Updated Nov 2, 2010 - 10:49 am
Burns: The Cardinals are lost
I keep thinking of that super-old game show, The $25,000 Pyramid.
Clues: Your dad without a map….a teenager's ipod……the passengers of Oceanic 815……the Cardinals quarterback situation.
Answer: Things that are lost.
That's where the Arizona Cardinals are when it comes to their quarterback dilemma. Lost.
True story…..An anonymous manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks grew so frustrated with his lack of trustworthy options at the closers spot, he actually asked me who I would bring in to close a game. I kept thinking of that manager when listening to coach Ken Whisenhunt yesterday after the Cardinals loss to the Buccaneers. In some bizarro parallel universe, Coach Whisenhunt raises his arms to the side, as if to say….."I don't know, what would you guys do?"
The Max Hall experiment would appear to be over, at least for now. I can't envision him getting the start in rowdy Minnesota after throwing two pick-six interceptions against Tampa. I was curious to see how Hall would respond to last week's washed out performance against Seattle and the very honest appraisal delivered by ESPN's Ron Jaworski. He, uh, didn't.
But it's easy to rip a guy and tell me he's not the answer. I have yet to hear one legit solution to the problem. All I'm getting is bunch of noisy I-told-you-so commentary. So tell me….what's the answer?
Derek Anderson? Give him enough time, and enough snaps, and he'll doom you. He did it Sunday and I promise he'll do it again once Ken Whisenhunt likely names him the starter.
John Skelton? Yeah, let's start two rookie quarterbacks in the same season.
Matt Leinart? A bunch of people are going to put on their Captain Hindsight capes and save the day by pointing out the Cardinals should have kept him (one guy on twitter actually suggested the Cardinals would be a 5-2 team with him—congrats, you've just been unfollowed). Maybe they should have kept Leinart, maybe he would have made a difference and maybe they gave up on him too soon. For many Cardinals fans, the not knowing is a sin. But what good does it do you RIGHT NOW? Give a solution that works today, not one that maybe would have worked three months ago.
Some NFL castoff? Jeff Garcia? By the time this leftover gets into camp and learns the playbook it's too late.
The truth is, there are no great options. There are no good options. Blame the Cardinals all you want for being in this mess. It's deserved but now is largely irrelevant. What can they do to fix it?
Like everyone else, I'd love to see them run the ball more and take the ball out of the quarterbacks hands, since it's painfully obvious their hands can't be trusted. In the second half they ran it four times, while throwing it 21 times. They were in come-from-behind mode, but to rush it only four times seems absurd. I wonder if Whisenhunt will put his Captain Hindsight cape on today and wish he had run the ball when Anderson threw that awful pick late in the 4th quarter? But understand, rushing it is hard when you can't trust one of your backs to hold on to the ball (Tim Hightower) and can't trust the other to pick up a blitz and stay in the game (Beanie Wells). It looked like Beanie's missed block that led to Hall's first pick [CORRECTION: We now know Beanie made the correct block on the blitz pickup. Max has to recognize the blitz and get the ball out quicker].
And while we're at it, maybe the defense could help out a little too. The Bucs had scoring drives of 74, 80, 80, and 92 yards.
Right now this team is lost; adrift at sea and the only lighthouse in sight is the fact they play in the awful NFC West. That will soon fade with the way the quarterbacks are playing.