A one-point loss to the Redskins was a tough pill to swallow for the Arizona Cardinals, and I immediately turned off my TV after a replay showed the ball loosen from Chansi Stuckey's grasp. So what do we take away from the loss? Is Ken Whisenhunt's job at stake? No. It's very early in the season and the problems the Cardinals have faced can still be fixed. I will say that I couldn't agree with many of the decisions that were made yesterday.
For starters, why did the offense abandon the spread formation and Beanie Wells-draw after it was so successful at one point? The Redskins secondary was depleted and nothing else was working. I don't know all of the details and for all we know the Redskins could have been showing something that Whisenhunt didn't like. But after the Wells touchdown drive, the Cardinals appeared to have the momentum in their favor.
Those arguing that the Cardinals should have ran the ball more need to re-watch the first half of the game. Wells couldn't get moving. He carried the ball 3 times for 6 yards. It wasn't until the Cardinals ran the aforementioned spread offense in the third quarter that Beanie was productive on the ground. At that point however, the Cardinals were in a shoot out and stuck to the pass in the fourth quarter. The Redskins massive time of possession advantage also took the ball out of the Cardinals hands.
The defense was ridiculous. And I'm not saying individual players were, if that makes sense. But far too often Ray Horton's blitz-schemes became repetitive and predictable. He sent the defense after Grossman all day and walked away with 1 sack while leaving the secondary out to dry. And about that secondary... They made a slight improvement from the week before -- picking off two of Grossman's passes -- but they were out of position on both of his touchdown passes. The fourth-down touchdown to Santana Moss was agonizing to watch. The only thing I can say was that the defense stuck to the bend-but-don't-break motto. I was surprised that Washington was able to move the ball downfield several times in the first half but couldn't take advantage in the red zone(they were 2-7 for the day).
If Clancy Pendergast's and Bill Davis' job losses tell us anything, it's that we won't see a change at defensive coordinator this season. Some may feel I'm out of line, but Horton preached big things from this defense during the offseason. With the talent strung along the unit(Adrian Wilson, Kerry Rhodes, Darnell Dockett, Calais Campbell, Daryl Washington) this unit should be way better. For some reason, in Whisenhunt's time as head coach, the coordinators have been unable to utilize the talent along the defense.
Despite continued piss-poor protection, Kevin Kolb looked pretty damn good. The Redskins were able to consistently pressure Kolb and for the most part, he got the ball out of his hands. The interception was a poor decision on his part. The fumble could have been worse had Sendlein not caught the ball, but correct me if wrong here -- why was Beanie blocking Brian Orakpo on that play? That was a protection scheme-fail on the coaches part. Either way, the bomb to Fitzgerald was perfectly thrown and timed with a defender closing in on him. Kolb may be the only reason the Cardinals remain in the division hunt this year.
The Redskins converted FIVE first downs off of Cardinals penalties on Sunday. :::shakes head:::
After two games, the defense is ranked the following: 343 passing yards allowed(28th), 123 rushing yards allowed(22nd), 21.5 points allowed per game(11th), 0 ratio on giveaways/takeaways, 5 sacks(12th), and a 92.3 opponents passer rating(16th).
At his pace, Kolb is projected to finish the season with 4,480 passing yards, 32 passing touchdowns, and 16 interceptions. He'd also be on pace for 40 sacks.
Beanie Wells is on pace for 1,464 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns, while Fitzgerald is on pace for 1,560 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns.
The defensive lineman and outside linebackers have recorded just .5 of a sack(O'Brien Schofield) this year. Ouch.
The Cowboys did us all favor by evening out the 49ers record yesterday. The Rams are playing tonight and quite frankly, they'll probably lose that game with the injuries they've recently faced. A two-way tie atop the division is the best case scenario for the Cardinals at this point.
The Cardinals head to Seattle next Sunday in a very winnable game regardless of what you want to say about it being a division foe on the road. Seattle sucks -- point blank. I'm deflated now but I'm sure by Friday I'll be pumped for more Cardinals-football.