Sunday, December 25, 2011

Add another one to the Cardinal's Worst Moments list.

I'm not saying that Early's Jello legs cost them the game.  That's missing the bigger picture by a long shot.  I mean that offense was at its worst for 3 quarters, and they got extremely lucky to even be in the game.  But still... why is it a Cardinal principle to lose in such a way that every looks around and says, "Have you ever seen that before?  I think that might be the most embarassing way to lose I've ever seen."  I also wonder if their is a script writer for the Cardinals who keeps trying to one-up the last miserable finish to a game.  Oh, and once again, they lose when it matters. 

I don't know how that defense does it.  They just seem to keep this team in games.  Especially when the offense continues to put them in bad field position.  This is the one positive identity of this team.  Dockett is still creating havoc, Campbell does stuff that doesn't always show up in the stats, and NT keep clogging the middle like they're supposed to.  Washington played great again (in spite of two highlight reels he wants no part of), Lenon is solid, Schoefield is getting better every week, and Acho is officially a 4th Round steal (yes, I know, I predicted that.  But I also predicted Carter wouldn't make the team.)  Peterson played well until he got hurt (sit him for the year, take no chances), Marshall and Jefferson are doing fine, it was good to see Rhodes back again (sit him for the year, take no chances), and Wilson should get comeback player of the year (I am so glad I was wrong that he was washed up).  Ray Horton deserves tremendous accolades for his work on this D.  Is this about the time all Cardinal fans start getting worried that their star coordinator is going to get hired by another team?

I'm officially off of Whiz's back over the defense.  He let Horton do his thing and it has paid off huge.  I can forgive the philosophical mistakes they made early, (by putting way too much of the playbook in and starting the old timer LBs over the kids) .  I don't believe that a team has to start out the season clicking, but I do believe they have to click for more than half of it.  And this defense ranks as one of the best in Az Cardinal history for its second half performance.  I thought Whiz's arrogance and ineptitude was getting to Horton, but I'm glad to be wrong.  Plus, it took some time to rid themselves of the stain that was Bill Davis. 

Speaking of bad defensive coordinators: do you remember Clancy Pendergast?  You know, the guy who loved to play defense one way for 58 minutes, shut the opponent's offense down, then change the defense to a prevent D for the last 2 minutes and then lose the game.  Oh how I miss that guy.  So I was thinking about Mike Miller and I thought he should really look into what got Clancy fired AFTER he took a team to the Superbowl.  You see, Mike seems to have Clancy's philosophy in reverse.  Stink it up for most of the game and then change the offense to a 2 minute offense to catch up.  Of course, every nitwit fan with an IQ two standard deviations below the norm is wondering why they don't try the 2 minute offense from the getgo.  I mean, if Whiz isn't going to do a sensible run offense, then why not just throw ALL the time.  Yes, I mean ALL.   Shotgun, empty backfield, 4 wide with TE protection, and just let 'er rip.  What the heck.  It couldn't be worse than the dreadful offense that they sling out week after week in the first half.  It makes you wonder what kind of game planning is going on for 6 days. 

And its not just that Skelton isn't executing.  For sure, that's a problem.  But they waste time with that "running game" they have and it turns out to be useless.  Their running game doesn't set up passes.  It doesn't punish defenders.  It doesn't get them first downs. They only run because they feel like they have to.  Not because they want to.  If its one thing I've learned about Whiz, its that he hates running the football.  He hasn't done it since he left the Steelers.  Its like we all know that there's a running game there, but it really doesn't do anything.  So why have it?

Just run from shotgun like Kurt Warner did with Marshall Faulk and the Rams.  Whiz seems to think that his QBs should play like Kurt anyway, so give Skelton the same offense.  What could it hurt?

This offense reeks of having no consistant identity.  I can't believe Whiz hasn't got it through his thick skull that his offensive philosophy sucks with these players.  Its stunning.  And this is why he got hired in the first place: he was a great offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh.  How bad is it that you're specialty is offense and its your defense thats saves your butt every week?

Side thought:  On the first 4 passing plays against the Bengals it went: 13 yard gain, sack, interception, sack.
The first 2 running plays went: gain of 6, gain of 4. 

I want so badly to root for Ken.  I really do.  But without Horton this year he wins how many games? 4? 5?  If he's lucky.  In fact, I'd say he only wins for two reasons: because they have good talent on this team, and because of his defense and special teams.  Prove to me that he's done anything good with his offense in the last 2 years.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


I'm torn.  I can't tell whether I'm happy about the seven wins this year or pissed at how poor the offense is playing in the first half of games.  First off, let's clear up that it isn't Skelton that's the problem.  In the first half of the Cowboys game, Kolb was terrible.  They adjusted at halftime and thereafter were stellar.  Skelton of course, is gaining a reputation for that, but the pattern dictates that its a game preparation problem and not a personnel problem.  The blame then falls in the lap of the coaching staff.  They have not game planned well, and are paying for it for the first 30 minutes.  However, they also deserve all the credit for the second half adjustments they've made.  Like I said, I'm torn.

They say winning is everything.  That's not true.  If you win now and that develops bad habits that will cause you to lose more in the future, then winning is detrimental to your growth.  My concern for this team is that the winning blinds them to their goal of domination.  For example, in the Cleveland game there was no doubt that they should have ran over them.  The Browns are one of the worst rush defenses in the league.  And yet the Cards did very little in the run game.  So they relied on the pass, against one of the best pass defenders, and were successful.  A lot can be said about that, but allow me to focus on the first point; that is, why can't they run the ball on the Browns?  A strong mentality is vital in the NFL.  To the point, the Cards don't have one of those when it comes to running the ball.  We saw it in the second half when they threw the ball on almost every play.  The result was a win, yes, but at what cost?  This is destroying all that they've established over the year in the running department.  And that will keep them one dimensional, which only works if you have a HOF QB.  As for the Browns, the Cards should have beat them by 10+ points and utterly dominated the time of possession.  Instead they squeaked out a win. 

I'm sure you'll call this talk negative, but isn't the goal to win a Superbowl?  To win a Superbowl, you don't barely beat the Rams and Browns in overtime.  You crush them.  You send a message to the league that you will run them over.  The Saints are doing it right now through the air, and the Packers were until they lost all of their O-line.  Are the Cards really trying to be those teams?  If they are, well, they might win.  But will it win them a championship?  I highly doubt it.  Their best bet is to continue to establish the run and develop Skelton for the future.  He will get more comfortable as they develop their identity. 

And that's what I'm most frustrated about.  The Cards are winning, but they are doing it with no identity(on offense).  That is, unless you can call sucking in the first half and then recovering in the second an identity.  They need to put it all together.  But they aren't right now.  They aren't the dominant team they should have been in week 3 or 4.  Instead they are a mess that's winning.  Mark my words, when Whiz finally pulls his head out and figures out what's best for this team, he'll dominate.  Not just win.  And I'll give him what their identity should be.

Offense:  Establish the run early and commit to it for the entire game, which sets up play action pass, mix in some slants for Roberts, HB screens for Hyphen, and FIND Fitz, especially the fade to Larry in the endzone.

Defense:  Stop the run, pressure the QB, and maintain a solid red zone presence (which they are doing right now).

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Cards vs. Niners 12/11/11

Cards 21 Niners 19

Wow!  I mean wow!  Where has this team been all year?  It is so much more fun on Sundays when your team plays well.  Hats off to Whiz for keeping this team together after such a bad start.  Its true that his offense has major problems, but when your defense is playing this well, you’ll be in most games. 

Speaking of the offense, that’s two weeks in a row where they have stunk it up in the first half, only to come out guns blazing in the second.  A glass half empty guy might accuse Whiz of poor game planning in the first, but a glass half full guy would say he made great adjustments in the second half.  I’d go with the latter position.  It’s very difficult to win games against great teams, and S.F. (and this pains me to admit) is a great team.  They play exceptional defense and run an effective offense.  So I’m gonna give credit to the Cards for adjusting.

Normally at this time I’d be screaming that they didn’t run enough.  I was thinking before kickoff that I they should actually throw more today because S.F. run defense is so stellar.  I’m glad they committed to the run enough to gain some TOF, but didn’t rely on it too much.

Kolb never had a chance.  My biggest concern when they traded for him is the concussion history.  (Well, that and his 73.2 QB rating)   Behind this line I was very concerned that he couldn’t take the inevitable beating as the starting QB.  This will be an ongoing issue. 

Skelton played poorly in the first half.  Against this D it was to be expected.  However, he lit it up in the second.  What continues to impress me is his coolness in the pocket.  He had guys draped all over him and he plays like they aren’t even there.  Many times he inexplicably broke tackles to make a play. (Unfortunately one of which was a terrible decision to throw across his body for an INT.)   He also makes big gains on the ground, without taking a big hit.  Yes, he did fumble on one, but that was just a great defensive play.  Today I got a major confidence boost that he can be a good QB.  As I’ve screamed since day one, he needs a great run game and defense to help him, but this Cards team has the making of both. 

The O line played well again, but were utterly dominated at the run game.  S.F. is the number one run defense in the league so I’m not going to berate them too much.  They did only gave up 2 sacks, but Skelton should be credited with avoiding 3 others.  They gave John enough time to win the game so they deserve some credit.  Keith got hurt again.  He’s playing through some tuff stuff, but I don’t see him finishing the season.  I can see the Cards taking a LT in the first round of the draft next year and moving Brown back over to the RT.  Keith just can’t stay healthy and Bridges isn’t the answer either.  Hadnot had a killer block today to spring the ball carrier for a big gain. 

Fitz was amazing.  Again.  His TD catch was ho-hum for his career, which means that it was a highlight for everyone else.  He just gets it.  His block to free Doucet for the TD proves once again how valuable he is without the ball.  Doucet played well enough, but dropped a couple of balls.  Roberts disappeared for most of the game but made the game winning TD catch in the 4th.  The TE’s continue to disappear, which is frustrating after the great start they had this year.  I can’t believe they aren’t used more.

Do they have a defensive coach of the year?  Because if they do Horton should be up for the award.  Although, I’m not surprised that this D is so good.  I’ve had to endure the absolute ineptitude from Clancy Pendergast and Bill Davis for years, all the while believing that Dockett, Campbell, Wilson and co. would be great if given the right coordinator.  Well, they found him.

The D line was once again amazing.  They continue to put pressure on the QB and bat down passes.  Campbell is going to earn big dollars this off season for all that he does to make this team better.  Dockett is almost as good as he was in 2008, and he’s playing in a less glorifying position.  Carter continues to make plays, even though Eason is starting.  I love this line.

The LB’s are playing so much better.  Only once did I see them make a huge mistake (I’m almost positive Paris Lenon overran his gap which allowed Gore to run for the TD).  All three of the young ones played well.

The DB is where I’m truly shocked.  They are playing so well, everyone is forgetting how bad they were to start the year.  Wilson is the real gem.  I know he’s a HOF safety, but he’s playing well in all positions again.  I thought he was done after the start of this season, but he is playing like a HOF run stopper and a very good pass defender.  PP21 shut down Crabtree, which is saying something considering the results the last time they played.  Johnson is continuing to play well at free safety.  He’s still not as good as Rhodes, but he’s playing like a solid backup.

Special teams didn’t do anything amazing.   They were adequate enough.  I think it was Rashad Johnson who stopped Ginn from getting in the end zone on the punt return.  S.F. only got a FG out of it and lost 4 points.  That’s big considering the Cards won by two. 

I’m optimistic that Whiz has turned this around.  I’m not sure what he’s going to do with Kolb and Skelton.  He really has a tough decision to make.  On July 28th, after the trade I said, “My guess is that Kolb will have repeated injuries and Skelton will play well when he's out.  Thus creating a QB controversy that Coach Whiz will deem "a good situation to be in".”  I take that back.  This isn’t a good situation to be in.  If I were him, I’d probably start Kolb.  Only because they paid him the money as the future of this team.  But you can’t deny that Skelton is a winner.  And Kurt Warner is the only other Cardinal QB that had that tag attached to him.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Cards vs. Cowboys 12/4/11

Cards 19 Cowboys 13

Don't tease us Whiz.  Its not fair to actually run an offense like you did in the second half and make us think that you finally get it.  Running the ball and throwing to 'other' WRs as a steady diet is not like you and I'm concerned you've abandoned that stellar offense you have so carefully guarded over the last 2 years.  Of course, its all too late (a standard in Cardinal philosophy: win when it doesn't matter), so I'm not too excited.  However, this does bode well for their future. 

The offense was a tale of two halves.  The first half was abysmal.  They netted 49 total yards.  Kolb was sacked 4 times and all of them had a deer in the headlights quality to it.  They passed almost exclusively and did it poorly.  The second half success was driven by their ability to run the football.  It started there and gave Kolb the security to throw under less duress.   Beanie ran well, and the line looked solid on the run.  Fitz was the usual, while they finally threw to someone else.  Roberts had 111 yards and made some huge catches.  Housler even made a guest appearance. 

Kolb played terrible in the first.  Kolb played terrific in the second.  I'm going to give him credit for just the second because they finally gave him an offense he could be successful in.  As I said from the beginning, he'll be good if he gets better play calling. 

Speaking of the play calling, it seems I'm not the only one puzzled by the questionable play selection by the Cards offense.  Dockett voiced his opinion and said ,"we got a running style team...we got some bulldogs up front.  Run the ball."  Maybe Whiz is finally listening to reason.

Oh, but I can't give him full credit for 'getting it'.  Monday, on the that terrible sports show on 620 in the evening, Ken actually said the following: (paraphrased)  We can run the ball better when the defense plays well, because it keeps the defense off the field.  It allows us to control the game from a running stand point.  And yes, I think he was serious.  That of course runs contrary to the philosophy of more than 100 years of football that states: a good running game controls the game clock, which allows the defense to stay off the field, keeping them fresh.  You have to appreciate the subtle difference here.  The latter states that the running game helps the defense, Whiz is saying that bad defense kills the running game.  I could write a dissertation on how wrong his perspective is, but I don't want to do that here.  I will say what he truly means though; the reason the running game has sucked since he's been here is because his defense played so bad.  Really?  I wonder what Dockett would say about that?

The real player of the game was the entire defense.  They are playing like one of the best D in the NFL.  The Cowboys offense had been explosive before this game and the Cards shut them down to 13 points.  Once again, Dockett and Campbell played amazing.  The LBs locked into Murray and shut him down.  And the DBs all played at a high level.  Jefferson played O.K., but you can tell he isn't confident.  PP21 keeps showing signs that he is going to be a top five corner soon.  Horton is looking more and more like the real deal.  I'm in love with this defense.  If the offense can ever establish a real running game this team is going to be really really good.  Really.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cards vs. Rams 11/27/11

Cards 23 Rams 20

Beanie played like a man on fire as did his offensive line.  I've been begging for a running game like the one they ran against the Giants, but they've shown little interest in abiding.  Today, he ran over and through the Rams.  Yes the Rams run D is terrible, but Beanie only had 20 yards against them at the first meeting.  So the 228 yards he got today is a marked improvement.  They ran the ball 38 times vs passing it 26 times.  That's what they should have been doing since Day 1.  The pessimist in me says they won't do this again this year, however I'm more of an optimist these days and hope they will finally see the light. 

By the way, notice how the Cards starting QB has a QB rating of 30 and they still win?  When you run the football this well, QB play doesn't matter. (see Tim Tebow)

Speaking of Skelton, he still looks below average.  He still has good pocket presence and places the ball well deep, but he struggles on shorter routes.  He also is at 50% completion rate and a 64 QB rating. (those numbers are actually up from his career stats)  So I don't see much controversy brewing when Kolb gets healthy.  However, Kolb was starting to produce numbers similar to these before he got hurt.  So we'll see if he's still got those accursed happy feet. 

The LBs continue to improve as well as the DBs.  Besides Jefferson, I've seen growth by all the players, and that includes Rashad Johnson.  A.J. is getting worse.  But PP21 is starting to become the complete player he looked like at LSU.  This guy is the real deal.  The D line used to be the only thing good about this defense, but now it looks like everyone else is catching up. 

Patrick Peterson is a lock for rookie of the year, if they consider special teams.  He ran his 4th punt return for a TD today which ties him for the most all time in one season.  He'll break that record by two.  Hyphen and PP21 are going to have a day real soon where both run one back.  They are something special to watch. 

Kuddos to Whiz for winning three of his last four.  Winning takes a ton of the sting off, but it doesn't erase the six pitiful  losses he shouldn't have (I don't blame him for the Giants one).  At this point they should be
7-4.  They should have beat the Skins, Hawks, and Vikings.  I truly hope he has woken up from his 5 year slumber and finally runs the air out of the football like he did today.  But I thought he figured it out after N.Y. and look how bad he was after that. 

That being said, I predicted that this team would lose enough games to miss the playoffs and win too many to get a good draft position.  And that they'd win ugly (in other words, the wins were useless at building an identity to carry them into next year).  So far, minus today's game and N.Y., I was right.  Let's hope I'm wrong from here on. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

No depth at RB?

So Bob McManaman reported this week that the Cards running woes are hurting the team.  Holy *#$@ you gotta be %&*$@ kidding me!  It only took 2 years for people to figure that out?  (Yeah, that's right, I swore.  It takes stupidity at high levels to get it out of me, which of course makes me wonder why I don't swear more on this blog sight.)

Anyway, the saddest part about the report is that the Cards still don't get it.  Saying stuff like, "there is no real reliable backup behind Wells," proves it.  Goodness gracious Whiz, are you really this myopic?  So the problem here is that there isn't a good backup, huh?

So basically they are saying that this offense is so technical only backs named Beanie Wells can comprehend it.  Which, if that were true, then they're stupid for not implementing a system that works for the players they have.  But if its not true then they can't draft/scout RBs, because they haven't put anyone back there that can figure it out.  So which is it?  Are you stupid, or just imcompetent at scouting?

But that really doesn't even matter, because the real problem is that this offensive system is crap.  And I mean the runny kind.  To actually think that they don't have depth at one of the least difficult positions to fill makes me want to punch holes in my wall.  You mean to tell me that Chris Ogbonnaya is a one in a million find, and the Cardinals missed out on him?  Or Kevin Smith is now all the sudden good?  Fred Jackson is now trying harder?  Marshawn Lynch finally gets the complex offense that Seattle runs?  Are you kidding me?  These guys are a dime a dozen... no 11 cents a dozen.  You can find them anywhere, and you don't even have to draft them.  Arian Foster is a perfect example of that.  He wasn't drafted and he's tearing it up.  Ben Tate, his backup, is producing just as good when he's out.  And if they both go down, Derrick Ward will be the next sensation in Houston.  How hard is this? 


I can think of two exceptions to that rule:  Adrian Peterson and Barry Sanders.  Those guys would be good anywhere.  No one else fits that.  NO ONE!  Not LeSean McCoy, Ray Rice, Emmitt Smith, or Marshall Faulk.  Running back should always be the last position you worry about.  But the Cards are so flippin' dumb, they've drafted 2 backs in the first 2 rounds in the last 2 years.  DUMB!  And then they further expose their nit wittedness, they say crap like, "these guys just aren't picking up the system."  I would hate to have to explain this to Whiz, because I'd be like Tom Hanks from League of their Own explaining how to hit the cut off man without making him cry.  "Okay Ken, so you hand the ball off... to the running back... and then he runs threw the hole.  Can you handle that?"

I wish we could trade Alfonso Smith to the Raiders for one game.  Let him start.  Then see what kind of numbers he would produce.  But even if he did great and then came back here and just "couldn't get it", I'm thinking the Cards brain trust would just shake there heads with their palms up clueless as to why he can't produce here. 


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Cards vs. Baltimore 10/30/11

Baltimore 30 Cards 27

Was anyone really surprised that Baltimore came back from a 21 point deficit?  Fitz said he was shocked.  A couple of the guys in the locker room looked shocked.  But, sadly, the rest of the Cardinal nation looked at the halftime score as another opportunity to break some records, which of course they did.  It was the largest comeback in Baltimore history.  Go Cards.

I actually liked the game plan better than in games past.  They relied heavy on the run, which kept the offense on the field.  They mixed up the run plays enough to get some yards against a difficult front seven.  They ended up splitting the time with the Ravens as far as possession, which is a major plus for this team.  And they contained the run against a shifty back; which is another weakness they’ve had this year.  The game was close because they did the right things to keep it close.  However, that doesn’t win you games. 

My last few posts have ranted about this offense, so I want to make it clear that I thought they played a lot better than people are going to remember.  Yes, they let the Ravens back in the game, but they also scored 27 points on a team that only gives up 14. (Ranked #1)  They ran on a team that doesn’t let you run. (Ranked #3)  Yes, Kolb stunk.  But I’d argue that he looked better.  I know that’s a tough argument since he threw under 50% and had a 68.2 QB rating.  But there were definite signs of growth. 

If this team had one glaring weakness it’s gotta be third down conversions.  Today they were 2-11 in that department.  This team could not get a big 3rd down conversion when they needed it.  Baltimore got two more than they did, and I think that was the difference in the game.  This team just doesn’t have that one or two plays that they can go to to get a first down.  I’m amazed that Fitz doesn’t have one for him, or that the TEs aren’t in on one.  That’s all these losses are gonna come down to: one or two important conversions.  They couldn’t buy one in the 3rd quarter.

I hate to say this, because I scream at the T.V. every time Whiz says it, but the players just weren’t executing today.  The game plan made sense.  But Kolb couldn’t complete the passes and the entire secondary couldn’t cover Q.  I give Whiz a pass on this game.  (Although he did trade one of their best secondary players for Kolb, but I’m trying to be nice)

I want to point out a couple positive and negative things about Kevin.  First the negative.  The first play of the game was a passing play.  Kolb drops back and pressure forms to his left.  He makes a stupid decision to run back to his left and takes a sack.  I watched the play like six times and the pressure to his right got pushed back behind him.  There were zero defenders in a huge hole to his front right.  Yet he ran backwards.  Why is he running away from the open gap and into the pressure?  This is a really bad sign that has sprung up a lot this season.  I don’t think Kevin has any idea what to do with pressure.  I mean he just goes brain dead when he thinks, key word: thinks, that there is pressure.  He’s actually ran away from defenders who weren’t even there.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, someone needs to hang a dress in his locker and tell him to man up in the pocket.  If this were NFL Head Coach he grades out to be a 37 on his pocket presence.  I need to say 37, because saying an F just doesn’t scream how bad this really is.
He also, still, does not understand that you have to get rid of the ball quick… hang on… let that word rest a bit… let me repeat it… quick… okay, I’m done.  I can’t believe that he truly thinks that he has all that time with THIS offensive line against THAT defense.  He took six sacks today and looked shocked that they were in his face.  Kevin Kolb holds onto the ball way too freaking long.  I’m glad he’s showing his manliness in the fire, but holy crud get rid of the ball!  More proof that he doesn’t get this offense.  AT ALL!

Some positives?  Well, even while I deservedly rip him for his happy feet, I thought his feet were less happy than in weeks past.  He seemed to step up into the pocket more and deliver some mediocre throws.  I even saw him step forward away from the pressure and throw the ball away.  James and I were so excited to see him look like a real NFL QB we actually cheered.  Also, he made a big 3rd down conversion late in the game.  The game was tied and they were deep in their own territory.  Kolb stepped up and took off for a five yard game that gave them a huge 1st down.  He took a big hit to knock him out of bounds.  Those kind of plays will win you player’s respect, the fan’s love, and sometimes games. 

Beanie played great again.  He had a couple of huge hits.  Its becoming an every week thing that he annihilates a defender.  I still think they should have ran more, but that’s just me being greedy.  Smith should have had some more carries.

Three catches for Fitz, huh?  Well, that has to be mostly attributed to the poor QB play, but you have to believe that he’s questioning signing that big contract here.  Especially after watching Q go off for the 5-2 Ravens. 

David Carter is a steal.   He’s like a bolt of energy on that line.  He’s exactly what this line needs.  But they need more of him.  Dockett and Campbell both played well again.  Campbell should be considered for the Pro Bowl. 

The LB corps played a heck of a game today.  Both rookies showed up big with sacks.  And Washington was his usual stud self.  I saw them overrun the gaps on two occasions, but for the most part they seemed to stay with Rice.  I felt like they team got away from what made them successful in the first half: which was getting to the QB.  They seemed to stay with four man rushes and it got Flacco back into the game.  It’s a shame because they really were getting to him early. 

The corners lost this game for them.  Jefferson was manhandled by Q, and Peterson didn’t fair much better.  A.W. played well again, which I’m ecstatic to see.  He had a few jarring hits that got me out of my seat.  Rashad Johnson was all over the field making tackles.  When these corners pick up their game, this team has a chance to win.  It seems the Cards can stop the run now, but haven’t been able to stop the pass all year.  Can I mention DRC again?  No?  Okay.

Special teams played awesome.  There were two monster hits to go along with PP21’s 2nd punt return for the year.  This has been a strength all year.

If they can continue to run the ball effective, provide Kolb with plays he can execute, continue to stop the run, teach the corners how to cover, and continue playing good special teams than this team can win.  But two of those five haven’t showed enough improvement for that to happen.  The Cards are officially in the Luck sweepstakes.  If they lose to the Rams next week they’ll only have to contend with Indi and Miami.  And I think both of them will win one or two games this year.  Its still early, but who knows.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Clearing the air on the whole 2nd WR thing.

This has to be one of the dumber arguments I've heard excusing this team from their incomepetence.  And yet, numerous times I've heard local guys say that the Cards blew it when they didn't land a good 2nd WR.  Really?  That's the problem?

First off, Early Doucet looked like a budding star under Kurt Warner.  I remember we started to call him Q Part II.  Let's ignore the frequent injuries for a sec.  So what happened?  Is he all the sudden not good anymore?  To say that he's bad now just further shows the disrespect for how great Kurt Warner was.  Doucet is a good enough WR.  He could be great, but in this offense no one is going to be.  Not even Fitz.  And if you don't believe me look at his numbers this year.  They're half of his potential.  Andre Roberts is just like every other 3rd WR out there.  He's kinda quick and can work the open field, but he needs help from his QB and other WR's. 

Now let's look at some other teams.  Are you really going to tell me that Mike Wallace has a great deal of help in Pitt?  Are Brown and Sanders really that much better?  Hines Ward is one of my favorite players of all time, but he certainly isn't getting Mike open.  Well, except for the wicked screens he sets.  No one is saying boo about those dudes because the QB play is so good. 

Can you name the number two WR in New England?  Deion Branch is hardly creating space for Wes Welker.  Welker is a product of Brady reading the D and exposing holes in their coverage.  Wes and Brady are completely on the same page.  And we can mention their TEs.  Do you really think if Gronkowski and Hernandez were hear in AZ that we'd be better?

Detroit's number two is Nate Burleson.  Do you really think he's the reason Calvin Johnson is so dominant?  Please. 

Is Malcolm Flloyd, (a guy the Cards took a look at), really making a difference for the Chargers?  What is Braylon Edwards doing in S.F.?  Yeah, that's right, nothing. 

The reason the Cards WRs aren't catching balls is simply because they are in an offense that doesn't play to their player's strengths.  And its not even the WRs that have the issues.  I've seen them open on numerous occasions and Kolb just either won't look at them or completely miss-throws it.  The truth of the matter is Kolb stinks in this offense.  He can't make the reads quick enough.  He hesitates for fear of making a mistake.  His confidence is crap.  Maybe one day he can get this, but right now they're breaking him down.  They should be building him up. 

In 2004, Big Ben threw for only 2600 yards and 17 TD's with a 66% completion percentage.  Meanwhile, they controlled the game on the ground running for 154 yards per game.  That accounts for 65% of the plays that season.  They took the pressure completely off of him for the whole season.  But what happened when the pressure came on?  He had all the confidence to go out and succeed.  That's how you build a QB, especially a young one.  Tom Brady took over an offense that realied heavy on the run too.  His numbers in 2001 were almost identical to Big Ben's: 2800 yards and 18TDs with a 64% completion percentage.  They ran about 50% of the time.   Its not rocket science.  You move the ball on the ground and let him get comfortable in the offense.  Then when he starts to show his talent you let the leash out. 

So this leads us back to the real problem:  who is calling all the pass plays that Kolb can't excecute?  And don't say Mike Miller.  He's just running the same offense Whiz tortured us with last year.  This falls completely in Whiz's lap.  He refuses to accept that his success with this offense was ONLY because of one Kurt Warner.  He's said so himself inderectly many times.  He is destroying this team and this good young QB.  And, sadly, he's flushing his career down the toilet.

Go Cards!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cards vs. Pittsburgh 10/23/11

Pittsburgh 32 Arizona 20

Beanie Wells got hurt again.  Kevin Kolb was disappointing again.  The backfield got burnt again.  Ken Whisenhunt looked bewildered again.  The Cards lost again.  But hey, it wasn't all bad.

The defense was dominant against the run again.  Once again we see them succeed against a RB corps that are north/south runners.  They tend to get killed against one cut backs, so hopefully they won't see too many of those any more.

I saw Kolb step up into the pocket more today.  He might have been inspired by Big Ben who made him look like a Sunday school girl with how tough he is.  That dude is a genious at creating something from nothing.  But more important, he steps up into the pocket and delivers a pass with 3 guys in his face.  Big Ben is a stud.  Kolb has a ways to go. 

It was great to see the Hyphen back.  He just adds so much to this team.  I envision him being a mini Darren Sproles for this offense. 

Its that time.  The season is over.  I would scrap all the extra crap that has hurt this team and just focus on the fundamentals.  I'd sit Porter and Hagans and let the kids learn on the job.  There is no way this team will catch S.F.  Especially after they lose to the Ravens next week.  I'd simplify the O and D so that the players could see a good margin of success and build on it through the year.  They need to grab a young RB from the wire to back up Alfonso Smith.  You never know, they might find another Blount or Foster.  Its asking a lot of a stubborn man, but they have to take the reigns from Whiz and scrap this pathetic offense.  They have no idea how to be successful doing it.  They seem to run well (DUH!), so hopefully they aim for more balance. 

I'm scared this team is going to fulfill a prophesy I joked about at the beginning of the season.  You know, lose just enough games to get the 1st pick only to beat Seattle in the season finale to lose it.  They've done it twice already.  I'm not saying this team should try to lose, but they should give all the future players the present.  A.W., Porter, and Haggans should be benched.  That would be the wise thing to do.  If they play this way to the end of the year they'll beat the Rams twice and probably Cleveland or Seattle.  That means they'd go 4-12 on the season.  That should land them at the 4th draft pick or so.  There's no point in playing the vets to win 3 more games.  With the kids they might win 1 or 2 and make a strong push for the 1st pick.  That would be a mighty nice gift to give Cowher when he signs a deal here to replace the fired Whisenhunt. (A man can dream right?)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Another meeting?

The Cards had another one of those accountability meetings.  I'm guessing that the next thing we're going to hear is a vote of confidence from the Bidwills for Whisenhunt.  Yeah, that's right, its the beginning of the end. 
But at least Coach Whiz reported that they had a good practice Monday.  Because he reported that every day last year and look how good they were. 

Dockett actually said that they were going to work 10x harder than they were before.  So let me get this straight, since you can only work at a 100% effort level, and you think you can work 10x harder, then you were only working at 10% effort level before?  That's so great to hear.  It actually looks like they were only working at about 10% last week against the Vikings, so I guess that's an accurate assessment.

It doesn't surprise me that the team doesn't put a ton of effort out there.  Ken is very much the coach that treats players like free men and not soldiers.  A soldier does what he is told and when he doesn't do it to the efficiency of his superior he gets verbally reamed and harshly disciplined.  The superior believes its his responsibility to get the soldier to the peek of efficiency so he's more likely to survive.  A free man, on the other hand, will only work to his own breaking point.  That is he will only put the effort level in that he feels is fine.  Rarely does a man push himself past what he thinks he can do on his own (Fitz is rare).  This is Ken's greatest strength and greatest weakness.  Men love to play for him because he places his trust them, but men also tend to lax when they feel they can get away with it. 

The comments from the media this week were interesting.  Many people heralded Coach Whiz for how he doesn't take things to the media.  In other words, he doesn't blast players publicly for failure.  I totally respect that, but it doesn't always yield results.  Remember Terry Glenn?  No single coach got more out of that guy than Bill Parcells.  And yet, while Terry and Bill were in New England together a reporter asked how Terry was recovering from his injuries.  Bill calmly looked at the reporter and said, "She's doing fine."  Most people think he went too far.  Maybe.  But when Bill went to Dallas, Terry immediately followed him.  I find it interesting that he was publicly humiliated by this man, and yet he wouldn't play under anyone else if given the choice.  The reason?  I think Terry knew Bill was right.  He was being a woman.

I'm not saying Coach Whiz should break character and behave like Bill Parcells.  He does need to stay true to who he is.  However, in all of professional sports men need to be held accountable.  So however he needs to do it (bench, berate, sick Dockett on him, whatever) he needs to get their attention.  Weekly. 

I heard Fitz say this week that we shouldn't be on Whiz over this, after all he he's not throwing balls, blocking, or whatever.  I hate when people say that.  If that's true then what the heck is the point of having a coach?  A coach's responsibility is to get the best out of his players.   He needs to push that player to the top.  And that usually means the player despises him for it.  No one likes discipline at the time, but afterwards it yields tremendous amounts of success.  (yes, I stole that line from the Bible)  I don't give a crap if he isn't blocking or tackling.  I want him grabbing a player by the face mask and spraying spittle in his face while chewing him out for missing a block.  I want a coach who's disappointed in a A.  I want a coach who wants an A+.  From every player.  I want a coach who cuts the scrub at halftime to send the message to his players that he won't tolerate failure.  Yeah, I know that very behavior drove Jimmie Johnson and Bill Cowher out of the game.  But they are going to go down as two of the best coaches to ever coach in the NFL.  That's what it takes to win. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Whisenhunt accepts blame for 1-4 start

Look, I know I recently said that I thought Coach Whiz isn't a good head football coach.  But you have to believe I want him to be.  He has such a cool demeanor, and he obviously has the respect of the players.  He has a lot of things to like. Except one glaring deficiency: he's blindly stubborn.  And that's what's killing this team right now.

I have to laugh when I hear countless media members say that Kolb just hasn't picked up the system fast enough.  Really?  You think?  The sad part is that they really think its Kolb that has the problem.  I haven't heard one media person question Whiz's offensive playbook.  Has it ever worked?  I mean apart from Warner?  This offensive playbook is 6-15 without Warner.  He has thrown Leinert, Anderson, Hall, Skelton, Bartell, and Kolb into the fire since then, only to see all of them fail miserably.  But not once has the media come out and said that this playbook is too complicated for any Card QB to master.  Wait, forget master, how bout just being average at it?

According to the Republic, today he said,
"But I know what I believe in, what we believe in, works. And I know you stick to it. I remember probably four years ago, a lot of people banging on us, saying we weren't a very good team, and we went to the Super Bowl. I believe in sticking with what we know works . . . We're going to continue to work the way that we know can be successful for us and at some point, it will start working."

Does anyone else see what I'm talking about?  He says that it worked 4 years ago (it was actually three) so it should work now.  In other words, Warner wasn't all that important to the success of that team and any other QB can just step in and should be successful.  That's stupid.  That's like saying Pete Myers should be able to fill Michael Jordan's shoes easy enough.  This is laughable stubborness.  Its not even the kind of stubborness that you admire.  Its the type that gets you fired and then ten years down the road you wonder why you didn't just change.

Let me comment on three years ago, by the way.  If I remember right, the Cards were one of the worst teams I've ever seen make the playoffs.  There division was bad and they were barely an average team.  The two things they had going for them was the Kurt/Fitz/Q/Breaston offense and that amazing run defense that showed up strongest at the end of the year.  They had little to no run game and were poor against the pass.  However DRC had just shown up and was starting to turn heads.  They go into the playoffs as a running joke and then do the unthinkable: they win.  I don't know what kind of magic Kurt had going, but he was unbelievable in those 4 games.  Larry was unguardable.  And they stuffed 3 of the top run teams in the NFL. 

But here's the problem: Whiz thought it was his system that won it.  Really?  First of all, it was Tod Haley's system.  And secondly, it only works with Kurt.  Whiz got high off of that offense and never came down to reality.  My buddy James had a great analogy for this.  Have you ever played a pick up basketball game with a guy that really sucks?  Then on his first 3 point attempt he gets lucky and makes it and stares everybody down like he's a good player.  Only to see him gain some misguided confidence and then miss his next 13 shots... badly.  James and I would always look at each other with pained expressions when that guy would hit his first shot, because we knew the rest of the game he was under the impression that he should keep going with what worked.  That's Whiz right now.  He got lucky.  ONCE.  He had a good one year run (literally, from the playoffs of 08 to the playoffs of 09.  There's no way you can argue they had a good regular season in 08.  In week 15 of 08 they got beat 35 to 14 by the Vikings, then in week 16 they got beat 47 to 7 by the Patriots)  After an amazing Superbowl run, he gained some misguided confidence in his system.  He arrogantly thought he could hand it over to Matt Leneirt only to shamefully mishandle him.  He then thought he could get D.A. to do it.  Only to become the laughing stock of the NFL.  This system isn't built for anyone but Warner, but Whiz is too stubborn/arrogant to modify to a new QB. 
Again, I truly hope that Whiz humbles himself enough to hire a real O.C. that can come in and mold an offense around this team (Jim Fassell?)  But I don't see him doing it.  Sadly, he's going to get fired.  And the worst part about it is the Bidwell's will go right back to the way they use to be and hire some nitwit that will get fired at the end of his contract.  And then we'll all be truly back to the same old Cards.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Cards vs. Minnesota 10/9/11

Minnesota 34  Arizona 10

The kind of progress that Kevin Kolb is making this year makes you wonder if Derek Anderson was really all that bad last year.  I mean there is no question that D.A. got worse and worse as the season progressed, but there is also no question that Kolb is getting worse.  I just wonder if D.A.s outcome might have been different under a coach who knew how to get a lot out of a QB.  And as it comes down to how to handle and new QB, Ken Whisenhunt has shown zero competency in that department. 

I've been teaching math for about 7 years to the non-accelerated students.  That is to say, your above average to lowest students. When working with students who don't easily grasp new concepts you have to simplify the content early.  The reason for this is that when a struggling student handles concepts that they hadn't previously been able to grasp, the class starts to slow down for them.  As they see success build over time they start to gain confidence.  Some students even can go from being mainstream to honors if they are truly gifted in the area.  However, if they feel like the class is going too fast and they don't understand the material, their minds jump ship.  You have to hit the breaks quick and restart from day 1 if you want to recapture them, but you'll be fighting a new issue.  They already feel like they suck, but now they start to lose hope for success.  Once that sets in, you've lost them. 

That's where Kolb is right now. (And similarly, D.A. was last year at this point)  Ken Whisenhunt has shoved so much material down his throat that he can't function normally.  The game starts to speed up.  He starts to question himself.  He loses confidence.  And one bad throw makes him wonder if he's really cut out for this.  Coach lost him.  Now, you can of course get him back, but to do it you'll have to go back to Day 1 and start witht the basic stuff.  Aka fundamentals.  Like handing the ball off.  A proper 3 step drop or a 5 step drop followed by STEPPING UP INTO THE POCKET!  Good selling of play action.  Progressing through reads.  And while working on that, relying heavily on a run offense that takes tons of pressure off him.  This should allow for the game to slow down and allow his confidence to increase.  Now it is possible that he may just have average gifts at the QB position so you might expect him to only become and average QB.  But at least he'll be reaching his potential.  There's not a professional out there worth a lick that says that Kolb is playing up to his potential right now.  I would even rate him as one of the three worst QB in the league right now.  Right there with McNabb, Gabbert, or even Cassell.  The question then remains; who has failed to put Kolb into a position of success?  Well, the head coach always deserves the blame for that. 

Hope and confidence are two very different things.  Hope is something that can exist in spite of the circumstances.  So I have 'hope' that Coach Whiz can right this ship and turn this season around.  Confidence, on the other hand, is something based off of prior experience.  So my 'confidence' is extremely low that Coach Whiz will turn this around.  He doesn't show any signs of changing his precious offense that has done nothing in a Kurt Warnerless state.  He pushes it down every new QB's throat and then hangs them out to dry.  May the roast for Kevin Kolb soon begin. 

I for one feel that Kolb should be an above average QB.  When given the right guidance he could be a potential star.  But that will never happen at this rate, and he might fall into the trap of what happened to other potential star QB's that had coaches destroy them.  To name a few: David Carr, Alex Smith, and saddest of all for me, Jake Plummer.

To talk about the rest of this team right now is a waste of time.  Ken Whisenhunt put his job on the line when he overpaid for Kolb.  Right now it looks like its going to cost him that very thing.

Two other thoughts:

Favorite quote of the day: (slightly paraphrased cuz I'm going on memory)
"I guarantee Kevin Kolb's package is 5 times bigger than Cam Newton's." 
-Tim Ryan

Favorite hit of the day:  Beanie bounced a run outside (shocker) and hit a Viking player so hard that his helmet exploded off of his head.  They replayed it like 3 times and each time everyone lost there breath at how ferocious the impact was.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


I just read this and thought it was interesting.  The Cards are currently 15th in rushing yards.  They are also 15th in rushing defense.  Better than half after just one good week.  It makes me wonder where they would have been if they had played like this from day one in training camp.  (By 'playing like this', I mean doing well in the running department for O and D.  I'm not referring to how they hand games away in the 4th quarter.)

I should also clarify that even though this lost this last game, I'm not terribly disappointed.  I was disappointed after the Washington and Seattle losses.  Heck I was disgusted after the win against Carolina.  This is the first week I'm not embarassed to be a Cards fan in a long long time.  Yes the loss hurt, but we ran the football.  And I mean we ran it like a real football team.  Its probably the best running performance by a Cards RB and O-line since Edgerrin James ran for 128 in Sept. 2007 against the Seahawks.  Timmy's 140+ against the pathetic Broncos last year wasn't even close to this one.  I truly hope that Whiz has woken up from his slumber since being the OC in Pittsburgh and will finally run the football.  (However, Minnesota is 5th against the rush, so I'm going to temper my expectations.  Wait, I'm a Cardinal fan.  That's like saying I need to remember to breathe.)

By the way, even though I thought they might lose to both Seattle and N.Y., I think they will throttle Minnesota.  I've got that feeling you get when you see the big quiet kid getting ready to take out a few years of frustration on the next person that gets in his way.  Let's hope he stays frustrated till February.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Cards vs. N.Y Giants 10/2/11

Giants 31  Cardinals 27

I should start off by saying I actually like Kevin Kolb.  I think he's going to be good.  He has great leadership tendencies and has a rocket launcher type arm.  So I just want to be clear, I like him.  Okay?  Okay.  Now that we have that clear; he sucks.  Bad.  Right now, he is absolutely losing the games for the Cards.  I am stunned that he hasn't been pulled to the sidelines and ripped an new exit hole for how bad he's playing.  In the preseason I was very concerned at how long he tended to hold on to the ball.  He seemed to be waiting for the perfect play to open up.  I initially wanted him to get rid of the ball quickly because I thought this line was going to get him killed.  Well, I was wrong.  This line is keeping him alive in spite of him.  Now I want him to throw the ball because receivers are open.

There are two things glaringly wrong with him right now.  1) His pocket presense and 2) his reads.  Too many times in the last few games he has refused to step into the pocket and would instead flush himself out to throw the ball away.  He gets intentional groundings weekly now.  It was so bad today that even Goose and Moose were ripping him nationally for abandoning his line.  He's got happy feet.  He's playing like a wuss.  And its killing this team.  Kevin: Step up into the pocket and make a completion.

His second problem is that he isn't firing the ball in there.  I really have no idea why.  It could be because he's nervous of a pick, but I refuse to believe its his receivers anymore.  They are wide open sometimes and he doesn't even see them.  He's staring down his receivers and DB's are starting to pick up on it.  Wait, no, they totally are locked into him from week 2 on.  Kolb is terrible right now.  He is the partial reason this team lost last week and he is the main reason they lost this week.  Yes, he has to learn the offense, but Tarvaris Jackson looks better than him right now.  Cam Newton looks better than him right now.  Freaking Andy Daulton looks better than him right now.  None of those guys were with their teams before this year either.  Let's face it.  Right now Kevin Kolb is one of the worst starting QB's out there. 

That being said I wouldn't trade him for any of those guys.  Whisenhunt just needs to get his attention.  Whether that be a butt kicking, or a benching I don't know.  But this can't continue.  However this game had a different component for a Cardinals loss.

I am very much the type of person that would rather ridicule my own team than give credit to the other team.  I also don't like to spend much time on bad officiating because it usually balances out for both teams.  That being said the refs handed the game to the Giants in the 4th quarter.  Victor Cruz makes a reception with about 2 and half minutes on the clock.  They have no time outs and they were down 3 points.  During the run he stumbles to the ground.  No Cardinal player touches him.  Thinking that he is down he drops the ball and walks away.  The Cards defenders realize the ball is live and pounce on it.  No one touched him.  The officials say he was down even though no one touched him.  Coach Whiz throws the challenge flag.  The officials say that because Cruz had 'given himself up' the play couldn't be reviewed.  The league official that commentates on live games came on with Moose and Goose and said the officials completely blew the call.  That should have been Cardinal ball.  Game over.  He said it was a no brainer.  Later this week the NFL offices will officially release a statement: "Oops, sorry about that."  Sigh.  Only the Cards.

Apart from all the above, the Cards played a hell of a game today.  Beanie and the offensive line were monsters today.  Beanie gained 138 yards on 32 carries with 3 TDs.  Absolutely amazing football.  Levi Brown and D. Colledge ran over them for most of the game.  Even Fitz was blocking the snot out of guys.  They owned the Giants defensive line.  They still stink on big conversion downs.  But I mostly attribute that to shoddy play calling and poor QB play. 

The defense kicked the crap out of the Giants rushing offense.  Campbell, Carter, Williams, and Dockett just owned them.  They held the Giants to 54 yards rushing on 24 plays.  I noticed the LB's don't seem to have a problem playing run defense against an offense that doesn't rely on a one cut back.  Teams should note that and take advantage of the Cards undiscipline.  But the Giants didn't.  The Cards rush defense was absolutely stellar today.  Pass defensewise... not so much.  They only got one sack, and had very little pressure  The biggest problem was when the Cards needed a big defensive play in the 4th and they got zero pressure on Eli.  He responded by ripping them to shreds.  He threw for 321 yards, but I didn't see the DB's get beat much at all.  It just seemed the Giants WRs made great plays.  PP21 and A.J. played much tighter D than the last 3 weeks.  As the season progresses, I see them both becoming lock down corners.  Even A.W. played great today. 

Whiz has a bigger problem on his hands.  He's about to lose his job.  This team is 1-3 and should be 3-1.  He sold the Cardinals brass that Kolb would solve the problems from last year.  Instead, this year looks eerily similar to last year.  Bad QB play.  Plus Kolb is getting worse.  That stinks of bad coaching.  Do I think he will get fired this year?  No.  He gets to ride the wave of 2 playoff appearances and a Superbowl appearance.  But how long did Bob Brenly get to ride a World Series victory before he was let go?   It won't be long till the national media picks up on that and he's in the hot seat.  Then its all over.  Only Tom Coughlin and Norv Turner seemed to escape that seat in recent years.  And they were going to the playoffs.  My only light of hope in all this is the Cards actually ran the ball well today.  If that becomes a trend, then this team will turn it around.  If they go back to throwing 60% of the time then they will lose.  Its just, they won't lose enough to get Luck.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Cards vs. Seattle 9/25/11

I'm not going to spend much time on this blog today for two reasons; 1) I'm only going to say what I've said for 19 games in a row and 2) I'm going to vomit if I talk about this much longer.  The Cardinals lost to easily the worst team in football.  Yes, the Vikings and Jaguars are bad, but this Seattle team is a special kind of bad.  At least the Vikings and Jags have a semblence of a running game.  But this Seattle team was a special kind of useless, averaging 47 yards rushing per game.  And yes, that puts them dead last.  Oh but wait, here come those Cards.  They give up 122 yards on 30 carries and make them look like a real NFL team.  On top of that they make Tarvaris Jackson look like a D rated QB, and not the F- that he really is.  They make the Seattle D look like world beaters.  They deserved to lose and are a bottom five team in the NFL.  Again. And Ken Whisenhunt should be firmly planted on the hot seat.

Kevin Kolb played 2 different halves.  The first half he was as usual.  He was very accurate and lead his team well.  They ran some no huddle and had moderate success.  However, his pass to Fitz in the 2nd quarter was unquestionably stupid.  I know its Fitz, but he got lucky that wasn't picked off. The second half he was... well lets just say my two year old had to leave the room because Daddy was yelling at the T.V., slapping the couch, and screaming into a pillow.  I don't know what happened out there today, but either the Seattle secondary played the half of their lives, the Cardinals receivers couldn't get open, or Kolb was blinded by the half shadowed field and couldn't find them.  He would have made Kurt Warner cringe at how long he held the ball to find a receiver.  All to often he avoided the pocket and made errant throws.  He was just plain bad.  He missed Doucet once and, as the announcers pointed out, no one was within 15 yards of him.   He's going to try to shoulder the blame for this one, and for sure he owns a good chunk of it, but I'm done blaming the players for this train wreck. 

Chester looked old.  He's done.  I'd cut him now and pick up a younger player out there.  Alfonso Smith hit holes hard.  He has great speed.  He looks like a poor man's Chris Johnson.  He showed O.K. hands and picked up the blitzes pretty well.  As for Beanie, who was hurt... again, it's time to close the curtain on this one.  He's too unreliable health wise and fumble wise.

WRs couldn't get open all day.  At some point it is either personel or scheme.  I'd say a little of both.  The TEs were used somewhat downfield, but nothing amazing.  Kolb and Fitz still have great chemistry.

The line was both good and bad.  Levi Brown needs a TE pinned to his side to help.  He's useless in pass protection.  Although Kolb didn't help by not stepping up into the hole which has got to be frustrating for a lineman.  However they did make holes for Smith and showed promise although once again the run was hardly used.  Not a bad job today.  Plus, with as long as Kolb held the ball int he 2nd half they were blocking the snot out of Seattle.

D line looked great again.  Calais had the 2.5 sacks and Dockett was disruptive.  I thought they exploded off the line better in the 2nd half as they did a much better job of blowing up the run plays.  Campbell was everywhere. 

I asked my friend to count this time, just to prove that I wasn't crazy, how many times LB's overran their gaps.  He counted 7 in the first half, which is essentially what I got.  And its the whole corps that looks bad.  In the 2nd, though, they looked much better.  Stewart Bradley shouldn't be playing though against the run yet.  He looks lost.  He's fine in coverage. In fact they should move him to safety and put A.W. at LB. 

Jefferson looks better and better every week.  He's really hanging with the WRs.  Peterson looks O.K., but someone needs to tell me why they hang back 10 yards off of the WRs.  I mean, the point of this D is to put pressure on the QB.  So the logically counter attack would be to make quick throws.  So don't you want the CBs bumping at the line and disrupting the play?  I guess they aren't good enough yet, but they gave up a lot of first downs because they gave up so much space.  I didn't see much of Rhodes today.  A.W. wasn't totally terrible.  That Rice catch was a freak catch.  A.W. made a monster edge setter in the 1st.  He needs to be closer to the line.  (Is there an echo?)

Special teams was a sour topic today.  Feely missed two big kicks but both were into swirling winds.  I don't blame him for today.  A.J. looked solid on kickoffs.  He should take one to the house this year.

I know I beat this stat to death, but I think its important.  The Cards threw the ball 60% of the time today, and that's misleading because Kolb scrambled 3 times (so actually its 64%)  And they lost again, essentially bringing their total to 0-13 when throwing 60% or more.  I'll say it again.  This team has to run the ball to be consistant.  They controlled the game when they ran the ball.  And since they don't have Kolb up to the level of a Brady or Manning or Rodgers they need to take the pressure off him by running. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ken Whisenhunt Report Card

This pains me to admit, because I have defended him since day 1, but up to this point Ken Whisenhunt has been a bad head football coach.  He has no idea how to run an offense without Bill Cowher or Kurt Warner.  He makes no commitment to running the football, and when he finally does, its at the wrong time.  He's never been better than 28th in rushing in the league.  He forced D.A., Hall, Skelton, and Bartell on us last year and had them throw the ball more than 2/3 of the time.  Matt Leinert got worse here.  Outside of Kurt Warner, no QBs have ever gotten better.  His offensive line never gets better.  Last year experts were raving that this line was deep and going to be good.  Instead they turned out to be horrible.  He never used his TEs, and then when he finally does he goes and gets three of them.  Sure the WR have done O.K.  But Fitz is going to be great no matter what.  And Q was going to be tough no matter what.  And Breaston ran from here to the guy that he thought was the real reason he was successful:  Todd Haley.    

Apart from the magical run to the Superbowl, he can't get a team to stop the run either.  He's hired lame Defensive Coordinators in Pendergast and Davis.  And while I like Horton, it appears that he is also falling victim to the curse here.  A.W. gets worse by the week and never sees the bench and I'm starting to see signs that Paris Lenon and Rhodes, the two guys that came outside of the organization last year, are starting to come apart.  So if DRC plays undisciplined last year and you trade him, then what do you do when your entire team does? 

Coach Whiz has shown nothing apart from Warner.  His players play undisciplined and their seems to be little or no consequence when they do.  His teams are plagued with penalties and turnovers.  He loses games that very few could.  It was Seattle today, it was Seattle, S.F. and Carolina last year.  It will continue.  This team won't turn the corner.  They will just keep us on edge thinking that they have only to prove the next week they really haven't. 

 I used to think it was both Whiz and Kurt who turned the franchise around.  Instead, it appears the it was only Kurt, and he's gone now.  That leaves us seeing Whiz for what he really is.  A calm coach who thinks that you have to throw to win no matter who's at QB.  Defense isn't all that important.  And it's the players fault for not executing.  Well, who put those players in that position?  And the big question: why aren't your players getting better?

This franchise has had a long run at being inept.  You can never tell if the coach or player is really bad untill they leave.  It turns out that every head coach here died on the vine.  Tobin, Buddy, and Denny never coached again.  Bugel and Coach Mac coached limited roles.  Head coaching here is a career killer.  I truly wished that Ken Whisenhunt would escape the trap, but it doesn't look like its going to turn out that way.  I've seen nothing in the last 19 games to indicate that he's going to figure it out.  Going on that, he'll finish 5-11 again and get fired at the end of the year.  Only to be replaced by the next guy this franchise will destroy.  From 1976 to 2007 they only went to the playoffs once. (minus that strike year)  Sadly we might be looking at another 30 year run.  

Same old Cards

They're back.  That old team that made you believe they could do something only to rip defeat from the jaws of victory are alive and well.  Losing to the worst team in football logically makes you the worst team.  There is no explanation as to why they lost to this dreadful Seahawks team other than "they are who we thought they were." 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Bracing for embarassment

I don't know about you, but I get the sense that the Cards are ripe for a loss to the worst team in the NFL.  They should beat the woeful Seahawks by 3 or 4 TD's, but when do the Cards actually do what they should do?  I'm guessing that Tarvaris Jackson will look like a real NFL QB only to be abysmal for the rest of the year.  Of course, he'll look good again against the Cards late in the season.  If Lynch has a big game all us Cards fans should jump off the proverbial bridge.  The Hawks O-line is lousy.  Lynch currently has 44 rushing yards on 19 carries in 2 games.  In case you suck at math, that's pretty bad.

My friend who's a huge fan of Seattle will be pissed if the Hawks win.  He just ordered his Andrew Luck Seahawks jersey.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Cards vs. Washington 9/18/11

I'm not one to really ever give credit to the other team.  And no, I'm certainly not going to start now.  The Cardinals played terrible.  Shoot, this whole game was awful.  The officiating was unprofessional. (how many times did they call the wrong number?  And I swear I saw a ball bounce 2 feet in front of a receiver and they called it a catch)  And the commentators must have been practicing with the Cards all week, because they were just as unprepared.  I mean they didn't even say anything when the Cards blocked a FG.  One time they actually said that "Whisenhunt likes to run the ball."  What the?  What team did you prepare for?  This team hasn't "liked to run the ball" since Ronald Moore days.

I guess you can chalk this one up as another terrible east coast game, or another game where they threw the ball too much, or another game where the linebackers overpursued their gap and got slammed by the cutback.  This game reminded me a lot of last year, minus a crappy QB.  I just don't get it.  When is Whisenhunt going to learn that you actually have to run the ball more than just one quarter?  Wait, let me do a quick stat check...  Okay they threw the ball 69% of the time.  69%!  Which of course means they only ran the ball 31% of the time.  Oh and they ran the ball 3 times in the first half.  3 times!  Which of course lead to them getting off the field quick, which gave Washington the ball who actually ran the ball a lot and at one point had the ball for 18 minutes while the Cards had it for 2.  2!  (those exclamation marks are real, I'm actually yelling). 

Just to clarify, for the 20th time, the Cards suck when they throw that much.  I mean they suck bad.  In the last 12 games in which the Cardinals threw the ball 60% or more they are 0-12.  Contrast that with that in the last 5 games in which they threw less than 60%, they are 5-0.  How freaking obvious is this?  (Sorry, my daughter just scolded me for saying freaking, aka the 'f''word)

Kevin Kolb played well again.  He threw for just under 60% completion.  This would have been higher if account for the dropped balls.  He made good reads and took a monster hit to get the ball to Fitz for the 73 yard TD.  One thing I did see that was troublesome.  He has way too much confidence in that O-line.  He held on to the ball too long some times and paid for it.  I love his guts, but he has to get rid of that ball sooner.  Even just to throw it away.  We need him around for the long haul. 

How much longer is Russ Grimm referred to as a good coach?  His line has leaks everywhere.  Levi Brown and Brandon Keith appear to be getting worse.  I know Washington blitzed a lot, but so did we and we didn't get that kind of pressure on their QB.  These are the wrong guys for this offense.  If they are going to throw so much then send these guys to the Jets, Ravens, Steelers, or even Atlanta where they can do somebody some good.  They just can't pass block.  I wish they would actually run with them, because I think they would tear it up, but that just doesn't seem to be in the plans.  Right now the Cards are in a pass oriented offense with run oriented linemen.  That makes no sense.  I don't blame Grimmy for the play calling.  I blame Grimmy for not slapping Whiz on the back of the head and telling him to wake up.

Jeff King made another huge TD play.  At this rate he'll have 16 TD's by the end of the year.  The WR looked average.  Fitz was a monster like usual with his 133 yards and a 73 yard TD.  But the others looked lost.  Roberts and Doucet missed some gimme passes with 13 targets, but only 5 receptions for exactly 10 yards per catch.  Stuckey fumbled that ball at the end.  I guy with that name should never fumble.

Beanie was the great again.  14 carries for 93 yards.  I'm pretty sure most of it came in the 3rd Quarter when the Cards actually played real football.  He ran well inside and of course ran well outside.  He had good vision and some more highlight stiff-arms.  But, and this is a big but... someone needs to teach that dude how to stay balanced because he falls down a lot.  My buddy always texts me that the grass tripped Beanie again.  He would have had way more yards if he could just keep his feet.

The D line looked good again.  I like the pressure they get on the QB without the help of their LB's. Calais and Dockett had 5 QB hits together and no sacks.  I wish they could get to the QB more, but I think the LB's haven't given them enough help to free them up. 

All last year I was yelling at the Bill Davis through the T.V. to teach his LB's some discipline.  How many times last year did the LB's run past their assigned gap because they over pursued the run only to have the RB make one cut back for a big gain?  I don't know either, but it was a lot.  I saw it again today in the 1st, 2nd, and 4th quarter.  For some unexplained reason, they actually played well in the 3rd.  Oh wait, nevermind.  I know why.  Because the offense actually ran the ball in the 3rd allowing the D to get rest. Which of course meant that when they were in the game they didn't feel like they needed to make a big play to get them off the field.  Hightower must have been drueling when he saw them on the schedule.  Cut backs galore.  I thought Porter, Haggans, Lenon, and partly Bradley cost them this game with their poor play.

Well at least the good news is that the DB's played better.  They actually held a QB to under 300 yards passing.  And considering what's happened these first two weeks, that's an actual achievement.  Look, the two rookies played O.K.  PP21 still doesn't seem to trust that the D line is going to put pressure on the QB, because he gives up too much space.  But all in all, they played well enough to keep them in the game.  Rhodes was a man on fire... again.  This guys just keeps showing up and makes big plays.  I'm convinced though that A.W. should never drop back into pass coverage again.  Yes, I saw the INT.  But did you see him give up another big TD to Moss?  He just isn't ready to be back there for whatever reason.  Although I hesitate to be too critical, as the entire NFL DB's are getting torched.  But I'm talking in isolation here.  He just isn't playing well back there.  He needs to be close to the line and getting after the QB. 

Calais Campbell is tall.  And has long arms.  And is a freak of nature athletically.  And is a monster at blocking FG's.  The rest of the special teams was okie dokie.  The rookie DB's put together a couple of nice run backs.

In a game where the Skins had the ball 66% of the game, this score was misleading.  If Grossman didn't suck so bad, this might have been a lot worse.  The Cards stunk the place up in the first half and were only down 3 points.  They shouldn't have been in the game after that.  I like that they were anyway.  I'm glad this was close.  But this one falls on coach Whiz once again for not committing to the run and leaving his D out there way too long. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Cards vs. Carolina 9/11/11

What a difference a year makes.  Last year at this time, the Cardinals had just barely won a game against the St. Louis Rams 17-13.  Derek Anderson threw for 297 yards and 1 TD on 22/41 (54%) and a QB rating of 85.1.  Many of his misses were 10 feet away from the nearest receiver.  They ended up running the ball on 33% of the total plays.  You left the game feeling like, "I sure hope they don't throw the ball that much every game with D.A."  Ahhhh, false hopes.  A Cardinal mainstay.

Warp ahead a year later and you get another Cardinal win against Carolina 28-21.  Kevin Kolb throws for 309 yards and 2 TDs on 18/27 (67%) and a QB rating of 130.0.  He played a very good game and made some Kurt Warner like quick reads.  One to Early Doucet went 70 yards on a big play.  However this time they ran the ball 46% of the total plays.  There was good balance throughout the game.  Play action was far more believable and they seemed to gain some rythem from it. 

There is no doubt Kolb is a gigantic upgrade from last year.  He looks like he knows how to spread the ball around.  He took 7 shots at Fitz, but could only connect on 3 of them as he was double teamed for most of the game.  The other WR and TE seemed to pick up the slack and Kolb found them often.  His 67 completion percentage is dreamy as was his no INTs.  He looked lost on a couple of plays in which he prematurely jumped out of the pocket.  However he did get rid of the ball better than he did in preseason to alleviate too many needless hits.  On one play he avoided the rush to find Jeff King wide open for a 48 yard TD.  He is making plays with his head first and then his feet.  An amazing commodity to have at QB.

(Sidenote:  If Cam Newton continues to play like he did today, I'm gonna look like an idiot for saying he's "the next Vince Young only smarter".  Vince Young, heck, he looked more like Steve Young.)

The RBs in last years game had 20 carries for 103 yards and 1TD, while this year they had 21 carries for 100 yards and 1TD.  When looking at those numbers there seems to be little to no difference.  And yet anyone that watched the game knows that wasn't the case.  As I mentioned earlier this year they ran the ball 46% of the time as opposed to last year at 33%.   (Last year they only ran the ball 46% or more on three occasions: Oakland, Denver, and Dallas.  All three were Cardinal wins)  They had a more balanced attack and actually established the run early.  Every QB wants a good run game to take off the heat on his receivers.  That's just what happened.  Beanie ran well, and too my utter surprise, ran the ball off center on numerous occasions.  Last year he bumped too many plays outside.  It was nice to see a more direct attack from the RB position to set up the play action.  I would be remiss if I didn't mention Beanie's huge fumble in the red zone.  That dude has terrible ball security and refuses to fix it.  I'm wondering if we'll see a good dose of Chester Taylor some time soon to send a message. 

The O-Line held well.  Levi Brown gave up some sacks, but for the most part they looked good.  They gave Beanie a couple of huge holes to run through, especially on the goal line.  That should build his confidence in them to trust running up the gut.  We'll see if they stick to that.  Pass protection wasn't bad. 

The WR and TE did a great job today.  Last year 6 receivers caught 2-4 completions and this year 6 receivers caught 2-4 completions.  The major, and I stress major, difference is that there were 41 balls thrown last year as opposed to 27 this year.  Also D.A. missed guys by a mile, I swear one went 10 feet above Fitz's head, leaving the whole squad with an enormous lack of confidence.  Kolb place the balls well and at least a couple were catchable balls that the receivers dropped.  Still, they made huge plays when needed.  The stats tell the tale; Doucet with a 70 yard TD, King with a 48 yard TD, and Fitz with a big 34 yard 3rd down conversion. 

Special Teams were money again.  All last year they gave the Cards a chance to win some games.  This year it was Patrick Peterson's 89 yard game winning TD.  The Hyphen gave them two good returns which is admireable this year with the new kickoff spot.

The D line looked great again.  Again the stats: Carolina ran the ball  27 times for 74 yards for 2.7 yd/carry and a TD.  The longest carry was Stewart's 13 yards scamper.  That is good solid run D.  They put pressure on Newton all day forcing him out of the pocket.  Both Carter and Dan Williams made big plays while Dockett and Campbell made themselves known.  However, this D thrives on the line getting pressure and sacks on the QB.  Zero sacks isn't satisfactory and it exposed Patrick Peterson today.  While I'm happy with some of it, I'm afraid I feel like it wasn't good enough.

The LB corps played very well.  For being the supposed weak spot of this team they sure seemed to play unaware of that opinion.  Darryl Washington was a monster with a .5 sack 7 tackles, one for a loss, a pass deflected and a big INT.  He would have had to INTs but the ref saw something no one else on the planet saw when he called Marshall for a bad hit on Newton.  A few plays later the Panthers scored a TD. After the game Whiz said he was never told what the call was.  It was one of those plays that the Cardinals used to fold under.  This year Washington just came up with a bigger play.  Porter had one dumb offsides at the end with no harm done thanks to Paris Lenon (again).  The rest of the game he was his former self putting tons of pressure on Newton (1 sack and 2 QB hits)  Schofield some plays.  Paris Lenon, once again, quietly lead the team in tackles and had a sack and a game saving tackle.  Ho - hum for the most underated LB in football.

The Defensive Backs were dreadful in this game.  And trust me, I'm not saying that because I thought Cam wouldn't be very good, and instead was a nightmare.  I give Cam all the credit in the world for looking like a real NFL QB.  In fact, after this game, he might have won a little part of me over.(but that's no different than Vince Young)  No, I mean the cornerbacks played aweful.  Correction: Peterson played aweful.  He was rarely within 3 yards of his receiver and gave up huge plays left and right.  He must learn to stay closer or we're looking at another Antrel Rolle.  That is, eventually he'll move to safety.  This team needs good corners to stick with receivers.  They don't have to stay long, but longer than PP21 did today.  Jefferson played well enough against a scrub WR.  A.W. made a good appearance, but once again Rhodes outshone him.  Yes, I know Rhodes gave up a huge TD by letting Steve Smith get by him.  Although it looked like A.W. was supposed to give help over the top.  Even with that he was a stud out there.  7 tackles, a sack, a QB hit and a tackle for a loss.  He continues to play tough and lead this backfield.    

All in all, not a bad game considering the offseason.  Also we should consider that this is a better Carolina team than the one that beat the Cards last year.  They are showing they are not the 5-11 team last year.  The Cards do need improvement in most areas, but its a far cry better than this time last year.  (Also, I am elated that they looked up the word 'balance' in the dictionary.)