The sky has fallen on the Arizona Cardinals. Following the 17-3 loss to the St. Louis Rams, the Cardinals have exposed many questions that their 4-0 record had covered up. The Arizona Cardinals will have to take a long hard look at themselves, after a game in which Kevin Kolb was hit 13 times, sacked 9 times, and failed to put the ball in the end zone despite three red zone attempts. In the aftermath of a game in which they were beaten soundly in every aspect, it is hard to look at any position on this team without questions.
Is Kevin Kolb the answer?
Probably not, but he is the best quarterback on the Cardinals roster right now. Kolb’s play level in the previous games, and the added re-injury possibility associated with putting Skelton back in there, make it an obvious choice to stick with Kolb, at least until he goes another entire first half without putting up a touchdown. The Cardinals may look at taking one of the talented quarterbacks available in this year’s draft, but Arizona will face a difficult decision in 2013 picking between offensive tackles, or the teams next quarterback.
How does Arizona improve the offensive line?
The Arizona Cardinals face the St. Lois Rams Thursday Night. With only three days to prepare, both teams will face specific match up problems. The Cardinals base offense was at a loss against a strong Dolphins defensive line, causing them to abandon their base offense and move to an up-tempo shotgun offense. Against the Rams, we will see similar match up problems on the offensive live.
The Dolphins ripped past the Cardinals line with a dominant edge rush. The Dolphins either sacked Kevin Kolb with outside pressure, or forced him to the middle for a sack. The Cardinals gave up an ugly eight sacks. Cameron Wake had four and a half sacks working the edge against Bobbie Massie at right tackle.
The Rams have Chris Long and rising talent Robert Quinn to bring off the edges. Containing the Rams two talented defensive ends will be critical to the success of the Cardinals offense. The Rams boast an underrated passing defense. Lead by Cortland Finnegan, a violent and frustrating shutdown corner, who will be head to head with Larry Fitzgerald.
The Arizona Cardinals have the 31st ranked offense in the NFL after week 4. After two, three and four points wins in their previous games, it can be argued that the defense was mostly responsible for the win, with the offense doing just enough necessary. The game on Sunday versus the Dolphins was a step in a different direction.
It was a full teams win on Sunday. The Defense caused four turnovers and four sacks, yet gave up 480 yards and 21 points. The special teams was particularly special, as Jay Feely kicked a game winning 46 yard field goal in overtime, and Dave Zastudil had one of the best nights punting in league history. With nine punts for a gross of 47.3, over the last 20 years only one other punter has a better gross for nine punts. The Offense sputtered at first, but picked up at the end of the first half, with an increased emphasis on the shotgun.
Darnell Dockett is doubtful for Sunday’s game versus the Miami Dolphins. The potential loss of Darnell Dockett on the inside of the defensive line is huge, there's no way to sugar coat it. His pressure from the inside, along with Calais Campbell and Darly Washington, have been disturbing quarterbacks all year. In Ray Horton’s favorite nickel defense, we see Dockett and Campbell as the only defensive lineman, Sam Acho, Daryl Washington, Paris Lenon, and O’brien Schofield round out the front six. We saw this 2-4-5 nickel package dominate the Patriots game, and in a similar way, in the Eagles game as well.
Minnesota has not been kind to the San Francisco 49ers. They have lost their last two games there, one on a miraculous throw by Brett Favre, (here, turn away Niner fans) and the other an absolute clunker this past Sunday. Despite the somewhat embarrassing loss, the 49ers still stand at 2-1, a record most fans would take given the difficulty of the first two games. However, whether it was overlooking their opponent, not preparing properly, or just playing poorly, the loss to the Vikings exposed some flaws in a team that many had deemed the favorites to win the NFC. If the 49ers want to live up to that billing, they’ll need to address the following things.