Cardinals Week 4 Pregame Thoughts

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I don’t know what is going to happne today, but the season feels brand new for the Arizona Cardinals. Josh Rosen is starting and the sky is the limit for the kid. Lets see what happens and I will check back in at halftime.

No Time To Panic For the Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals looked like trash last Sunday. Every message board and facebook group I am in are calling for Josh Rosen and an overhaul of the roster. Everyone knows that I am an eternal optimist, especially when it comes to my Cardinals, but is no time to panic.

Let Him Sit

Watching Patrick Mahomes this week gives me hope of what resting a rookie quarterback can do for their development. Mahomes looked poised in the pocket and looked like he will be excellent for a long time. Aaron Rodgers history of sitting behind Bret Farve is well documented. In many interviews, Rodgers talks about what he learned from Farve and much of it was about avoiding many of Farve’s bad tendencies, like turning the ball over. I expect that Rosen will have lots to learn from Bradford, good and bad.

The Roster Is Fine

The roster has talent. It has four guys that have all-pro ability and handful of other pro-bowl long shots. Regardless of the top end talent, some issues must be fixed on both sides of the ball.

Last season I criticized a player and they blocked me on Twitter, so I risk that again. Deone Bucannon played one of the worst football games I have ever seen. He was beaten to the spot by a tackle an a swing pass and was taken for a ride for ten yards. He was burned twice in coverage by either being out of position or flat out getting shook on an option route. The switch to a 4-3 exaggerates those mistakes.

Some Perspective

In the 2017 season the Saints, Titans, and Patriots lost their opening game and still made the playoffs. Now, nobody is comparing the 2018 Cardinals to the Drew Brees led Saints or the Patriots, but 25% of teams that lose week one make the playoffs. I do not expect the Cardinals to win in week two on the road against the Rams, but still, 12% of teams that start 0-2 make the playoffs.

This Arizona team is brand new and has never faced adversity together. Nobody has any idea how they respond to the likely scenario of going 0-2 to start the season. I still think that this roster is better than the 8-8 team that took the field for the Cardinals in 2017 and I am still sticking to that evaluation.

This might come back to bite me later, but that is the whole point of putting my thoughts on paper.

So as Aaron Rodgers would say R-E-L-A-X.

Cardinals Game Day Podcasts: Week One

Here is the latest from the podcast. You can always subscribe to listen in almost every place that you can listen to podcasts. If you ever want to be a guest on the pod, reach out and we can set it up. I love talking to all sports fanatics.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-long-ball/id1348288439?mt=2#episodeGuid=059d26b2-36b6-cb69-0eb6-aeb0e8d44963

 

Cardinals Preseason Overreaction

Three games into the Arizona Cardinals preseason and we have learned a lot about the team. The Cardinal’s have not lost a game under new head coach Steve Wilks. In those three games, Arizona has forced 16 turnovers with eight of them coming last week against the Dallas Cowboys. After watching a few meaningless games, only one thing is sure. The Arizona Cardinals are going to win the Super Bowl.

The Cardinals Are Better This Year

Every single expert has Arizona at the bottom of the division, if not the entire league. Madden has given the team the same overall rating as the Cleveland Browns. That is correct; Madden thinks that a team that went 8-8 without David Johnson is somehow on the same level as the 0-16 Browns.

Blaine Gabbert and Drew Stanton lead our team to eight wins and were a botched field goal or two away from a ten win season. The signing of Justin Pugh has gone unnoticed, but he is a considerable upgrade over Evan Boehm. Boehm was playing out of position at guard in only his second year in the league. The left side of the line is back and healthy going into this year and through the first three games rookie Mason Cole has only allowed one pressure.

How experts think that the team is going to be worse than 8-8 after adding Bradford and Rosen at QB is confusing.

Parity Is Real

Watching the rest of the NFL this preseason has only shown me that the league is up for grabs. The Patriots are going to be good, but the difference between them and the bottom of the league is not that much. With the Cardinals defense’s ability to keep them in games, they will have a chance to win every week. They have some challenging games on the road this season, but as the saying goes, defense travels.

If they can go 6-2 at home and 4-4 on the road, they will find their way to the playoffs. We all know that if they can get in the playoffs, anything can happen. The perfect mix of veterans and young guns will help Arizona in the close games that they will find themselves in. Larry Fitzgerald looks like he is still is ridiculously good self and Patrick Peterson and Chandler Jones are in positions to dominate this year.

What It All Means

The Cardinals have four guys on their offensive line that have injury problems. The health troubles of our QB has been well documented throughout his entire career.

If we can keep our core starters healthy, the Cardinals have a real shot this year. Coach Mike McCoy can protect Bradford by getting the ball out early. Our defense can cause turnovers at an incredible rate. We have two of the best players in the league on both sides of the ball. I will repeat it. The Cardinals will win the Super Bowl.

Cardinals Win With Help From the Old Guys

So, the Cardinals played their best game of the season and almost blew it in the second half.
After the massive news of the trade for Adrian Peterson from the saints for a 6th round pick, you could feel the buzz of excitement. On AP’s first carry he burst through the hole and carried a couple of defenders with him for eight yards, and the fans exploded. That energy gave the Cardinals what they needed the rest of the first half when they went up 24-0.
It was the first time in NFL history that three players with 40,000 yards passing, 10,000 yard rushing and 10,000 yards receiving all started a game for the same team. The same is true for touchdowns also, 300 total TDs for Carson, 100 total for Fitz, and 100 total for AP is the largest combination of career touchdowns on any team, ever. In yesterday’s game, they all played amazingly. Carson went 18/22 and three TDs, AP had 136 yards 2 TDs, while Larry made ten catches for 138 yards and a touchdown look easy.
Those are all fun stats, but the real change came on the offensive line. You guys all know that rant and rave about line play. They stepped up. Carson was not sacked until their final drive of the first half, and it was a coverage sack. He was sacked twice and hit four times in the game. That was better than a couple of drives the Cardinals had in previous games. I love that the Oline is coming together at the right time.
Finally the bad. We let them score 33 points in the second half. 27 in the fourth quarter. Patrick Peterson injured his quad that he was nursing all week in practice and didn’t play in the fourth. Larry fumbled, and it was returned for a TD, and we punted twice. Even after all of that, the game never felt like it was out of Arizona’s control.
I am hoping that this momentum will help them as they travel across the pond to London to play the Rams next week. This is a huge division game that the Cardinals have to win. The vibe has changed in Arizona, and I love it.
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Cardinals Offensive Line Woes

The Cardinals are in trouble. The team has spent significant resources to find the right pieces on the offensive line. They have missed on almost every single one. Jarrod Veldheer and Mike Iupati were the first two substantial free agent acquisitions that the Cardinals put together on the O-line in years. Both players were significant upgrades at the time and helped the Cardinals put together the winningest stretch of seasons the team has ever had in Arizona.
The misses have far outweighed the hits. Starting with the number seven overall draft pick in Jonathan Cooper. In training camp and preseason he looked as good and as athletic as any guard I have ever seen. I was sending text messages to friends from training camp raving about the guy. Then he broke his leg and was never the same. They have also drafted Earl Watford, DJ Humphries, Evan Boehm, Cole Toner, Dorian Johnson, and Will Holden in that time.
DJ Humphries and Evan Boehm still have a chance to be solid pro lineman, but Boehm is out of position at right guard, and Humphries can’t stay healthy. The Cardinals scouting department and coaching staff have failed to find and teach any top-tier offensive line talent. We have watched Jarod Veldheer go from potential pro-bowl left tackle, to barely able to play at right tackle.
Then the free agency pickups. Evan Mathis (always injured, retired), AQ Shipley (smart, but undersized), Alex Boone (Injured), John Wetzel (not starting NFL talent) and some practice squad guys that never saw the light of day.
Steve Keim has committed to building the trenches, and he has tried. But at some point, fans have to question what the Cardinals are looking at when evaluating line talent. What is Harold Goodwin teaching them when they get here? I don’t care who you put at QB, if the offensive line is terrible, your team is going to struggle. The Cardinals need to figure it out, quickly.
If the Cardinals lose this week to the Tampa Bay Bucs, the season is all but over. The only hope is that our division is so bad, that we can squeeze out a few more wins before David Johnson returns. If Arizona can be 6-5 when he returns, they have a fighting chance. I wouldn’t hold my breath though.
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For more follow me on twitter @lennyletcher. This segment is sponsored by Host Boogie. Now you know where to start if you have an idea for a website, company or a blog come party with us at HostBoogie.com.