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What We Learned from the Cardinal’s heartbreaking loss to the Niners

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

It’s great to see the Cardinal’s hanging in tight games, but it’s also equally frustrating to see yet another loss pile up in this type of bout. We’ve got some things to unpack today, while there’s not a whole lot that’s stunningly fresh to learn from, there are revelations of the slowly-revealed type and some things we already knew that are being reinforced.

Vance Joseph ain’t it.

Despite never personally being a fan of the hire, I was willing the give Vance Joseph a chance. And despite some early disappointment, I was still willing to give him the benefit of the doubt given the personnel limitations of the roster.

All that said, it’s looking like Vance Joseph’s tenure as an Arizona Cardinal might not last beyond this season. I don’t think the bar is high, the defense just needs to keep the bar within reach for the offense. But looking ahead, I don’t know how attainable that may be on a week to week basis. Even if and when the defense is shored up with talent, can you trust him not to mismanage talent and to put them in the best positions to succeed? I’m not sure that we can.

Kenyan Drake RB1?

Despite David Johnson being active, Kenyan Drake by and large was the defacto RB1. He did have a tough day against the SF front seven, but it his usage, not the production, that told the story here. It’ll be interesting to see how this backfield unfolds going forward, as David Johnson presumably gets healthier.

What is the future of David Johnson?

Following up on the previous bit, after losing work after last week’s fumble and barely seeing the field this week, it’s clear something is up with DJ. It’s especially curious that he wouldn’t get work in the passing game, especially given the struggles from the other pass catchers. One can only hope it’s just health holding him back, but like Vance Joseph, it doesn’t seem he’s long for the Cardinal’s organization.

Kyler needs weapons:

Between a very wide open Kirk dropping an easy pass, Andy Isabella not looking for the ball and KeeSean Johnson fumbling away any chance at some last minute heroics, it’s clear (if it wasn’t already) Kyler needs to be better equipped to succeed in the future. While the Cardinals have a quantity of options, they need help to allow the current players to play their roles and to give Kyler a consisent and reliable threat.

The Defense needs weapons, too:

Some of you may find it out to question both the scheme and personnel, but they can both be flawed independent of each other. And unfortunately that’s the case. Like the previous matchup, the Niner’s offense came into the affair banged up. Despite being down All-Pro’s Joe Staley and George Kittle, no Matt Breida and a banged up Emmanuel Sanders, the Cards D again couldn’t capitalize on the matchup as Jimmy Garrapolo again made them pay for selling out against the run. (to the tune of 400+ yards and 4 tds).

Coverage is an issue across the board, and outside of Chandler Jones, the pass rush is too.

The Cardinals need a new GM.

You can’t mention personnel issues across the board and coaching issues and not look at the source. Yes, there are some good things brewing with the team right now. But it’s clear that week in and week out, the Cardinal’s struggle to measure up in the talent department. And once again, a coordinator hire with some pretty obvious warts was made.

The future is bright with Kingsbury and Murray. Whether Keim deserves credit for some of that or not, it’s imperative that the organization aggressively seek to capitalize on what they have, especially while Murray’s rookie deal lasts. Complacency shouldn’t be part of the gameplan. (Which these days, last less than they used to.) And I don’t believe that the best person to do so is Steve Keim.

I hate to call for anyone’s job. He’s not the worst exec in the league, but sometimes if you want to build a dynasty you need a Steve Kerr, not a Mark Jackson. (And yeah, I know this probably isn’t going to happen.)

Did I miss anything? What did you learn?