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ROTB Roundtable: Red Zone Troubles, Playoff Potential, and Team Concerns

Seven weeks into the season, the Cardinals have a winning record and sit atop the NFC West.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

However, that doesn't mean the team is without concerns of its own.  The ROTB Writing Staff tackled three of these.

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

1) Despite early season success, the Cardinals have had some red zone troubles in recent games.  What is the root of this problem?

Jesse Reynolds: There seems to be several culprits but I think it's the run game, without that threat teams have had success stopping the offense. Have to get the power rub game going.

Tyler Derby: It's hard to exactly pinpoint then issue, but it seems like they make the right play calls as their driving down the field, but then almost over think the play calls in the red zone.  As explosive as they have been on offense, we still have kicked way too many field goals. That won't cut it against the elite teams.

Randy Fields: It looks like the inability to run the ball in short yardage situations. Also, Palmer seems to have gotten away from passing to his RBs and is trying to push the ball down to his WRs. I'm not sure why, but yesterday there were two plays with Ellington on the field where he split left and ran open into the flat and Palmer didn't even give him a look, but rather pushed the ball to Fitz, both went for incompletions. If he turns back to the RB pass it could help downfield as well. Heck, it keeps working against the Cardinals.

Jess Root: It  has mostly been mental mistakes -- drops, penalties, missed assignments. They get off schedule or don't run the ball well in the red zone and they are forced to pass. We have seen at least two red zone drops, a penalty, an interception and a simple miss.

2) As we come close to the midseason mark, are you confident in this team to make a deep Playoff run?

Jesse Reynolds: Right now I believe the Cardinals are a playoff team, I do not think we can beat the Packers at their house right now, so I'm not confident in a deep playoff run. The pass defense has struggled with a mix of insufficient pressure, lax coverage and poor tackling. Add in the offensive red zone woes against good teams and I'm worried. However I am very optimistic that the offense will improve as they've been moving the ball well against every team played thus far. Just have to finish those drives. 

Tyler Derby: I am very confident we can make a deep playoff run. Our offense has been one the leagues best and our defense has so many playmakers on it. I think the biggest difference between last year is we finally have a legitimate running game and that has made a huge difference so far. Obviously staying healthy is the number one thing, so if we can do that we will be one of the top teams to contend with in the NFC.

Randy Fields: Deep playoffs are only possible if they can improve their ability to score in the red zone. Especially inside the 10 yard line.

Jess Root: Yes, but I am wary at the possibility of being the three seed and having to host Seattle in Week 17 and again on Wild Card weekend.

3) Going forward, what aspect of the team concerns you the most?

Jesse Reynolds: Mental mistakes. It seems every week since the Bears game there have been multiple mental errors on both sides of the ball that have been costly. Breakdowns on defense and penalties on offense.  Turnovers killed us against the Steelers and Rams. This team needs to tighten up if they're going to actually be Super Bowl worthy.

Tyler Derby: I would say the ability to finish games and play up to our opposition. So far all of our wins are against teams with losing records while our two losses are against teams with a .500 record or better. Hopefully we will be able to keep the same high level of play when we have to play the Seahawks, Bengals, Packers, etc.

Randy Fields: Lack of push in short yardage situations and that clock management. That was terrible. Arians can't get exotic when you just need to grind out the clock. The situation mismanagement let the Ravens back into the game. The last 4 minutes should have been boring but instead turned into unnecessary excitement and stress.

Jess Root: The pass rush. It is the one thing that consistently doesn't show up and there seems to be a lack of talent there, too. Without it, the defense can break.