1st: The Cardinals keep failing in the same exact way.
- Everyone has someone in their life who just can't get it together. Maybe its in their career, in relationships or some other part of their life. The most frustrating part of watching someone you care about struggle is when they keep failing in the same way. Maybe its squandering professional opportunities in similar fashion repeatedly or dating the same profile of a person that never works out over and over. You'd be okay if they failed, just tried a different way to fail. That's how I feel about the Arizona Cardinals at this point. Last year this team lost because of a fundamentally flawed roster and a GM who is horrific at drafting young talent. This year, the team is losing largely because of a fundamentally flawed roster and a GM who is horrific at drafting young talent. Last year the Cardinals went 1-5 in the 6 biggest games of the year because they have a head coach with a predictable offense who is incapable of adjusting once defenses figure it out. This year the Cardinals are 1-2 because they have a head coach with a predicable offense who is incapable of adjusting once defenses figure it out. Last year, this was a team that had poor leadership and failed to play week to week with urgency. This year, the team has poor leadership and has failed to play week to week with urgency. It's not just that the Cardinals are losing, its how they are losing and how many of us could see this coming but the Cardinals never did.
- 1. This is now a Michael Bidwill conversation.
All further questions about the Cardinals leadership must be directly addressed to owner Michael Bidwill. Bidwill has done a tremendous amount of good to rehabilitate his family's last name amongst Cardinals fans since taking over but the last three year's as done more damage to that legacy than the previous 15 years combined. His decision to reward failure and hide from reality while giving out long term contract extensions set the tone for the entire season. Why aren't you seeing any urgency from the Cardinals? Because there isn't any urgency at the highest levels of the org.
- 2. DeAndre Hopkins will not fix all of this.
Hopkins will help, obviously but he won't fix everything. I didn't realized DHop was going to rush the passer. Or stop the run. Or run the ball. Or design the offense. Or rally the troops. Or cover slot receivers. Because all of those things will still need to be fixed even after he returns.
3. The Cardinals slow starts are all on Kliff.
The Cardinals spent all week declaring they would no longer suffer slow starts and would do everything to fix the situation. They responded by gaining 22 yards on their first 14 plays of the game over their first four drives. To their credit, that isn't a slow start that is a glacial start. Those first few drives are almost always scripted plays planned by Kliff and Kyler to start every game. Kliff's gonna need some to work on that because I've seen better scripts in porn.
4. The Cardinals poor finish this week was on Kliff and Kyler.
- When Budda Baker forced a Cam Akers fumble at the 1 yard line with just over six minutes left, it breathed new life into the game for the Cardinals. A quick score, either TD or FG, and the Cardinals were back in business to repeat their 4th quarter magic from a week ago. Instead, they dinked and dunked and took their time before settling for a FG with just over a minute left. A 17 play, 5 minute drive is a godsend during most parts of the game but not when you are trailing by two scores. It was a gross mismanagement from Kyler and Kliff that may have cost the Cardinals a real chance at a W.
- 5. Why isn't Kyler running the ball more?
This questions probably matters for the season more than all others. Is it because he doesn't want to? Is it because he's been told he's too valuable to risk injury? Is it intentionally a part of their game plan? Running the ball early with Kyler forces a defense to prepare for it the entire game. All the Cardinals are doing by not having Kyler run a few teams is make life easier on their opponent.
6. Inside linebacker remains a real liability for this defense.
Two first round picks, redshirt years and two green dots later and the Cardinals ILB unit is still a total mess. How Steve Keim's job is not directly tied to these two picks specifically is beyond me. As Simmons and Collins go, so should Steve Keim. Instead, Ben Niemann and Tanner Vallejo were asked to do some heavy lifting while Simmons sat on the bench for two thirds of the Cardinals defensive snaps.
- 7. Why aren't the Cardinals in a better position right now?
This should be the culmination of a long term plan to maximize the roster with an ascending rookie quarterback on the last year of an affordable rookie cap number. The Eagles and Dolphins are on rocket ships to the moon and the Cardinals engine is stalling in the driveway. It shouldn't be this way.
8. Will someone break ranks soon?
No one knows better when a boss isn't good at their job than their subordinates. Will frustration with the coaching staff or front office eventually boil over into public? If the Cardinals lose in Week 4 to the Carolina Panthers, I believe we will see someone in the Cardinals locker room air some dirty laundry for a team that hasn't been right in about a year.
9. Under the radar stars:
- Greg Dortch, again. Budda Baker, again. Marco Wilson and Byron Murphy.
10. What's Next? at Carolina.
- Matt Rhule may be the betting favorite to be the first coach fired but he owns Kliff Kingsbury. Rhule is 2-0 against Kliff. If he goes 3-0, he might just swap spots with Kingsbury on the hot seat rankings.