Three weeks of the NFL 2013 season are in the books already, with the Arizona Cardinals sporting a 1-2 record. Sure, a 1-2 record after three games sounds pitiful at best, but let's take some reference points.
At 1-2 the Cardinals are tied for second in the division with the St. Louis Rams and the San Francisco 49ers.
The Cards are operating under new management on both sides of the ball as well as at the GM position.
Continuing with the new theme, operating under center is a shiny and new to the team QB option in Carson Palmer. Palmer is just one of the many new names on a team that went through a massive roster overhaul.
Sure sure, new this and new that. How's that translate past the 1-2 record?
Well, after watching this new team for three weeks it appears all the newness to the team hasn't succeeded into making them a better team. The offense seems like a good place to start the breakdown.
Bruce Arians was highly regarded as the hottest HC candidate on the market for the work he did as interim HC for the Indianapolis Colts as well as for his offensive play-calling schemes. Looking at the first two games under his belt I felt that the play-calling was balanced and led to many mismatches and opportunities. Then Arians drank the Dr. Whiz juice in the third game and went away from a successful run game to air the ball out. - Verdict: Prescription medicine for bipolar
Keeping with the offense, let's speak on Levi Brown who missed last most of last season due to injury. Arians called him elite. Many post here and across the web noted that the offensive line would have to get better with the return of Levi Brown. Three weeks in and talk has changed. While I never believed Brown has the physical tools to be a left tackle, visual proof is once again on tape from the 2013 season.
Defensively Bruce Arians brought in his choice for DC, Todd Bowles. As I thought of Russ Grimm last year, so I think of Bowles this year. Nice person, but not a coordinator at all. in three games, the Cardinals allowed 27 in a loss, 21 in a win and 31 in a loss. That's an average of 26 points a game. Bowles schemes are mismatched by offensive coordinators, with the defensive front seven failing to apply constant pressure.
However, not all is bleak. 3rd round pick Tyrann Mathieu is well on his way to defensive rookie of the year awards as he continually flashes big plays in each game.
So what have we learned about the Cardinals? That they've improved, somewhat. Those improvements though are only good enough to provide frustration as the team competes but doesn't really win many. There are too many places that require improvement before they enter the arena of competition, which might be the case in 2014.
Until then, keep plenty of Pepto Bismol on hand Card's faithful.