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OFFENSE (OVERALL): D+
TEACHER COMMENTS: While the team has not been good offensively, parents/fans have much to look forward to next season with the promise that has been shown. However, the Candinals clearly need to keep working here. DA was the benchmark of failure last season, when the Cards were 31st in offense, scoring 18 points per game. This year, the cards managed 19 points per game (25th). So there- improvement. At least our passing game has improved in terms of yardage- to 17th. We also had 30 turnovers this season. The lone bright spot, IMHO, has been the Cards ability to score TDs in the Red Zone this season.
QB PLAY: D
TEACHER COMMENTS: Last year, DA was the dog, and now fans are optimistic about next year. Looking at the stats, it's hard to know why. DA threw for 7 TDs and 10 INTs, and averaged 172 YPG, with a rating of roughly 66. This year, the Cards can boast the 32nd best QB in the league in Skelton, who (with 1 game to play) has 10 TDs, 13 INTs, and a rating of 68. At least he threw for 238 YPG. Kolb had a rating of 81, but only threw for 9 TDs with 8 INTs (217 YPG). He was also sacked 30 times in just 8 starts (many were his fault). If not for Skelton's ability for late game heroics, Cardinals fans would be looking for the nearest ledge on New Year's Eve. Kolb also lacked the ability to seal wins or perform in clutch situations. I only remember running the victory formation twice all season. It's a miracle we've got a chance to go 8-8. More than anything, the optimism is due to starting 1-6, and then not sucking so terribly. Do these QBs have the "it" factor? We'll find out! Good god I hope so.
RUNNING BACKS: C+
TEACHER COMMENTS: Marked improvement in the running game compared to last year. Beanie ran for over 1K yards. Unfortunately, that was the lone bright spot for that part of the game. The Cards still can't average 100 yards/game, and rank only 25th in Rushing offense.
TEACHER COMMENTS: Fizgerald. That's about it. The Cardinals rank 15th in receiving, and Fitz can breathe a sigh of relief after a horrible 2010. The TE position has been in constant flux. Doucet started the season well, but cost us dearly with untimely drops and "Angels-in-the-Outfield"-like unexplainable falls. It probably took us 9 games before we ran a screen pass for more than a 6 yard loss.
TEACHER COMMENTS: They gave up 52 sacks this year- 30 to Kolb (2ND). While those numbers ARE TERRIBLE, if Kolb plays the whole season, I'm guessing that number goes to 60. Still, the running game was much improved, and there were fewer missed assignments than I remember in past years. So I see some progress. Or, at least after a few beers I do.
DEFENSE (OVERALL): B-
TEACHER COMMENTS: The defense has looked great over the second half of the season, making up for the big, fat D it was working towards at the midterm. A big shortfall for the defense was the inability to get takeaways- only 18 for the season (-12 for the team). Several of those came on special teams play. Still, the defense played well enough to keep us in every game (except vs. Pittsburgh and (gasp) Minnesota).
PASS DEFENSE: C+
TEACHER COMMENTS: Patrick Petersen the first 4-5 games: F. After : B+. Injury really decimated the corners. Adrian Wilson was a beast as usual. They were near the top of the league in passes defended. However, only 9 picks. Only 3 teams had fewer, and 2 were Indianapolis and Minnesota.
TEACHER COMMENTS: Great job finishing tackles this year. Better than average against the run. Great on 3rd down stops. Even better down the stretch.
SPECIAL TEAMS: A+
TEACHER COMMENTS: Excellent season. I can't remember a year where the special teams were so good in all facets of the game. Yes, the kicking game was off this year, but we had only 24 FG attempts. Not much else has to be said- The return game and special teams defense was superb. Good work!
TEACHER COMMENTS: Questionable play-calling all season. A few poor personnel decisions. Slowly but surely, however, the coaching staff was able to adapt and helped turn the season around. They could have an "A" with a little more effort (i.e., getting into the playoffs).
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