We come to the end of another season. This season offered highs, lows, and much more. We saw our defense grow before our very eyes, we saw our Special Teams rank as one of the best in the league yet again, and we saw our offense struggle again.
Coming into this season, we practically set ourselves up for disappointment. Sure no one would have thought that the Niners would go 13-3, and the Rams would be sitting at the bottom of the West. We thought Kevin Kolb would be our savior, and Ray Hortons defense would be dominant. The Defense came alive midway through the year, and we still don't know if Kolb is truly our savior.
Kevin Kolb played half the season, as did Skelton. Kolb went 2-6 in his games Skelton the opposite 6-2. Kolb had 9 TD's to his 8 INT's, Skelton with his 11 TD's and 14 INT's. I myself am a Kolb supporter, but with Skelton getting a full offseason of work, he should be able to work on his accuracy. We saw a great example of this during the Seattle game. Skelton escaped the pressure and had enough time to plant his feet and throw. Instead he threw it on the run. Kolb and Skelton should battle it out this offseason, but when Whizenhunt says they will, we know he means Kolb is the starter.
This year we saw Beanie Wells break 2 Franchise Records. One in the game against St. Louis, and one for the season, becoming the first Runningback in Arizona History to have 1000 yards and 10 TD's in a single season. We weren't able to evaluate our second round pick in Ricky Williams, when he suffered the knee injury in the Preseason game.
Larry Fitzgerald... What more is there to say? He had an amazing season this year with his 17.6 yards per catch, with 1400 yards. His TD total was low again this year but he came through in key moments. Early Doucet was having himself a good year until the transition from Kolb to Skelton was made. Then we had the emergence of Andre Roberts. We need our WR's to build a relationship with both QB's so that they're good no matter who is behind center.
Tight End Position:
After we had the big acquisition of Todd Heap, we thought we were set. Heap missed much of the season with multiple injuries, we were forced to keep Jim Dray who was a non factor this season as well. Jeff King was our best Tight End, both receiving and blocking. He is probably the best Free Agent Acquisition Arizona has had in recent year, with the exception of Kurt Warner. Rob Housler is an interesting prospect, he had a big catch and run against Seattle but fumbled at the end of the play. He's been missed several times on open plays that would have helped Arizona and those plays will come only with time.
Gotta love this guy huh? Anthony Sherman plowed the way for Beanie Wells to score 10 TD's and rush for 1000 yards. In the games that Sherman went down, Wells had lesser games. Sherman will only get better and hopefully next season he won't get banged up.
What is there to say? They were stellar in run blocking, but failed in pass protection. Cardidnals gave up 54 sacks this season. Many people are critical of Levi Brown but over the latter part of the season he played rather well. 2 sacks in 4 games, one was more of Skelton holding on to long, and the other was his fault by picking up the inside man, not the outside. Daryn Colledge was one of our more disappointing linemen this season. He made massive wholes in the run game, but couldn't quite hold up in pass protection.
Calais Campbell... ' Nough said. Racking up 7 sacks, a pick, several pass deflections, and 3 blocked Field Goals. We need to lock him up long term, but we will have him for one more season, as Darren Urban reports that if they can't get a contract done, they'll use the Franchise tag on him. Darnell Docket played well as well. Not racking up many sacks, but he showed he is a dangerous player, being double teamed on many plays allowing either Rookie Lineback Sam Acho get the sack, or Calais Campbell.
Daryl Washington, Sam Acho, O'Brien Schofield. These three guys are the future of Arizona. Daryl Washington is a beast in all aspects of the game, Acho is a sack machine, and Schofield seems to be coming around. Washington didn't have an offseason but he played lights out most of the season, and Schofield is getting a grasp of this defense. He and Acho will only get better with a full season, and an entire offseason.
Patrick Peterson had to learn on the job, as did AJ Jefferson. Peterson has grown in front of our eyes, getting the responsibility to cover the opposing teams main Wide Receiver, and doing a good job at it. Jefferson had an up and down season. Started off poorly, got benched, played his way back into the number 2 spot and did okay from there. Richard Marshall is a must Re-sign. He played well at FS while Kerry Rhodes was out. Having Greg Toler back in the lineup will definitely help out our Secondary.
Adrian Wilson making another Pro Bowl, Kerry Rhodes playing well while he was on the field, and a preview of Rashad Johnson. Our Safetys struggled early, giving up big plays for the first half of the season. Wilson turned the corner and has earned that Pro Bowl spot. Rhodes suffered an injury and we were able to see how Johnson has progressed. He showed he's a hard hitter and did well in coverage too.
Jay Feely was not the Feely of last year. We can blame his early struggles due to the transition from Graham to Zastudil. He used Graham much of the Preseason and Graham was unexpectedly released. He played well as of late, but his misses early on are what sent us to an 8-8 record, and not 10-6 or 11-5.
Zastudil did well for us. Many fans didn't like the change from Graham to Zastudil, but Zastudil dropped 24 punts inside the 20, 5 Touchbacks, and gave up 1 TD. Graham is certainly a better punter dropping punts in the 20, but Zastudil with the better leg, and I guess that's what Arizona was looking for.
Patrick Peterson tying the NFL Record 4 Punt Return TD's. Breaking the Rookie Single Season Punt Return Yards. This guy will be a great Punt Returner in the league, and may just surpass Devin Hester as the best Punt Returner in NFL history. Moving the Kickoff from the 30 to the 35, really hurt LSH. He was replaced as the KR by AJ Jefferson, and no one knows why.
Blocks: 5 blocked FG attempts lead the league again this year. Calais Campbell in the middle, Patrick Peterson off the outside. Nearly blocked several Punts as well. If Schofield doesn't do well as a OLB, he's certainly a solid player on special teams.
Give me your grades this year. Do you agree with me or not? And yes I know this is a rather long post.