Quick question for everyone. The Cardinals have gotten off to a very disappointing 3-6 start, and they probably will finish under .500 this year. So, out of everyone that you can blame, who is the biggest culprit?
We all thought that just having a mediocre offense would be enough to win the NFC West and make the playoffs. This offense is a hell of a lot worse than mediocre. Larry Fitzgerald has 601 yards and Four Touchdowns on 49 catches (by the way, Anquan Boldin has 596 yards with Six Touchdowns on 45 catches) but that is about the only bright spot.
Max Hall looked decent for two games before he imploded in the games against Seattle and Tampa Bay that he played in, and Derek Anderson shows that he is still a guy that can make some big passing plays, but he will continuously turn the ball over like I thought he was before the Season began. Yeah, he is better than he was in Cleveland last year, but almost anything would be better than that. A lot of people thought that a better supporting cast would help Anderson return to his 2007 form (where he still only completed only 55% of his passes even though he made the Pro Bowl), but right now is is barely completing 50% of his passes, he has 1,481 yards (25th out of 34 Quarterbacks with a Qualifying Passer Rating on NFL.com), he has Six Touchdowns against Eight Interceptions, and his Quarterback Rating is 68.1 (32nd out of the 34 qualifying QBs). It is obvious now that his 2007 season was the exception, not the norm with Anderson. Matt Leinart was cut because Anderson could make more plays downfield, and he had the Swagtangibles that Coach Whisenhunt liked, but they are not amounting up to very much. One good thing that I can say about him is that he already has more pass plays over 30 yards than Warner had all of last season (but Warner almost never went deep last year). Steve Breaston has also developed as a good deep threat with several long pass receptions heading his way and he has 29 catches for 456 yards and a Touchdown. The Cardinals rank 30th in Passing Yards per game with 181.2 per game (and that is counting Anderson's 300 yard game last night).
Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower were supposed to be a lethal rushing combination. Over 10 games, Beanie has 70 carries for 231 yards and Two Touchdowns, Hightower has 79 carries for 376 yards and Three Touchdowns. The Cardinals rank 29th in Rushing Yards with 82.7 per game.
The biggest mess has been the Offensive Line. Derek Anderson has been sacked 21 times this season when his previous career high in sacks was 14 during the 2007 Season. While Lyle Sendlein and Deuce Lutui have played well, Levi Brown has looked nothing like the guy the Cardinals were expecting when he was drafted with the 5th overall Draft Pick in 2007, Brandon Keith has struggled, and Alan Faneca has just been average. As a whole, the line has been poor at pass blocking, and average at best at run blocking.
To say this as simple as possible, the Cardinals offense has been a turnover filled mess that cannot sustain drives, and that seems to have a propensity for fumbling the ball away to the other team.
If one aspect of the team is responsible for their last loss, it was their bumbling defense last night. It would be appropriate to compile a video of all of the blown coverages and missed tackles against the Seahawks in a video with the theme song from the "Benny Hill Show" accompanying it. Besides the season opener against the Rams where Sam Bradford threw three Picks, they have looked awful. One of the biggest issues is that the big name players on the Defense like Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Darnell Dockett, Calais Campbell, Joey Porter, and Adrian Wilson have been inconsistent at best. Adrian Wilson himself said that he has played like s**t for most of the season, and he said he would give the Defense as a whole an F (that was before last night's game), and I am inclined to agree with him. The Defense as a whole looks overmatched, and they are being burned for big plays constantly along with choking late in games. We were all hearing about how dominant the Defense was during Training Camp, but it looks like that was all because of how godawful the Offense is.
If you want to look for any positives, the Defense ranks 12th in Total Sacks with 20 (Green Bay and St Louis lead the NFL with 28), they can force turnovers and they have already tied an NFL Record with four Fumble Returns for Touchdowns this season, they have 10 Interceptions which ranks 9th in the NFL (Chicago, Tennessee, Tampa Bay, Green Bay, and Atlanta are tied for 1st with 14), they have also stepped up their play in the Red Zone, and are currently ranked 2nd in Red Zone Defense. They have also had good play for the most part from some of their newcomers like Kerry Rhodes and Paris Lenon. Rookies Daryl Washington and Dan Williams have also played well, and Greg Toler has looked good for most of this season even though he was awful against Seattle.
A lot of people here have been going after the Coaching Staff, and some people are saying to just fire everyone. While I still believe that Coach Whisenhunt is the right man for the job, part of this mess is his fault. After Warner retired, he (along with the rest of the Front Office) failed to find an adequate replacement either in Free Agency, or by some sort of trade (Donovan McNabb is no longer an option now that he resigned with Washington today...), and the entire Matt Leinart/Derek Anderson debacle was just a huge mess. I do question his judgment on that call, but we don't know if Leinart would have been any better than Anderson has been with the kind of play that he would get from the Offensive Line, and how the ground game has struggled for most of the year. And now we will never know.
Looking at everything that is going on, it seemed like the entire team gave up against Seattle, and that is on both the players for failing to give it their all, and the coaches for failing to motivate the players. They should not even need any motivation since they could have gone into a first place tie in the NFC West if they won (and because St. Louis lost to San Fransisco they would have been tied for 1st place). Whiz or someone else on the coaching staff has to find a way to motivate the team, and the veteran leaders also have to do something.
Along with the criticism for the playcalling on Offense (Whiz cannot continue to call plays after this season ends, he has to find a real Offensive Coordinator), Billy Davis should be fired as soon as possible. His defense has struggled for most of the year, although it might make the defense even worse if they have to replace him midseason. Now once the season ends, a real Defensive Coordinator must be found. Anyone who could at least be a slight improvement would be better that this. I almost miss Clancy Pendergast.
And again, with all the hype Russ Grimm gets, his Offensive Line looks like garbage this year.
Watching the Cardinals each week, it just shows how good Kurt really was. And now, he is just hanging out with his family, dancing on TV and trying to find out if he can get on the Sequel to The Hangover. Come on Kurt, we need you more. We'll beg you. Please, come back!
So... tell me fellow members of RotB, who do you blame?