Posts tagged ‘Greg Easterbrook’

I Am Done with the Cardinals Until...

I am done with the Cardinals until they get an offensive line. I have written many times about the sad, failing strategy of drafting high-profile position players (particularly wide receivers) but paying no attention to the offensive line.  The Cardinals have one of the best receiving corps in the nation, have what looks to be a great young quarterback, has a top-notch running back, but did NOTHING over the winter to shore up what last year was a crappy O-line.  This is despite being $10 million under the cap!

And you saw it last night.  Commentators have criticized the coaches for getting too conservative in the second half of last night's debacle, and certainly that is true.  But a good team with a back like Edgerin James should be able to close out a game in the fourth quarter by pounding the ball on the ground.  And the Cardinals could not, with James averaging less than 1 yard per carry after the opening drive in the first quarter.

I give up.  I am tired of getting suckered onto the bandwagon.  Until the Bidwells crack open the wallet and focus some cap money on the O-line, I am back to rooting for the Broncos.

Update:  Greg Easterbrook piles on:

When my two football-crazed boys got up early this morning I said,
"Guys, Arizona was ahead by 20 and had the ball on the last play of the
third quarter." Immediately both said, "And the Cardinals lost." Not
only did Arizona blow a late 20-point lead at home in front of a
national television audience; the Bears committed six turnovers and the Cards still managed to lose. Arizona held Chicago to nine first downs and was plus-four
in turnovers, yet managed to lose. In the closing seconds, Arizona had
last year's Pro Bowl kicker lined up for a 41-yarder to win, and
trigger what would surely have been wild civic celebration, and still
lost. What's a stronger expression than "pitiful"? We must now twist an
old line and proclaim: Whom the football gods would destroy, they first
make Arizona Cardinals.


NFL is Back, and the Cardinals Still Suck

I enjoy many professional sports casually, attending an event or two every year, but the NFL is by far my favorite.  In the pre-season, there was a lot of hype that maybe the long-time hapless Cardinals would be decent this year.  I knew better, even from the pre-season.   Heck, my 8-year-old daughter knew better.

We went to see the last pre-season game against Denver.  In that game, the Arizona starters played for quite a while against the Denver 2nd team, and got beaten up.  Specifically, they could not run the ball and in turn their defense could not stop the run.  So it was no surprise to see them get blasted in their first regular season game against the Giants. 

The problem with the Cards is this:  They have spent the last several years drafting high-profile position players, including spending a jillion 1st round picks on receivers.  Great teams got that way because they invested in their lines - both O and D, even when such picks might be less popular with the fans on draft day.  The Cards have instead focused on drafting "names" who might help sell season tickets in the new stadium.  This neglect is very apparent today.  It doesn't matter how good your position players are if there are no holes for the backs and the QB is getting plowed to the turf on every play.  This is a 5-11 team that is fortunately playing in the NFL's worst division, so they may eek out 7 wins.  You heard it here first.

By the way, if you are an avid football fan, I recommend two sites to you.  The first is Football Outsiders, who have taken a Bill-James-like approach to football stats, rethinking metrics to provide a better insight into what teams really are good.  Make sure to check out their DVOA rankings - basically they compare every teams performance on every play against other teams in the same situation (e.g. 3rd and 8 on their own 45).  The other site is Greg Easterbrook's always entertaining Tuesday Morning Quarterback column, providing large doses of football clear thinking and haiku.