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ROTB Roundtable: Looking Ahead, Interceptions, and Falcons Game

Sitting at 3-4, and tied for last place in the division, the Cardinals have a lot of questions to answer.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The ROTB Writing Staff took their shot at answering three of these.

Don't forget to answer the questions yourself in the comments below!

1) The Cardinals are now 3-4. Looking at the coming games, how confident are you that the team can get back on track?

D.L. Parsons: It depends on if the offense can get it's game together. The defense continues to play well, but they are only human. They spend far too much time on the field, and get worn out. I don't see the offense getting any better soon.

Jesse Reynolds: I see the Cardinals winning five of the last nine games. I predict loses to Houston, Indy, Seattle and San Fran and wins against Atlanta, Jacksonville, Philly, St. Louis and Tennessee. That gets the Cardinals to an 8-8 record, one win more than my preseason prediction. That to me is the Cardinals on track.

Robert Norman: No offense, but the Cardinals are on track. With the turnover this offseason, the Cardinals were the biggest unknown, but most pundits still believed they were around a 7-9 team. After three seasons of free fall, in one of the toughest divisions in the NFL should fans really expect more from the team? Despite the roster tinkering, this is the 2013 Arizona Cardinals.

Khodder: Back on track for what exactly? For a playoff spot, no way, this team is not ready to compete for a playoff spot. Back on track for the expectations I held for them before the season? They are right on track if not ahead of schedule. They have won the games they were expected to win, they have competed in tough games and won a couple of games outside the division against tough opposition. The bigger worry for me right now is where the team is headed long term, and right now I don't think the outlook is very bright.

Cdeveau: I'm not. My reasoning? Coach Arians is in denial, much along the lines of the Whisenhunt era. And until Arians relaizes that it isn't what you've done for me then, but what you're doing for me now the wrong personnel will be on the field.

Jess Root: On a scale from 1-10, I'd say a 6. Nothing they have done so far instills confidence. The offensive line still stinks and the offense turns the ball over. Yes, the schedule is potentially easier, but while I think they can get on track, I am not confident.

2) Coach Arians has repeatedly stated that many of Palmer's interceptions are not his fault. Do you agree with him?

D.L. Parsons: Yes. However, Arians needs to cut down on the number of long passes thrown early. Switch to screens and short passes until Palmer and the offense 'warm up'.

Jesse Reynolds: No. Levi Brown is not elite and Carson Palmer is to blame for many of his interceptions. Now I do not think that Palmer is solely responsible for his troubles. He is constantly under pressure and is not the type of QB who can easily escape it like Luck, Roethlisberger or even Peyton Manning (all Arians previous QBs). The line and the scheme are a big factor in Palmer's trouble but they are not responsible for under thrown passes and throwing into double and triple coverage.

Robert Norman: Only to a degree. About 1/3rd of the interceptions are his wide receivers. The receivers need to start fighting for the ball. They need to start playing as if their jobs are on the line because aside from Larry Fitzgerald, who were are being told is injured, all their jobs should be on the line. Palmer will throw interceptions, that was known before the season, but if that ball is near the receivers they need to start doing whatever it takes to catch it.

Khodder: es and no, most interceptions are at least in part the fault of the Quarterback. Take the first interception against Seattle for example. Yes there might have been some contact from the DB, yes there was some luck involved for Seattle in having the ball bounce into the hands of Thomas, and yes Thomas did display some incredible skill to make the grab. However the bottom line in all of this is that if that ball was place where it should have been then the worst case scenario for Arizona is that the ball falls harmlessly incomplete on the turf.

Palmer is a veteran QB, he needs to make better decisions with the football (multiple times he has been intercepted throwing the ball into double coverage with other options open). He needs to place the deep ball better, this season his deep passes have been consistently underthrown giving DB's a shot at the ball. His INT numbers could look worse if not for some top plays from Fitzgerald and Floyd knocking the ball away from DB's. Bruce also needs to help Carson to get into his work. Look where the success is coming from and utilise more of that and less of what is not working. On passes over 20 yards in the air Carson has nearly as many interceptions (3) as he does completions (4). Carson is 4-23 when throwing the ball over 20 yards in the air.

We need to be smart with the situations we are putting our Quarterback into with the current offensive line. Currently our offensive coaching staff have failed to do this.

Cdeveau: Coach Arians also said Levi Brown was elite. Do I need to say more?

Jess Root: I agree some. There have been some stinkers in the way of decisions and throws that were not quite where they should have been. However, based on his career, you have to almost blame the scheme more than anything else.

3) What will be the key to beating the Falcons on Sunday?

D.L. Parsons: Keeping their tight end, All-world TE Tony Gonzalez, under control. And, keeping the Cards defense off the field as much as possible.

Jesse Reynolds: Dedicating to the run game. The Falcons do not have a good defense and dedicating to the run and forcing favorable match ups in the secondary is the best way to beat them. The Cardinals need to keep Matt Ryan off the field. Despite missing his two of his best weapons last week he still was able to complete a high % of his passes and score points. The secondary is weak against TEs and the Falcons have one of the best in the game. We can't give their offense as many opportunities as we have given the Seahawks and 49ers or we will lose again.

Robert Norman: I'm going to say this all year. Run game. Ellington has earned his place, he needs to get at least half the touches. Arians needs to figure out how to make teams respect the run and stuff the box, thus allowing the pass game to have an advantage. The offense needs a spark and right now Andre Ellington is the only spark the team has offensively.

Khodder: Scoring more points than they do. But seriously. It is going to be the same as any game. It will come down to three things; Turnovers, RedZone Production and Third Down production.

If you can get touchdowns and not fields, get off the field on defense and stay on the field on offense and not give the opposition extra possessions by turning it over and create takeaways more often than not you are going to finish the game ahead on the scoreboard.

It is going to take a mammoth effort from the offense to really up their quality of play from their recent history, 12 turnovers in 4 games is not going to cut it.

Cdeveau: Not playing Carson "The Interception Machine" Palmer. Seriously...the play-caller in charge needs to figure out a way to better protect Palmer, get the run game more involved and stop the 3 and out debacle that keeps a good defense on the field for more minutes in a game then it should.

Jess Root: TURNOVERS! They can't give the ball away. They can't fall behind early. They have to play a great game on both sides of the ball.