In 2008, I decided that I would watch the NFL season, not only the Superbowl! More so, I decided to get to know the game and be a real fan; a fan from up north in Canada, precisely from Quebec City. Yes, the french speaking province.
I checked some teams around and ended up choosing the Arizona Cardinals. Why you might ask!?! Anybody in their right mind would not choose the Cards, except maybe for the colours of the uniform, or the logo… Well, I had to choose and the reason was as lame (read stupid) as this one: because I had cardinals around my house! Yeah, that was the fact that made me choose that team against the Saints (for their Fleur de Lys – The emblematic flower of Quebec), the Giants (For the team’s history) or the Packers (a household name)… But, hey, I ended up in the Superbowl that year! The 2008 and 2009 seasons were great to watch partly due to great talents from Warner and Fitzgerald.
Four years later and even after lots of losses and bad seasons, I can’t let go of the big red bird. I’m still a Cards’ fan. But what’s wrong with the Cardinals? I know, the answer is obvious… The quarterback position! The last seasons are very frustrating and I don’t know why they’re not doing something to get the job done. A few weeks ago, I twitted this to Donovan McNabb:
“@donovanjmcnabb could you please sign up a 2 year contract & help the Cards! Please!?!”
Seems stupid but the idea was to have a great QB to give back some experience to a younger QB. McNabb might not be the answer, but just to show that I think it’s time to get a great name in the house. But that answer is piled under a problem that seems to be more profound. (Did I just write the word problem in singular form?)
I’ve heard around that the owner was cheap and that he didn’t want to spend the extra bucks to get a star quarterback, a franchise QB. If you look back, there’s nobody that did the job except the American hero, Kurt Warner (no pun intended). A simple search and you’ll end up with an article on the Bleacher Report’s website. Sad but true.
Take a look at the starting QB’s history and except for what Warner did for the team in a short period, only Hart, Lomax and Plummer can be called a franchise QB for the Cards. But it was in the 70′s, the 80′s and the latter in the second half of the 90′s through the beginning of the 21 st century. Almost all of them had a career with highs and lows, so we can barely say they were franchise material. We’re not talking about the same caliber as Montana, Marino, Aikman, Favre, Brady, Rodgers, etc, etc. But hey, since Kurt Warner retired, we also get to name a few: Leinart, Anderson, Hall, Kolb, Skelton and since last Wednesday, Lindley. But neither Kolb or Skelton can bring that team to the playoffs and have winning seasons on regular basis. Will they pick the right QB anytime soon?
But, there is hope. It’s great to notice the effort of Bill Bidwill’s son, Michael who is the club president. It is great to see that the big cheap machine is getting overhauled, Michael Bidwill is showing the money! Well, almost. You got your great stadium now and you’ve got a great defence. But the (great) offensive line lacks to produce points. Let me repeat myself, an important player is missing: a great quarterback (duh!). The post Warner era extends and the fans are getting frustrated.
The coaching staff
There’s a lot of bad mouth going on about the coaching staff and the head coach is criticized a lot! The way that Ken Whisenhunt handles the starting positions, by putting the players in competition, is questionable. But others around the league have proven to do things in a somewhat, bizarre way. Just take a look at the Sanchez/Tebow dilemma in New York. I think all the work of Coach Whisenhunt is still in progress, but the choice of Kevin Kolb in the pocket was not the greatest of his ideas.
I quite understand the process of the head coach to put all the starting positions of the roster in jeopardy. If you miss (or mess) too much, you’re out! But after all these changes, put yourself in the place of Kolb, Skelton or now starting quarterback, Ryan Lindley. And don’t forget about all the turmoil last year, wouldn’t you be “tired” to have that Sword of Damocles over your head? I know I would!
The Cards’ offensive line is still under construction and a Thursday night football match-up against the Rams, on october 4th, was disastrous: a nightmare NOT to remember! In that game, Kevin Kolb was sacked 9 times. And it didn’t stopped there. The Cards have a lot to do to prevent an attack from the defensive line. They have to give a bit of time and allow the QB to make the play. A little progress has been made, but there’s a lot to do. A couple of games were a close win and they should have won the game against the Bills (their second lost) and their last game against the Falcons. The game that Skelton was benched and Lindley got a try.
Since 2008, the year I began to watch football, the roster changed a lot. The Cardinals lost great talents and the offensive line is no exception. Here’s a screen shot from a spreadsheet I made about the changes made to the roster of the offensive line.
Offensive line since 2008
As you can see, 2012 marks a milestone that tells a lot about what is going on (going wrong) this year. Even though the O-line has the experience to make some great offensive plays, they are too many new players in the team. And in their last game, the Cardinals lost their captain, Lyle Sendlein. This is not a very good news and this is not going to help the drama of the O-line. Lyle Sendlein is out for the rest of the season.
Looking at the roster changes of the offensive line, and the brutal change for the 2012 season, it’s no surprise that the team didn’t have much success at the offense. The defensive line can’t win all the games.
Here’s a trivia, when was the last time that the Cardinals drafted a #1 player and what was his name? Read the answer further down…
In 2009, Larry Weisman of USA TODAY wrote :
Don’t think of the Cardinals as “the same old Cardinals” for losing this one. Something real grows in the desert. They’ll have to figure out whether they can keep Warner, and they have several other high-profile free agents with whom negotiations won’t be easy.
But, that was after their heart breaking Superbowl lost. Since then, a lot has changed and I’m curious to see what will be their first round pick. A quarterback or one of the bright future from college football : Tyler Wilson (Arkansas), Taylor Lewan (OT – Michigan), Damontre Moore (DE – Texas A&M).
Monday on november 19th, Darren Urban post on azcardinals.com this article “Another quarterback question“. Oh no! Here we go again!
That’s this business, quarterbacks are hard to find. There are a lot of teams that have struggled with this. How long has it been since Dan Marino was in Miami? You deal with it the best way you can.
You’re right coach Whisenhunt, but you might also look at teams that put somebody in the pocket to get the job done! Can I give you just a few names from the top of my head? Rodgers, Flacco, RG3, Luck and so on! So, don’t give me that Marino crap, I have several other examples to contradict you.
I think that the QB needs to be changed. If nothing happens, some heads will be rolling in the desert.
I’m trying to change, trying to let go of the Cards, but I’m still a fan even if I’ve chosen one the worst team in the NFL.
Answer : King Hill, in 1958.