Editor’s Note: Doug would like to give this whole writing thing a shot and he gave us his first entry. Enjoy.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment of 2016 was that from the outset of the season it appeared every possible piece to make the cardinals a Super Bowl team was in place.
The front office had done their due diligence. They brought back a great core unit from 2015. Everyone knew they needed a pass rusher, and Steve Keim picked up a great one.
It was obvious that the cornerback spot opposite #21 was going to be a weak area, but there was not a heavy investment from the outside.
Mysteriously the offense had trouble in the preseason, but still everyone was hyped for opening night with high expectations.
It was not a pretty game, but when it came the 4th quarter the Cardinals were in a very familiar scenario. Remember Cincinnati, Baltimore, or Minnesota game in 2015? Not pretty games either but the Cardinals were in control of their fates in the 4th quarter.
Now against the Patriots the Cardinals controlled their own fate. In a single moment our titanic season hit the iceberg. A horrid snap, a pretty good job by the place holder getting it close, and then a missed field goal dropping them to 0-1.
Before I go on recapping the season, let me make the following assertion. I have never seen any, and I mean any team, play this badly on special teams for a year.
Let’s take a brief look at some of the evidence showing how the season could have been successful with even average special teams play.
Suppose the field goal is made and the Cardinals are 1-0
Tampa: Big Cardinals Win 2-0
Buffalo: I am going to say they lose this game anyway, but bad punt coverage and field goal botched on snap leads to Bills touchdown. 2-1
Los Angeles: leading 13-10 4 minutes left. 47 yard punt return plus 15 yard penalty added on.
Rams now have ball in red zone. Say it was a 10 yard punt return. Cardinals now 3-1 heading into San Fran.
We know they won the next two game, so now Cardinals are 5-1 heading into Seattle.
Let’s just assume anyone reading this blog knows the details of this game.
Now Cardinals are at 6-1.
I could go on, but there is no reason, so let’s jump to the interesting part. What to do this offseason?
The fans clearly all want a new special teams coach. Bruce Arians has publicly stated his support for keeping things the same. No one really knows what the heck happened.
How can they be well coached, perform well in practice and play this badly on Sunday? More staggering is a number of the same players from 2015 are the same ones on the field.
For some fun and discussion, let’s play House of Cards on this shall we.
Pick your offseason scenario. The more Frank Underwood the better. I’ll include a few to get the discussion going.
- Front office pulls ranks on Arians and fire Amos Jones without asking him. Makes fans happy but risks Arians turning on front office.
- Resign Campbell and then use cap space issues for cover up. The reason they could not get new punters, kickers, or coach.
- Hire Chip Kelly so we never punt or kick a field goal again.
- Bidwill uses a personal connection so Amos gets a head coaching job in college. He leaves, Arians is not mad at front office, and a replacement is needed.
- Cardinals give fans free beer for an entire quarter for every opposing teams touchdown given up on special teams. (not really a solution but makes me happy!)
Leave your own idea, and let’s see what you got.