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Arizona Cardinals @ Philadelphia Eagles: Observations from the Cardinals blowout loss

The observations from the Cardinals loss to the Eagles.

Arizona Cardinals v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Last week it seemed odd that BA told the team that the SF game would go down to the wire and that if the Cardinals could prevail, they could discover their identity and build on their winning ways.

It was a curious psychology to employ for a veteran team to use in preparation for a home game against an 0-3 team. Typically, one would expect the mentality and expectations would have been to win the game by a significant margin. Was this psychology a reflection of how low BA's expectations have become of the team?

Perhaps telling the team the game would come down to the wire was a shrewd strategy by BA in the event that the game did go down to the wire.

The answer to the question would be in how well the Cardinals perform in Philly. BA predicted the team would build on whatever it was that helped them beat the 49ers.

Thus, yesterday's answer was 100% clear that the Cardinals did not build on anything they learned versus the 49ers.

BA's messages and psychologies are falling on deaf ears.

Since the 2015 NFC Championship game the Cardinals show up only when they want to. They don't build on much of anything.


Yesterday, like many road games over the past 21 games, the Cardinals in the first half ran at half speed like an NBA team in the first half of January games. The problem is -- unlike what happens in the NBA in January---no one told the Eagles to do the same.

Yesterday, even though the Cardinals lost the coin toss, not too long ago some teams would be loath to give BA the ball the start the game, knowing this is exactly what BA wants... now it's pretty much a given that teams are quick to defer. They know from their film studies that the Cardinals come out of the gate looking like a Clydesdale stuck in the chute at the Kentucky Derby. They also know that without Todd Bowles, the Cardinals' defense is as soft as Cheese Whiz coming out of the tunnel at half-time.

It's no wonder why Cardinals' fans are becoming disillusioned with this's like paying for the same B movie over and over again, because the script from week to week is virtually the same.

Yesterday's script...

1. Run kickoff out to the 18-yard line. Mistake #1.

2. 1st down here comes the 3 TE set. Run Chris Johnson to right---1 yard.

3. 2nd down---incomplete 5 yard out pass to Fitzgerald

4. 3rd and 9---5-yard skinny post to J.J. Nelson, ball jarred loose. Would have never had a chance for the 1st down anyway.

5. Punt nearly blocked---Kenyon Barner breaks 4 tackles for a 20-yard return (Eagles start at own 46)

6. Eagles 3rd and 5---Dansby (Bucannon and Jones) neutral zone infraction---1st and 10 Eagles

7. Wentz sacked by Jones back to the 46-yard line---3rd and 11

8. Wentz skinny post to Zach Ertz---12 yards 1st down. Branch on coverage.

9. 3rd and 11 again---skinny post to Alshon Jeffery (Peterson whiffed badly on press) 14 yards---tackled by Baker

10. Eagles TD Wentz to TE Trey Burton on fade pass 15 yards. Burton blows right past LB Deone Bucannon.

11. Jake Elliott XPT---Peterson on left edge does not even rush the kick. Same as versus 49ers.

Next Series:

· (8:19 - 1st) Elliott kicks 65 yards from PHI 35 to ARZ 0. K. Williams to ARZ 21 for 21 yards (C. Maragos; P. Robinson).

· 3rd and 16 at ARI 29

(6:14 - 1st) (Shotgun) C. Palmer pass short right to E. Penny to ARZ 35 for 6 yards (J. Hicks; N. Bradham).

· 4th and 10 at ARI 35

(5:44 - 1st) A. Lee punts 56 yards to PHI 9, Center-A. Brewer. K. Barner to ARZ 15 for 76 yards (B. Golden). ARZ-A. Brewer was injured during the play. He is Out.

* 3rd and 6 at ARI 11

(3:52 - 1st) Zach Ertz 11 Yd TD pass from Carson Wentz (Jake Elliott Kick)

When the Cardinals finally mount a drive and score on Palmer's TD pass to John Brown, the score is 21-7. They get the ball back and drive within FG range, but the punt is blocked (slow snap and no block on Patrick Robinson).

2nd Half:

Again we hear that BA believes the first 5 minutes of the 2nd half will set the tempo for the rest of the game: "We need a defensive stop and TD and we are right back in the game."

The Eagles march 57 yards on 11 plays taking 5:42 off the clock.

36 yard FG attempt by Elliott. Having watched the Eagles block the last FG attempt one would think that Patrick Peterson would be hung-ho to retaliate---except---again---he does not even rush the kick.

Disturbing Trends:

* Getting dropped in the backfield on running plays. No FB to take out 1st penetration.

* Passing check downs well under the sticks on 3rd and longs ending 5 potential drives.

* Eagles getting pressure on P Andy Lee, Cardinals none at all on Donnie Jones.

* Eagles fired up on STs...Cardinals sleepwalking.

* Arians screaming at Bettcher to blitz on 3rd and 19 (just as BA did on the Aaron Rodgers hail mary in the 2015 playoffs)...and getting torched for a long TD to Agholor, one on one on Budda Baker.

* Poor deep safety play all day (save the superb interception by Bethea).

* Poor zone coverage---especially once again by Karlos Dansby who, for some strange reason, is going opposite of where receivers are heading through his zone.

* Giving up easy completions on 3rd downs. 7/8 conversions to start the game.

* OL getting whipped in pass pro with little to no help from coaches.

* Palmer throwing up 3-4 passes for grabs, saved this week by WRs becoming DB’s.

* A general sense of lethargy and a total and complete lack of urgency.

The Peterson Tirade:

Way too little---too late. By the time he decided to go off on DB coach Kevin Ross the game was a blowout. Plus, in my opinion, Peterson represents part of what's wrong with the Cardinals. He is world-class athlete who is exceptional at the things he likes or wants to do---but highly remiss and glaringly conspicuous in the things he does not want or like to do. Patrick Peterson is a "me first" player. He's not a leader. He is still the most talented punt returner on the planet --- but he no longer relishes that role. He is still the most talented FG rusher --- a role he no longer relishes. In my opinion, the Cardinals will never win a championship unless Peterson changes his mentality. if he flips that switch --- look out. Otherwise, it will be the same old same old, because this is what the team does just like Peterson -- it does only what it wants to do, and it tries only when it wants to try.

Peterson needs a coach who will push him beyond his comfort zone the way Todd Haley did with Larry Fitzgerald. That coach for Peterson is not currently on the Cardinals' coaching staff, as these coaches enable and coddle him.

Peterson is also one of the reasons why the Honey Badger has lost his drive. It's not like the Honey Badger has forgotten how to tackle. When he sees Pat P. saving himself...why not so the same?

Look at Deone Bucannon and Karlos Dansby yesterday...anyone get the impression they wanted to man up and make tackles? Both were brutally bad.

Let me ask all of you. Who are the real leaders on this team? Who are they? That's what can happen when a narcissistic head coach becomes the only alpha in the room...and by design, he likes it that way.