Sunday, December 16, 2012

How to fix the Az. Cardinals

To fix the Cards offense you’d need a complete overhaul of the philosophy.  Here’s my stab at the fix.

1.  Fire Whiz.  He’s done here.  He won’t change.  He just said so.  When Wolfley asked him if he could fix the Cards after they lost 58-0 to the Hawks he said that we already knew the answer to it.  After all, he brought the Cards to the Super Bowl and won 4 playoff games.  He then said they just need to keep doing what they’ve been doing because it’s the right thing.  Wow.  That’s arrogant.  After placing in the bottom 5 in offense 2 of the last 3 years you want to keep doing what you’re doing?  And what about Kurt Warner?  Sheez.  Whiz truly believes that it was his ‘offense’ that took them to the Super Bowl and not the future Hall of Famer.  After all these years of listening to Whiz’s ‘spin’, I’ve had to conjure a new word to describe him:  stubbordumb. 

2.  Fire Graves.  He gave full authority to Whiz and did nothing to stop the train wreck of the last 3 seasons.  I don’t care if Whiz had full authority of the roster.  It’s Graves’ fault for giving it to him.  His drafting in the first three rounds has been suspect.  Although, he’s come up with some gems in the late rounds.  His signing of Snyder is down right pitiful.   In summary, his cons far out way his pros at this point.

3a.  Hire Steve Keim as GM.  I suspect he’s been an integral part of the later round finds.  And so I’m leaning towards giving him a chance as the ‘Man’.  However, if he agreed with either signing Snyder to that ridiculous contract or drafting Michael Floyd, then I say no way.  He’s well respected around the league and so I’d love to get more facts about the guy: draft philosophies, FA thoughts, communication skills to pull trades…

3b.  Hire Bill Polian.  Why not?  The guy turned Buffalo into a powerhouse and made Carolina into a legit team almost overnight.  I’m suspect of his work in Indi, but there’s enough body of work here to give him a shot.  It all hinges on his offensive philosophies when you don’t have an elite QB.  If he thinks you should throw the ball like Whiz does then I’d pass on him.  But if he’s a believer in what S.F., Seattle, and Minnesota are doing then I want him.

4.  Hire Ray Horton as HC.  I’m assuming Bill Cowher isn’t gonna coach anytime soon.  If he was then I’d throw the money at him.  And although I like John Gruden, I’m not his biggest fan.  I like how he won without an elite QB though.  That says a lot about him.  So I’d put some feelers out for him.  As for Ray, he’ll be gone this year if he isn’t the HC.  He’s proven he can lead the players.  He’s a bit fiery, but I think it will translate well. 

5.  Fire the entire offensive coaching staff.  They suck.  The new OC can keep who he wants.

6a.  Hire Tom Cable as the OC.  He’s a proven Oline genius.  He’s a run first kinda guy, and since this team doesn’t have an elite QB, that’s what they need.  I’m not sure how good he is at calling plays.  That needs to be investigated first, but the coaching aspect is all plusses.  Also, taking him away from Seattle as the assistant coach will severely hurt them.  That helps us.

6b.  Hire Norv Turner.  He seems more interesting than Cable.  If Cable does a good job in Az. I think he’ll be looking to move to a HC job somewhere.  However, if Turner does well here, he’s staying put.  Turner should never be a HC again.  I think it’s been driven out of the man.  That means he might pull a Dick LeBeau and become a lifetime coordinator.  That’s a major plus in my book.  Oh, and we all know he’s a proven OC.  Again, I want to investigate his offensive philosophies when you don’t have an elite QB, but I’m hoping he’s sensible.

7.  Hire Romeo Crennel as DC.  He’s identical to Norv in that he’ll never be a HC again.  He just doesn’t have the genes.  But he’s a heck of a DC.  He runs a hybrid 3-4, which is a bit sticky, but I think he’d buy in to run a Horton’s 3-4.  Plus, he’s a first rate guy.  I’d hire him in a heartbeat.  And for those that don’t believe you can pull a Turner/Crennel hiring, who was the OC/DC in K.C. last year?  Weisz and Crennel.  If K.C. can do it, why can’t the Cards.

8.  Either cut Kolb or restructure his contract.  No one should ever blame him for this offense the past 2 years.  The only thing we know about him is that he isn’t Warner.  But that leaves a lot of room for being good.  If he comes cheap I’m not against keeping him.  But if he doesn’t, I think it’s a huge no-brainer to sign Alex Smith.  He’ll be cut by S.F. this off-season and I think he’ll be frothing at the mouth to stick it to his former team by coming to the Cards.  He wouldn’t be asked to do much more than manage the team, like he did there.  And I’m betting he’ll bring his 3rd overall QB ranking with some fire to boot.  Note: he’s not a savior.  He’s just a manager.  If a savior ever does come they should jump all over it.

9.  Draft Luke Joeckel with the 1st pick.  This is an even easier draft pick than PP21.  He’s a “can’t miss” stud LT, something the Cards have never had.  (he hasn’t declared yet though)

10.  Draft Aaron Murray in the 2nd.  He’s a solid QB prospect with incredible accuracy.  I’m alarmed at his bad games against great talent, but not enough to avoid drafting him.  His technique is crisp and he has some “IT” aura glowing around him.  I’m betting he won’t be there in the 2nd come April, but if he is they should take a shot.  (he also hasn’t declared yet)

11.  Draft Khalid Holmes in the 3rd.  He’s a fiery Center from USC.  I like his desire and aggression.  He’s another guy I expect to climb the draft boards, but for now he’s projected 3rd. 

12.  Draft one of the RBs that fall to the 4th:  I don’t care if it’s the Stanford guy, the Florida guy, the Wisconsin guy, the N.D. guy, or the South Carolina guy.  But draft one.  I’m thinking one will fall to the 4th.  And behind this new line, he’ll be the next Alfred Morris.  I’m high on the N.D. kid.  He has great vision and sick athleticism, but he lets the turf trip him up a bit often.  And no, I won’t refer to draftable RBs by their names.  RBs are just Mercs that should be replaced every 3-5 years and never paid.  Sorry, but that’s the way to do it. (Actually I’m just too lazy to go look up there names right now)

13.  The starting Oline should be:   Joeckel – Colledge – Holmes – Levi – Massie
I’m fine with paying Levi the big money for playing Guard.  He’ll be all-pro every year he plays there.  He’s been out of position ever since they moved him to the left.  And the only reason he isn’t going to the RT is because Massie has been playing so well.  He’s looking more and more like the steal I thought he was.  Colledge is serviceable.  However, if they can’t land Murray in the 2nd round I’d draft Barrett Jones out of ‘Bama.  He’s a stud linemen and extremely versatile.  Switch Jones for Colledge and you have the makings of one of the best lines in the NFL almost overnight. 

14.  Run the ball.  We don’t have the elite QB, so we need to give him the bestest friend in the whole world in a running game.  This line should be able to get some heavy push and I think that, with time, they could start looking like Seattle or S.F.  Then the QB can be more protected and grow into the offense.  And they’ll burn a ton of T.O.P., which I know the D will absolutely love.  Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that you’d have two of the best run blocking WRs in Fitz and Floyd.  I also like Sherman as the Fullback.

15.  The QB can now get more acclimated to the offense.  He’ll take considerably less hits than before, and his confidence should grow.  If he’s just efficient this team will be good.  By the way, I think signing a guy like Tarvaris Jackson as a back up would be perfect.  He can step in at a moments notice and run a good offense. 

16.  No one will be more happier about the changes than the WR/TE corps.  Fitz, Roberts, Floyd, and Housler will flourish in this legitimate play-action offense.  This is another reason I like getting Alex Smith.  He’s never had this kind of talent at WR.  So he’s gonna make the most of his limited opportunities. 

17.  Commit to this for the long haul.  I watched Seattle struggle last year at getting the running game going.  But they just plugged away until eventually the team gelled.  It’s a thing of beauty now.  And they’re doing it with a rookie QB who’s just “managing the game”.  The Cards need to take their lumps early and just hope that everything starts to come together in time to make a playoff push. 

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