Saturday, August 6, 2011

2011 Season Preview: Arizona Cardinals

2010 Record: 5-11

2010 Rankings:
Total Offense - 31
Passing Offense - 31
Rushing Offense - 32
Scoring Offense - 26
Total Defense - 29
Pass Defense - 23
Rush Defense - 30
Scoring Defense - 30


The 2010 Season was marked by the Cardinals inability to move the ball either through the air or on the ground. Derek Anderson, John Skelton, Max Hall and Richard Bartel all saw time at quarterback for the Cardinals last year. The Cardinals spent 4 of their 8 draft picks on offensive skill positions then traded their top corner, Dominique Rogers-Cromartie to the Eagles for quarterback Kevin Kolb. The jury is still out on Kolb, but he can't be any worse than the combination of guys the Cards had last year. The Cardinals still lack a consistent running back that can produce, as former first round pick Beanie Wells has been injury-stricken. That could be a product of the Cards horrendous offensive line, which will need to improve to protect their new franchise passer. Despite trotting out one of the worst line of quarterbacks in NFL history, the Cardinals had the 11th most pass attempts in the league and were last in rushing attempts. Second round draft pick Ryan Williams from Virginia Tech should help, but the line will need to improve their run-blocking if the Cards are going to have any success on the ground. You can never under-estimate Larry Fitzgerald, one of the best receivers in the league, but with Boldin leaving for Baltimore last year and Steve Breaston heading to Kansas City this year, Fitz is going to see a lot more double coverage without a secondary option in the Cardinals passing attack. Todd Heap could be that option, if he can stay healthy for the whole season.


To call the Cardinals defense porous last year would be say you might find holes in some Swiss Cheese. They wisely spent their first round pick on cornerback Patrick Peterson (LSU) and added 2 linebackers and a defensive lineman in later rounds. The Cardinals defense has been decimated by free agency departures since their Super Bowl year. Despite giving up a crapload of yards and points last year, the Cardinals were opportunistic, finishing 8th in the league in turnovers. Incredibly, the defense scored 10 touchdowns last year off of interceptions and fumble recoveries.


Larry Fitzgerald is a complete receiver capable of taking over a game. He now has a quarterback that can get him the ball, but someone else is going to have to step up in the Cardinals passing attack to take the pressure off Fitz. The defense can't shoulder the burden of scoring points again this year, as they scored as many touchdowns (10) as Cardinals quarterbacks threw last year and more touchdowns than Cardinals backs ran for (9). The biggest thing the Cardinals have going for them in 2011 is that they play in the worst division in football. As bad as they were last year, they weren't eliminated from the playoff race until Week 16 last year.

If the Cardinals were a Beer, they would be:

Rolling Rock

Rolling Rock was an easy choice for "Pittsburgh West" - something that was originally from Pittsburgh but then moved elsewhere while still trying to capture the essence of Pittsburgh and promote itself as "Pittsburgh-esque." For the record, seeing "Latrobe Brewing  Co" and "St. Louis Missouri" next to each other makes no sense, kinda like seeing Alan Faneca or Joey Porter in a Cardinals jersey.

No comments: