Going into Sunday's game against the Buccaneers, there wasn't a lot of reason to have high expectations. Tampa Bay is having a very good season, thanks in no small part to the efforts of Jeff Garcia, and the team's defense is vastly improved from last season's debacle.
Arizona, meanwhile, hasn't flashed much brilliance this season, and almost none as of late. Kurt Warner doesn't look good in the pocket -- maybe the dual-quarterbacking scheme
would have the Cardinals in better position to win -- and since his injury he hasn't posted a good game. He's throwing costly interceptions and his completion percentage is down.
Of course, there's plenty of blame blame to be spread around. The team's offensive line has been a bit of a sieve as of late. Edgerrin James can't find the kind of traction he needs -- his yard per carry average has been over 4.0 on only a few occasions this season and he hasn't broken the 100 yard barrier since week 2. He took 9 carriers and managed all of 15 yards Sunday, his "longest" rush covering only 3 yards.
And he was the team's leading rusher.
Altogether, the offense was atrocious. Warner threw 2 interceptions, one of which was extremely costly as it eventually led to Tampa Bay running the clock out in the fourth quarter to seal the victory, and the team totaled less than 200 yards of offense.
Defensively, there was some good mixed with the bad. Obviously it hurts that the team couldn't force a turnover, and it definitely didn't help matters that Earnest Graham managed 124 yards, though it should be noted he carried the ball 34 times (3.6 ypc average).
All things considered, slipping to 3-5 furthers the doubt cast on the team. They aren't a playoff team yet. Maybe in a few years because next season is too soon, especially with Leinart missing this much valuable playing time.
I hate to make it through only 8 games of the regular season and assume the worst, but such is the life of a Cardinals fan. Yearly struggles and weekly collapses are nothing new. Then again, the faith that this team could amount to something in the near future is new.
I guess that's something.