Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Cardinals continue to leave everyone guessing

Note: This column appears in the 10/2 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 10/3 issue of the Peoria Times



Like most people at this point, I don’t know what to think of the Arizona Cardinals anymore.

Just as I was prepared to blast the team for its lackluster showing on Sunday -- down 34-0 at halftime -- they go and make a somewhat valiant comeback. At least offensively. (For many Cardinals’ fans, I’m sure that effort typified what this franchise has come to represent: too little, too late. If at all.)

Just when I thought the Cardinals had a stranglehold on the division -- all alone in 1st place with the Seahawks reeling -- the team loses two straight while Seattle gains a much needed win and gets healthy on their bye week.

Just when I thought their defense was turning a corner after stymieing the 49ers in the second half of the season opener and shutting down the Dolphins a week later, the Cardinals go out and throw up two clunkers, allowing the Redskins and Jets to run roughshod. And pass roughshod, too. Can you even pass roughshod? Against the Cardinals you can.

Just when I thought the Cards could win on the road -- defeating the 49ers in San Fran in Week 1 -- they go and play two more road games.

Just when I thought the quarterback controversy was over and done with, Kurt Warner goes and turns the ball over eight thousand times against an average Jets’ defense.

Just when I thought the Cardinals had rid themselves of their penchant for horrendous penalties…wait -- I never thought that. Scratch that one.

Just when I thought the team was on a fast track to the playoffs, the beneficiaries of a very workable schedule, I now see only a .500 football team that is staring straight down the barrel of some very, very tough matchups.

And just when I thought that trying to figure out the Arizona Cardinals was the most important thing on my plate, Anquan Boldin goes and reminds all of us that it’s really not that important at all. Thank God it looks like he’s going to be alright.

Still, the inconsistencies of this team are maddeningly inexplicable. I don’t know whether this is due to the “parity” of the NFL -- hey, the Chiefs just beat the Broncos -- or if it’s the fatal flaw of an ambiguous team. I don’t know anything anymore. I don’t even know why I’m writing any of this down.

I have no idea what to think anymore when it comes to this team. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if they beat up on the undefeated Bills at home this week. It also wouldn’t surprise me if Buffalo one-ups the Jets and drops a 60 on this defense. It wouldn’t surprise me if Kurt Warner throws for 400 yards and 4 TDs. And it wouldn’t shock me in the least if he finally decides to streamline his mistakes and starts handing the ball off directly to an oncoming Buffalo defender.

I have no more analysis to provide, if I ever did. At this stage, I have no more opinions on this team. No more educated guesses. This is just going to be a week-by-week thing now with the Cardinals. One day they’ll be world-beaters. The next they’ll be, well…the Cardinals.

That’s the way it is, and apparently, the way it’s going to be. I just hope they don’t plan on making the playoffs this way because, if I recall correctly, they tried it this way last year. And it didn’t work.

No comments: