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What We Learned from... whatever that was

Arizona Cardinals v Carolina Panthers Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

We’ve got quite a bit to stew over after another embarrassing loss. I’ve learned my lesson after looking at the schedule favorably over the past two weeks. You don’t overestimate the Arizona Cardinals.

Investments were misplaced.

53rd. 98th. 111th.

Those numbers reflect how DJ Humphries, Larry Fitzgerald and Jordan Phillips rank among their positions per PFF (at the time of this writing.)

One fifth round pick and currently the 5th biggest cap hit later at running back, Kenyan Drake ranks 15th among his peers.

Despite being bandied about as a great offseason mostly due to stealing the Hopkins-candy from a Bill O’Brien-baby, we’re again staring down some very questionable investments that aren’t showing much return.

In fact, outside of drafting a good football player with the top pick in the NFL draft, last season isn’t much to hang one’s hat on either. Jordan Hicks, the prize free agent, currently sits at a 55.4 PFF grade. 34th among linebackers. What remains of the 2019 draft class outside of Kyler Murray has yet to take form in any sort of consistent impact.

Changes need to happen on defense.

Look, I hate to call for another person’s job. But something needs to give on defense. Many were left scratching their head at the return of Vance Joseph as DC, and no one is looking the fool for questioning that move.

Injuries have made the job harder, but given the resources poured into the unit in the offseason and going up against bottom-tier offenses the past two weeks (20th and 22nd in DVOA, respectively), the results are a incredibly disappointing.

The Offensive Line has regressed to their norms.

If you’re like myself, you were somewhat expecting this after a 2019 season were it wasn’t unfair to label the unit’s as over-performing expectations.

Unfortunately, the powers that be decided that they would stand pat with what they had in the OL and that career performances would be indicative of the future - versus a bigger sample size that said otherwise.

Now you’re seeing the product of that. Despite many lamenting the heavy reliance on a short game, it’s clear that any deep passing will be done in spite of the front five. Not because of them. Add into that mixture an injured Deandre Hopkins and lackluster receiving options outside of that, and it’s no wonder we got the performance we did yesterday. Speaking of...

Deandre Hopkins is the offense.

It wasn’t looking good after the star receiver didn’t practice all week after he popped up on the injury report Wednesday with an ankle injury. Ultimately it came down to a game-time decision to let him play.

It’s safe to say the injury still lingered, and without Hopkins shouldering a workload that he had carried the previous weeks, it was clear the offense struggled to find answers.

I want off of Steve Keim’s wild ride.

A bad offseason, questionable defensive coordinator, and poor overall talent in your personnel...

You can’t raise those questions without looking to the top where the responsibility lies. Many expected and were subsequently disappointed in the lack of changes in the Front Office after the disaster that was the short-lived Steve Wilks era. An OROY with loads of potential was enough to warrant those cries settle down a year later.

But now? It’s all the more imperative that you get things right while you have QB talent on a rookie deal. You’re two years into a rebuild and you have wonder if it’ll take two more to get into contender form.

Questionable contract after questionable contract is doled out, frustratingly to non-premium positions while premium positions have become weak spots on the team.

The same poor positional values have bled over into the draft, as you saw the FO pass up on a draft class stacked with top end talent at OT and WR to add to an LB group that was already heavily invested in. Those said positions could sorely use a boost now. (And no, I’m not ignoring the drafting of Josh Jones. That’s the lone move I’ve loved from the get go from this staff. But there’s no denying the OL needs more than that.)

Let’s hear it, ROTB-Nation. What did you learn from this debacle?