I guess that’s all I can say about the Arizona Cardinals after Sunday’s 13-10 loss against the lowly Seattle Seahawks. To put it bluntly, if it wasn’t for the fact that this was my team out on the field Sunday, that game would have been utterly unwatchable.
Does that sound a bit harsh?
OK I’ll rephrase…
If that wasn’t my team out there on the field Sunday I would’ve flipped the channel over to AMC in hopes of catching a John Wayne marathon.
OK one more time.
That WAS my team out there on Sunday, and I was embarrassed enough to avoid social media sites the remainder of the evening. That game was what I generally like to call a toilet bowl.
So what happened? Cards fans everywhere right now must be asking themselves this question. Sure, we COULD be 3-0, but as Kevin Kolb put it after what I’d like to call a “step back performance”, we could also be 0-3.
Did the defense play better? Well, maybe….they were facing Tarvaris Jackson so I suppose I’ll lend them credit to being able to contain the explosive Seattle quarterback.
How about the offense? Did anyone else enjoy the suddenly conservative Arizona offense in the second half?
Put your finger on the panic button
I didn’t say push the panic button, I said keep your finger on it. If this Arizona team loses next week to the New York Giants, it will indeed be time to press down.
Look, I’d love to sit here and dazzle everyone by bringing a variety of numbers into my commentary from a number of different sources, but I’m throwing that out the window. Right now, I don’t want to look at time of possession, sacks, who was beat on throws, who gave up the most sacks, ect. Those are all merely symptoms of a greater problem. If this greater problem isn’t solved soon, this team will fighting with other NFC West preseason favorite St Louis Rams to stay out of the basement.
Cards play as if on life support
One major thing stuck out to me on Sunday, this major thing could help to alleviate all these small but growing small things that appear to be setting us back heading into the heart of our schedule, and that is this Arizona Cardinals team right now is playing with very little heart and very little intensity.
Look, when it’s 3rd and long, you get a stop. When you have to protect your quarterback, you protect your quarterback, and when you have to make a big throw, you make a big throw. Outside of Larry Fitzgerald, this team has shown little heart the previous two weeks, and last I checked, Larry can’t throw the ball to himself. Players on both offense and defense appear to be looking for someone else to make a big play instead of making that big play themselves. The guy next to me will block his man, or the other guy will make the right read and the right break on a pass. While nobody is stating this to the media following the games, you can see it on the field, and if not corrected it will lead this team back to a second consecutive top 5 draft pick.
Still….it CAN be done
Don’t get me wrong, this team is still loaded with talent, which is what makes the last two weeks even more frustrating. We’re better than Washington and we’re better than Seattle. Though Kolb’s performance yesterday left much to be desired, he still has a high ceiling and will ultimately only get better. This team has the best wide receiver in football, a great tandem at tight end, talent on the defensive line and linebacker position and a great safety duo with Wilson and Rhodes.
There was a play that at that moment I thought would really jump start this team. It was when Kolb, scrambling away from pressure, fired the ball to Larry Fitzgerald in the end zone despite Fitz being hounded by two defenders. Fitzgerald plucked the ball out of the air, leaving the two defenders, the announcers, the fans in Seattle and most of us watching at home dumbfounded.
Now, fans in the valley shouldn’t be at all surprised to see Larry make that kind of play, after all he’s done it throughout his career. That play however needs to become the example that the entire team bases their play off of. Kevin Kolb, in trouble on a busted play, located his best receiver and trusted that if he got the ball in the vicinity, his guy was going to make the play. That play took two, and it resulted in 6.
Going forward, individual players on this team must start stepping up to make plays, and do so trusting the guys around them will step up and make plays as well. When you have lackluster individual efforts in certain spots on the team, you end up with….well, a top 5 draft pick in April.
The coaching staff also must be held accountable. This team at times has come out playing far too conservative. That’s not the makeup of this offense or of the Cardinals as a whole. You have an up and coming quarterback, the best receiver in the game, good 2nd and 3rd receivers around him, two good pass catching tight ends, take shots down the field and utilize those weapons.
This team desperately needs to regain it’s swagger. Sunday, at home against the Giants, decked out in their black uniforms, may be the last best chance to do that.