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The wheels have fallen off. Now what?

Although there are six games left, this season is over for the Cardinals after getting taken behind the woodshed by the Niners last night. So what’s next for this team?

San Francisco 49ers v Arizona Cardinals
The Niners pass rush roughed up backup QB Colt McCoy all night long.
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The title says it all. After the 38-10 primetime beatdown we suffered against the 49ers in Mexico City, the Cardinals are now 4-7. We sit 12th in the conference, just a game better than last place Carolina and Chicago.

The teams we have beaten are a combined 13-29, good for a .310 winning percentage. The QBs this team have beaten are Derek Carr (barely!), Baker Mayfield, Andy Dalton, and John Wolford. Great for a frisky Big 12 team circa early the 2010s, not so great for an NFL team circa 2022.

This football team stinks. The offense is predictable and low wattage. The defense is a sieve. Preparation seems nonexistent. Leadership is in short supply. (Budda Baker is a major exception. I think I would die for Budda.) Every game is littered with stupid penalties, countless mental errors, frustrating playcalls, and, for some reason still, A.J. Green.

There is talent on this team, yes. But the roster that Steve Keim has assembled was so poorly put together in the first place, and so thin at most positions, that we seemingly never had a chance this season. Our only shot was Kliff’s and Kyler’s offense to truly click like it hasn’t yet, becoming a top-5 unit to mask the suspect (at best) defense.

Of course, that didn’t happen. Kyler regressed, Kliff just never evolved/progressed in the first place, and then Hollywood got hurt before Hop’s suspension was up. We’ve simply been dysfunctional with Kyler at the helm this season for whatever reason. I don’t blame people for thinking Colt McCoy is a better QB right now. (But… he’s not.)

Yeah, yeah, let me stop you there — injuries have played a factor. A huge factor. But every team deals with injuries. Just look at a team like the Miami Dolphins. Among other injuries, they lost their breakout starting QB for two (basically three) games, haven’t had one of their best DBs all year, and have lost several other key DBs, pass rushers, and O-linemen. Yet they are 7-3 and looking suspiciously like the Cardinals of last year.

So I don’t want to hear about injuries.

The bottom line is that this team is supposed to have been much, much better by now, in Year 4 of the Kliff and Kyler Show, with the latter still on his rookie deal. Blame the QB if you want (many will, and he’s certainly plenty culpable himself), but every QB needs a GM who can build a complete, competent roster around him and a coach to build an offense around his strengths. Where this team is at right now is an abject failure that you can lay squarely at the feet of Steve Keim and Kliff Kingsbury.

Now what?

Now we get to hear the national media talk about Kliff on the hot seat. To me, he shouldn’t even be on the team flight back to Phoenix, but firing a coach midseason just isn’t a Michael Bidwill thing. But another beatdown next week at home to Justin Herbert and the Chargers? Like I said a couple weeks ago, heading into the bye would be a perfect time to fire him.

I’ll have more to say about Keim at a future date, but he obviously needs to go as well. The ramshackle O-line he put together was devoured by the Niners last night, and his talent-deficient defense was knocked around all night. I doubt even Bill Belichick could have coached this group up, much less Vance Joseph.

At QB, this may sound counterintuitive, but we really need Kyler to get healthy and get back on the field. Even though the season is lost (if we miraculously won out, we’d still be 10-7, which might not even be good enough for a wild card this year), we need to get Kyler more reps with Hop and Hollywood to find out what we really have at QB. Ideally without Kliff calling plays. Because Kyler will undoubtedly be around far longer than the coach and GM. That’s just basic salary cap math.

Going forward, we need to give young guys like Rondale Moore (if he’s healthy), Greg Dortch, Keontay Ingram (Eno Benjamin if he was still here…), Trey McBride, Myjai Sanders, and Cameron Thomas as much run as possible, even if it’s at the expense of guys like A.J. Green, James Conner, and J.J. Watt.

Of course, it’ll never happen — Kliff and Keim need this team to win to save their jobs, if they can even be saved at this point, future be damned. So expect more of the same old ineffectual status quo around here for the next six weeks.

It sure seems like as long as Kliff and Keim are around, this team is damned both the rest of this season and beyond. The best thing for this team would be to cut the cord now. HBO and Hard Knocks might even want that more than Cardinals fans right now.

But that’s never how this team has operated. We’re probably stuck with them until the end of the season. But not beyond, right?

… right?