Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Downward Spiral Continues

Arizona's losing streak is up to 6 games. As I feared, they pretty much laid down against San Francisco on Monday Night Football. Nothing like having the nation's football-loving members undivided attention to demonstrate how lousy they are beyond a shadow of a doubt.

That the Cards lost is bad enough. That it helped the 49ers continue to claw their way back into the division hunt is worse. I hate teams that play like it doesn't matter for awhile, then flip the switch and make it work out. The Chargers, the San Antonio Spurs, I really don't want the 49ers to be able to overcome starting 0-5.

Derek Anderson flipped out when asked after the game why he was seen laughing on the sideline while the team was being defeated. My thought it he's laughing that some team actually pays him for his quarterbacking, or whatever you call what he does out there. It kills me that he has Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston and looks like shit, but Sam Bradford has a bunch of no-name wideouts, and can consistently play solid football, and occasionally spectacular football. If Bradford had Arizona's receivers, the Rams would be running away with the division. But they don't, and those receivers go to waste in their current locale.

I don't know if there's any part of the team that's working right now. The running game was moderately productive against KC, but vanished against SF. The passing game is lousy (not the worst I've seen from a Cardinals team, but in the running for second worst). The defense seems to have thrown in the towel so hard I imagine it burned up before touching the ground. Whisenhunt is sticking with Anderson at QB, saying he gives them the best chance to win, which speaks poorly of their backups, which speaks poorly of their ability to construct a roster. I think he might be better off seeing if any other players on the team have QB experience, be it college or high school, and giving them a turn. The team's already getting blown out every week. How much worse could things be?


Sunday, November 07, 2010

Damn It Arizona

With 5 minutes left, Arizona had a 14 point lead on the Vikings. The Vikings won in overtime.

It'd be false to say I'm surprised. The Cardinals winning surprises me. Losing I'm accustomed to, and the details are irrelevant. I am glad they don't play Buffalo this year, because I could easily see the Bills rolling Arizona on the way to their only victory of the season.

Just because I'm not surprised, doesn't mean I'm not disappointed, or aggravated. I was happy when they had the lead late, and hoped that if they held on, it could propel the team forward. That it did kind of bums me out.

What aggravates me is that 3.5 years in, I'm still not seeing the Cardinals becoming the Steelers West as Whisenhunt supposedly envisioned. He used to explain that they didn't run the football as much as he wanted because Warner was the QB and he liked to throw, he was good at it, and it was working out. Apparently their quarterback was too good for them to run successfully. Well, Warner's retired and they still can't run. They might try more often but the results are for shit. Wells can't stay healthy, Hightower can't hold onto the ball, and either way they averaged 2 yards per carry today. So what, now the QB is too lousy for them to run?

And where is the tough defense? Warner being QB shouldn't have hindered that development, but it's no more present than the running game! Two TDs in less than 5 minutes! To a broken down, egomaniac, piece of shit geezer QB! When the Vikings received the ball in OT (after Arizona's possession ended in failure, naturally) I was completely unsurprised that they immediately marched down the field and kicked the field goal.

Arizona defeats used to mostly depress me, with some anger thrown in, depending on circumstance. Now it's mostly anger. I think I don't want to believe that all their success hinged on Warner, and that without him they're the same old Cardinals I watched for a decade and a half.

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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Things Are Trending Down

Since I last posted, Arizona has lost two in a row. They went to Seattle and lost a game where the Seahawks had 7 red zone possessions, but scored only 1 touchdown. They lost because their offense was inept. Max Hall was terrible, and Tim Hightower ruined his consistent large rushing gains by fumbling, costing himself the starting job in the process.

Last week they lost to Tampa, in what's probably the offense's best showing to date. They even threw 2 touchdown passes! Unfortunately, their QBs also threw 4 INTs, and the Bucs scored 38 points, and that's how a team loses a game.

Now Whisenhunt has named Derek Anderson as starting QB again, after 3 mostly poor starts by Max Hall. I don't know whether Hall isn't cut out to be a starter in the NFL, or if he simply isn't ready right now. He's only had 3 starts, it's hard to say, though the negatives seem to outweigh the positives. The only thing he seems to have in his favor are the intangibles, since those are what his teammates and coaches keep praising him on, rather than any particular skill like accuracy, or decision-making.

At any rate, it's rearranging chairs on the Titanic. Anderson has shown flashes of effectiveness when called on to relieve Hall, but he's also shown at least as much of the same poor aim and lousy reads of the defense that got him benched in the first place. There's no indication Anderson has somehow become a better QB over the last month. He's still an inconsistent, mostly terrible player.

The argument among the fans (besides the one about whether Warner was responsible for all Whisenhunt's success) is that the Cardinals should be running the ball more. Which sounds swell, except teams are loading up in the box expecting them to do that (especially when Beanie Wells is in there, since apparently his pass catching and blocking are a work in progress), daring the Cardinals to beat them through the air. It doesn't help matters that in most of their losses, the Cards have fallen behind by a lot. Against the Falcons, Arizona was losing by 17 at the half. Against the Chargers, it was a 21-point deficit at halftime. Seattle was up 16-0 in the 3rd quarter before Arizona put points on the board, and Tampa lead 31-14 in the 3rd before the Gridbirds mounted a comeback. Hard to run much when you need to score quickly.

I imagine the reasoning behind starting Anderson is that he's shown more flashes of competence than Hall, and the division is right there for the taking. Arizona is 3-4, Seattle is 4-3 (with a victory over Arizona in Seattle). I'm guessing they figure if the passing game can just move the chains and stop shooting the team in the foot, they can make the postseason, and Anderson provides a better chance of that. I'm not sure I buy it. I think the Rams, even without any top-flight receivers for their #1 draft pick QB to throw to, have a much better chance than Arizona doe. In which case the only reasons to not start Hall is injury concerns, or because they're worried his poor performance will destroy his confidence. Though if the latter were a concern (and from what I've read of Max Hall, I doubt it is), then he probably can't be the guy for them anyway.