By JAMES SARGENT
Arizona Cardinals’ fans knew it would be tough when likely Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner retired after last season, but they didn’t know Derek Anderson would be this bad.
No one believed a free-fall of this magnitude would occur—one that has the Red Birds at 3-9 and in the midst of a seven-game losing streak.
The season started poorly when head coach Ken Whisenhunt made the horrible decision to trade quarterback Matt Leinart.
Whisenhunt gave Anderson the starting job out of the gate, then promoted undrafted rookie Max Hall to lead the Big Red passing attack. After a couple of games and almost the same results (except for a miracle win against the defending champion New Orleans Saints), Anderson got his number called again.
Anderson ranks last in the NFL in completion percentage (52.8) and has yet to get on page with elite receiver Larry Fitzgerald.
Among 32 NFL teams, the Arizona offense ranks 31st in total offense, 31st in rushing offense and 30th in passing offense. Way to go Anderson! It sure seems as if your 2007 Pro Bowl season was a fluke.
As for the defense, the Cardinals rank 29th in total defense, 31st in rushing defense and 25th in passing defense.
Personally, I don’t believe the defense is as bad as these numbers suggest. Would you want to play outstanding defense every game only to then watch one of the worst offensive outposts in football? I sure wouldn’t.
The defense, at times, shows it has playmakers that can improve the defense to a middle range.
Frustration is definitely playing a role in the demise of Bill Bidwell’s franchise.
Statistically the Cardinals still have a shot at the postseason, but surely it won’t happen. The team should lose out to set up for a top 10 draft pick and land a quarterback for the future.
Stanford’s Andrew Luck will likely be the No. 1 overall player and quarterback taken in the 2011 NFL draft, so he won’t be available when it’s Arizona’s turn to pick. Therefore, Arizona should settle on the arm of Arkansas standout Ryan Mallett.
He has great size at 6 foot 6 inches and 238 pounds. He has been blessed with arm strength. His touch and accuracy need a little work, but give him a couple of years in the pros. Mallett has the potential to be a great NFL quarterback.
For the rest of this Cardinals’ season, it will be a struggle to watch as the team continues to rely on the questionable arm of Derek Anderson.
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