFan08: I like John Skelton, and I like watching him develop. I think for the remainder of this season it's the same mantra over and over: If Kolb is healthy he plays. It's the only way he'll get better. But, with that said I think this does open the door for a QB competition in the offseason to see who can win the reins with time to develop in the offense and with both players having around 8 games of playing experience it will be a true split time side by side comparison, with a winner takes all preseason battle.
JoeCB1991: I said before that neither QB has done enough to outright earn the job. Both of them have shown flashes but there is still too much inconsistency. I think that Kolb should start the last two games if he is healthy, and then the offseason will be very important for him with building chemistry with the receivers (part of what helps Skelton is being around Fitz longer, and Kolb has been surrounded by small and fast guys who can't do the same things as Fitz for most of his career for it will take more getting used to for him) and learning the offense. I am in favor of them competing for the job during Training Camp too.
Cdeveau: How short is Kolb's leash? An interesting question, one that I'll answer as a business man. Kolb can't have a short leash. The Cards invested heavily in Kolb, both in players/picks traded and salary. That being said, he has under-performed this season. Was it because of the lockout? Is it because he can't make the transition? Is it because he can't be healthy? I like some of the things I've seen from Kolb. I've also liked some of the things I've seen from John Skelton as well. Not to mention Skelton was a Whis draft pick, and is a larger, heavier guy who as we've seen sheds sacks and keeps the plays alive. At the same time, both QBs have shown me plenty I don't like. If Kolb is healthy, play him. Evaluate the position in training camp next year, and try and raise Kolb's trade value if they decide Skelton is the man.
Jess Root: Leash? I still don't think he has one. Skelton is playing well enough, but the last time Kolb played he was solid. You go with Kolb unless he is awful because Skelton has been a mixed bag, albeit a bag that comes through at the end. Kolb was, too, the last time he had to.
2) Many fans are saying that the offensive playcalling against the Browns was the worst all season. Is Mike Miller on the hot seat?
The play calling was pretty bad against the Browns. They got too cute in the redzone. Normally when the Cards are in the redzone I am very optimistic. The Cardinals have become a top 10 team in the redzone since Whisenhunt arrived in 2007. This week I was shocked we decided to run a few gimmick plays when the Browns have a terrible run defense and we have Beanie Wells
, a battering ram RB who excels in short yardage situations. The Browns are a tougher team then their record indicates though so maybe the Cardinals thought being cute was okay. It wasn't.
Tyler Nickel: The play-calling definitely wasn't up to standards against the browns, but I do not think that the one game justifies Mike Miller being on the hot seat. His position within the organization seems relatively safe.
CardsFan08: As I posted in the Bonehead play earlier in the week, I'm not a fan of the play calling against the Browns, but especially in the fourth quarter. Miller has the rest of the year to get things squared away and if he loses a game that keeps the Cardinals out of the postseason due to bad play calling I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't look elsewhere in the offseason.
He was coming off of a decent playcalling week against the 49ers
too. I have been unhappy with Miller for most of the year, I like how the offense has been more balanced than last year but the plays can be too predictable. I would like to see Haley come back if possible but if he can't Miller stays.
Cdeveau: Is Mike Miller on the hot seat for the offensive play calling? A solid question. I personally would like to see Todd Haley come back to the Cards fold, which displaces Miller. For the weapons the Cards have on the offensive side of the ball, the offense should be much more dynamic. I'm not speaking of trick plays, but I am speaking about changing the looks so that the personnel on the field doesn't give the defense any pre snap tips.
Jess Root: I doubt he is. We need to remember that Ken Whisenhunt has a big say in the game planning and playcalling prep. Miller calls the plays, at least most of them, but he is calling the plays that Whiz was agreeing to. Whisenhunt believes in letting his coordinators grow and develop. I don't expect any less, especially since it is his first year as an OC.
3) On Saturday, the Cardinals face a tough opponent in the Cincinnati Bengals. What/who will be the biggest factor in the game?
Jesse Reynolds: The Cardinals will be their own worst enemy. Away game on the east coast against a team that was surging but now falling. Cinci will be without AJ Green (which is too bad IMO because I was excited to see him and Peterson duke it out) which should slow their offense down. If the Cardinals starts slow again, on the road, it could be a rough day. If Kolb and the offense get to work quickly our defense should be able to handle Cincinnati.
Tyler Nickel: Whoever is playing at QB will easily be the biggest factor to me. The Cards have to travel east to face a tough opponent with a very skilled defense, so it will be up to Skelton/Kolb to deliver timely throws and keep the offense in a flow. If not the, the defense will be forced onto the field all too often and they will wear out over time. Beanie Wells definitely needs to get plenty of carries and be able to do something with them as well.
CardsFan08: Turnovers. The Cardinals have been able to get lucky and win even with negative turnovers, but the Bengals defense is good and will be tough enough to score against. The Bengals Offense has been playing very well and the Cardinals will need to return to their five sack weeks and earn some more turnovers to knock Andy Dalton off of his rhythm and keep the offense in the game, since it usually only shows up in the second half.
The play of both defenses is the main story for me, and I do think this will be another close defense dominated game. The Bengals do have some injuries including Leon Hall
who was their best corner but they are still very solid defensively. I also think our defense can get a better pass rush on Dalton who isn't as mobile as Seneca Wallace
. Both teams also rank in the bottom half of the league at forcing turnovers on Defense so it will be interesting to see how that works out.
Cdeveau: What will be the biggest factor this Sunday while facing the Cincinnati Bengals? A solid question. Both teams are wild card contenders. Both teams have nearly 1000 yards rushers in powerful backs. Both teams have managed over 3000 yards in the air. Bot receiving corps have a 1000 yards receiver, and the #2 and #3 receivers stats are also very similar. The defense for both teams is solid. This will be a game of limiting mistakes on both sides of the ball. Don't turn the ball over. Don't give up the big play. And pressure Andy Dalton.
Jess Root: Considering the success that the Bengals have had in passing the ball this season, the Arizona pass rush will need to step up and get pressure because if A.J. Green can play, he does the same thing to their offense that Larry Fitzgerald does for Arizona. He makes any pass catchable. If the front can't get consistent pressure, then Patrick Peterson will need to play well in coverage.
Don't forget to answer the questions below!