The "Uptown" sign has been mothballed and donated to Goodwill. Major League Baseball is trying to sell its own script of brotherly love: The NFL has the Harbaughs? We see your DNA and raise you the Uptons.
No team underwent the offseason face-lift the D-backs did, and they have the scars to prove it.
The Diamondbacks drew 25,000 people to Fan Fest on Saturday and GM Kevin Towers and President Derrick Hall spent much of their day sounding like parents trying to convince their kids to try the funny-smelling new food on their plate. "I think you're going to like these players," Towers is quoted as saying on azcentral.com. "All I ask is to give them a chance."
Regarding Towers' moves, Hall added "That man knows what he's doing."
Like it or don't; the early focus will be centered on who isn't here as opposed to who is. Most of that attention will be directed towards Upton, or Chris Young.
I'm wondering if the D-backs will regret that move the most.
Montero was pleasantly candid. "When you get a guy like that and he thinks he's got everything figured out, it's just tough to commence and try to get on the same page with you," he said. "He never wanted to listen," and my personal fave: "Good luck to (Indians catcher) Carlos Santana there."
I understand Montero's and the organization's frustrations with Bauer; show me any workplace when the young kid comes in and thinks he's the smartest one in the room and I'll show you a whole bunch of eye rolling and complaining. Such was the nature of Ken Kendrick's comments on Bauer back in October.
I'm sure there are plenty of off-the-record tales to be told of how stubborn the kid was and certainly Montero deserves more respect than he was shown. But the D-backs had to know that there wasn't anything about Bauer that was standard or typical. What surprises me is how little tolerance they had for it.
Usually a process like this involves the Try phase, followed by the Fail phase, and finally (hopefully) the Reinvention phase. For Bauer and the D-backs it was a little bit of Try, a little bit of Fail, followed by Go-Directly-To-Cleveland/Do-Not-Pass-Go-And-Do-Not-Collect-$200.
That's why the potential for regret is higher for the Bauer deal than it is for any other move made by the D-backs, including the Upton trade. With Bauer, you don't have the first foggy clue what you had and lost. Maybe he's sensational. Maybe he flames out. Maybe, like many top prospects, he's somewhere in the middle. You. Just. Don't. Know.
We don't know about Upton either, but at least we've had six years to try and figure him out. To learn his tendencies, his strengths and flaws. To make a reasonable judgment about what kind of player he'll be. He's a mystery too, but you can't say you didn't give him plenty of opportunities to prove himself.
I get the D-backs dealt from a position of strength (young pitching) to fill an area of need (shortstop) and Didi Gregorius certainly has a say how this turns out.
But if Bauer tries, fails and successfully reinvents himself in Cleveland, this will be the deal Towers and the gang will regret for a long time.
Who is in the mood for an analogy or two or three?
The Suns are like the restaurant I used to eat at every Friday night. I go back now and the food isn't very good, the building is all run down, and the health code violations are stacking up. I don't want to eat there anymore.
I admire the passion, and frankly, the anger displayed by my friend and colleague Jude LaCava regarding the Suns.
I can relate.
As an Arizona native, I treat the Suns differently than the other teams in town. The highs are higher. The lows, lower. In some regards I suppose they're like a child born with the burden of enormous expectations; I expect more out of the Suns and when they fail to live up to those expectations, the disappointment cuts deep.
Suns fans are justified in letting their angst flag fly like LaCava, though judging by the sagging attendance the last few years I wonder how many of you are left to be angry. To me it's not anger and certainly sad isn't the right word either. It's disheartening. Pathetically disheartening.
Disheartening to see what has become of the organization with the fourth-best winning percentage in the history of the NBA.
I figured a tree with roots that deep would always last. I figured wrong.
The Suns are like a car that has caught fire on the side of the freeway. What would our traffic reporter call it? A Car-B-Que? How can you not slow down to take a look?
- Alvin Gentry, clearly not part of the problem, yet fired anyway.
- A two-day "search" for his replacement, because, you know, it's standard operating procedure to fire a guy then not have the first clue as to who is replacing him.
-Lindsey Hunter hired despite no coaching experience whatsoever.
-Dan Majerle, local legend, assistant coach and restaurateur, out the door.
- Elston Turner, who owns no restaurants (to the best of my knowledge) but who has been an assistant coach in this league for nearly 16 seasons, perhaps right behind Majerle.
- Gentry, when asked Tuesday if he was ever comfortable with Hunter's presence said after a considerable pause, "Uhhh…I don't think it's important to answer that."
- An "expletive-laced" shouting match between GM Lance Blanks and Jermaine O'Neal.
- An FBI investigation of Hunter, that either is or is not ongoing, depending on whom you ask.
If you were to look at just one of these angles, it wouldn't be a big deal. But you add it all up and…oh yeah, you can see the smoke from miles away and the traffic is all jammed up.
The Suns are Jack, Kate, Locke, Hurley, the smoke monster, the Dharma Initiative and the island all rolled into one. They are Lost.
I don't need a reason to wish the Lakers ill. I enjoy it. But the fact that the Suns get their draft pick if they're in the lottery adds a little more spice to the stew.
It's too bad the Suns front office is sucking all the joy out of Laker-hating. After watching how poorly this has all been mismanaged, it's hard to trust Lon, Lance or Robert with that pick.
Or their pick.
I have always been on board with the plan; the one that says being really bad is good; the only way to fix this.
But being bad satisfies only half the equation. Believing that the decision-makers will make the right call is the other. The NBA Draft and free agency are enough of a crapshoot as it is. The navigation of those waters without a captain you trust has me reaching for the nearest flotation device.
Between Bruce Arians, Ray Horton and Alvin Gentry, there were plenty of comings and goings. Fortunately nothing exploded. At least not yet (its 3:50 p.m. as I write this, Upton is still a D-back, right?).
On some level you have to feel for Arians. A day that should be noteworthy for his arrival is instead consumed with the controversial departures of the Horton and Gentry. Unpopular? Yes. Unjustified? Yes. But in one of the circumstances, it was unequivocally the right thing to do. And that is allowing Ray Horton to leave.
All along I thought Horton, as long as he was paired with a seasoned offensive coordinator, would be a fine choice as head coach. Clearly the Cards thought differently. At best, he was nothing more than the in-case-of-emergency-break-glass option, the guy to hire when they'd exhausted all the options they liked more. At worst, he was never an option. A mere courtesy interview in an era where defensive coaches aren't getting too many sniffs.
Horton has every right to be unhappy about this, just as Arians has every right to have full authority to choose his assistants. It doesn't do anybody any good to keep Horton around. Too many trust issues and too many fears of a divided locker room. Painful. Unpopular. But the right decision.
Ray Horton was the best thing to happen to the Cardinals in the last year and a half but, as the cliché goes, coaches coach. Players play. Give me Daryl Washington, Patrick Peterson and Calais Campbell over Ray Horton any day.
The same cannot be said for that so-called roster belonging to the Phoenix Suns.
I agreed with letting Ken Whisenhunt go; in my view he was part of the problem. That's why the firing of Gentry is so misguided. He is not a part of the problem.
Handed a roster filled with players who might be someone else's third best player (or fourth, or fifth depending on the team), is it any surprise Gentry's team is 13-28 with losses in 20 of their last 26 games? Apparently it is to the front office; they expected more from a team that they constructed. When you have a bad blueprint, firing the guy who pounds the nails hardly seems like the fair thing to do.
This is part of the process. How the NBA works. Quick turnarounds are not the norm and the Suns are now in that phase of their evolution where being bad is good. Good draft picks that hopefully can spin off into legitimate contributors and maybe even stars.
Who knows, one day - heck maybe today - Gentry will realize that getting let go was the best thing that happened to him, that there is more to life than trying to squeeze a little production out of Michael Beasley. This is especially true if more encouraging options around the league emerge. I've been fired before; sometimes the experience can be liberating.
There's nothing wrong with being the second choice.
Harrison Ford wasn't the first choice to play Indiana Jones; Tom Selleck was. Both Tom Hanks and Kevin Costner turned down the role of Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption. Thank you very much, says Tim Robbins. Keanu Reeves can also send a thank you note to Will Smith for turning down the role of Neo in The Matrix.
By now, we all know that Pete Carroll wasn't the first or even second choice to be the USC coach. I'd say that one worked out ok for everyone involved...well right up until all those pesky sanctions anyway.
This is being written under the assumption that Mike McCoy was the first choice of the Arizona Cardinals to be their head coach. It is not a known fact but rather speculation based on their reported desire to interview him again. But after the Chargers sent a jet to pick up McCoy for his interview (with the contract waiting for him inside the cabin) the Cardinals were never going to get that chance. Besides, San Diego has a quarterback, Arizona doesn't. Seems like a no-brainer from here.
So now it just feels like it's time for Plan B, which could very well end up being the guy many figured would get the job before Ken Whisenhunt was even fired: Ray Horton.
If that happens, I wouldn't expect him to be miffed that he had to endure this process; at the end of the day he wants to be a head coach in the NFL and that's exactly what he'll be. That's my point about Indiana Jones and Shawshank. There is nothing wrong with being Plan B -- Unless you think you're never going to be picked at all. Again...more on that in a sec.
If you really think about it, it's the lack of interest in Horton that has allowed the Cardinals to pursue this at their pace. No rush. No pressure. No panic. It's a different story if there is tremendous demand for Horton.
But if this continues to stretch out, you can't help but wonder if the Cards are set on hiring an offensive-minded coach. One who can keep up with ever-evolving offenses. One who can do what Whiz couldn't; select and develop a quarterback. And one who keeps Ray Horton right where he is -- in charge of one of the best defenses in the NFL. There is some logic to it -- fix what is actually broken and leave Ray and the defense alone, don't take a chance that his promotion weakens the defense and hire a head coach that can fix what is broken.
And after news broke of the Cardinals' interest in Seattle O.C. Darrell Bevell, the evidence is mounting that is precisely the direction they are leaning.
Either way, what a weird trip it's been for the Cards. Getting played by Andy Reid and getting beat by San Diego. Safe to say it's led to some unrest among the fans and it looks from here like the Cardinals can relate to that feeling of not being somebody's first choice.
But like I say, being someone's first choice isn't always the best choice. Maybe that will turn out for Ray Horton and the Cardinals.
Have you ever been fired before? I have and to be frank…it was misery. Easily one of the worst days of my life. I can remember every specific detail of the day, including the movie my wife and I went to that night; the Harrison Ford suckfest "Six Days Seven Nights." The film broke halfway through and as the lights came up I turned my wife and said, "Holy (bleep), I got fired today."
I don't care how much money you're getting on the way out the door, rejection, by rule, is unpleasant. For that reason I'm always cautious about celebrating another person's misfortune when they've lost their job.
So I'm not celebrating the firings of Ken Whisenhunt and Rod Graves, but certainly I am endorsing it as the right move to make.
For these three reasons:
1. The losing streaks. Seven games, six games and nine games in a three-year stretch. Inexcusable. Indefensible. You can't run into that many icebergs and still expect to be the captain of the boat.
2. The stubbornness. Or, if you've grown tired of hearing that word to describe coach Whisenhunt let's put it this way; the inability to adapt to changing conditions. Call it what you want, he was too slow to adapt. He left Joey Porter in too long. He left D'Anthony Batiste in too long. Russ Grimm. Mike Miller. But the most damning moment came during the game against the New York Jets this season, when -- despite all evidence to the contrary -- he left rookie Ryan Lindley in the game until the bitter end, professing a belief that he gave the Cardinals the best chance to win that football game. It was that moment where I felt Whisenhunt had truly lost his way.
And most importantly….
3. The inability to find a quarterback post-Kurt Warner. The sad truth is that after three years and six different players manning (pun intended) the position, the Cardinals are not a step closer to finding their quarterback than they were the day Warner retired.
Who is ultimately responsible for that? Personally, I believe Whisenhunt had the loudest voice at the table. But you had to fire Graves too, because as the GM, technically, he is supposed to play a part in that as well. And, you can't have your fan base thinking you've done only half the job.
I suppose that is the move I'm most surprised by. They didn't reassign Graves like I suspected they would. They flat out fired him. Maybe he was no more than a contract negotiator; a general manager in title only. It didn't ultimately matter. As long as he was in that front office many of the fans would have believed that nothing, in fact, had changed.
Michael Bidwill needed to convince his season-ticket holders, his customers and anyone else that roots for the organization, that things were going to be different. Nobody was going to buy it as long as Graves was around, hence he was let go along with Whisenhunt. An obvious move, but a bold one as well.
One thing is clear; the Arizona Cardinals need a quarterback. And Whisenhunt and Graves simply could not be trusted to find one. They had their chances and they whiffed. It was time to give somebody else a turn.
Is that person Steve Keim? Andy Reid? We'll see.
It would be a better column if I could remember the exact date. I could cheat and look it up but I won't. So the story alone -- absent of the hard-core facts -- will have to do.
At halftime of Game 1 of the 1996 NBA Finals between the Seattle Sonics and Chicago Bulls, Charles Barkley shredded the Phoenix Suns organization and demanded a trade. Do you remember that night?
The next day the entire Valley was consumed with conversation and debate. Was Barkley right to call out the team? Was it time to get rid of the bum?
One thing was certain: That was it. No more encores. Time to turn on the house lights so the crowd could file out.
The Barkley years were over.
(Side note: After being traded to the Rockets he said "I called the shots… When push comes to shove I think you have to stand up to the system.")
Sunday night, albeit under an entirely different set of circumstances, feels exactly the same. It feels like the Ken Whisenhunt era is about to end. Needs to end. Perhaps, by the time you read this, it has ended, I don't know.
I'm not sure what I could write that could tell the story more than simply reiterating the score. 58-0. Honestly, what else do you require? The turnovers. The worst quarterback situation in the league. A defense that lost its will after carrying this team all year long, not to mention any lingering resentment over their fined teammate Darnell Dockett.
Here's all I need to know: In consecutive years, the Cardinals have endured losing streaks of seven, six and now nine straight games. Coaches can't survive that and shouldn't survive that. For this reason alone I believe it's time for a change.
The quarterback situation has become so unruly that Richard Bartel tweeted out during the game: "Ok…I'll pay to play." Then added later: "Seriously. Pay." It go so bad that Vince Young tweeted to Larry Fitzgerald during the game: "You know I can help tell coach."
Here is the risk as I see for the Cardinals if they don't fire Whisenhunt; they'll be branded as (all together now) the same old Cardinals. Too cheap to do the right thing and unwilling to eat the $5.5 million or so owed to Whisenhunt for the last year of his contract.
If they keep him, the team can spin it however they'd like, perhaps it would even be the truth. It won't matter. Old perceptions live long and die hard for this organization.
As I mentioned, the Barkley story isn't a perfect comparison. I went to bed on that June evening pissed off that he wanted out. But looking back on it, it was time.
It was time for him to go. And saying that doesn't diminish all the great and wonderful things he did for this city and that team. He made Phoenix Suns basketball matter in a way that it never had before. He was a rock star in every way, the biggest rock star in the sport once Jordan left, and he was ours. Acknowledging his time had come and gone doesn't weaken any of that. Barkley was ready to move on, and even though we didn't recognize it at the time, frankly we were too. Barkley's last year here was a boring 41-41 campaign that ended with a first round nose dive against the Spurs. The era was over whether we were ready for it to be over or not.
In many regards the same can be said for Ken Whisenhunt. He's a terrific coach and a smart man. He brought discipline, structure and a this-is-how-the-NFL-works temperament to a delinquent organization. He led the Arizona Cardinals to the Super Bowl for goodness sakes.
His team was just over two minutes away from winning the damn thing. Like Barkley, Whisenhunt was the ultimate tour guide taking this city to places previously thought unimaginable. How do you say goodbye to that? How can you want to say goodbye to that?
I can almost guarantee; whatever his next job is and whenever that next job happens, he'll own it. Be great at it. I don't doubt that for a second.
But right here, right now, for too long, this team has lost its way under Ken Whisenhunt.
When you make your living talking about sports, through the sheer nature of quantity, you're going to ending up saying some things that you don't really believe will come to fruition. You discuss hypotheticals. You play devil's advocate. Suffice to say, most of these what-if scenarios you end up discussing never happen.
So last week when I said on the show something to the extent of "the Cardinals better not lose to the Rams…..if they do, it might get loud in here" I'll be honest with you; it never occurred to me that it might actually happen.
It's like one of those empty threat grenades I lob in the direction of my teenage children every now and then. Clean your room or I'll…I'll….take away your TV! Would I have actually done it? I don't know because it never, ever comes to that.
The Cardinals better not lose to the Rams. If they do, it might get loud in here.
They did and it is. Very.
So loud that for the first time, to my knowledge anyhow, Ken Whisenhunt was asked about his job status (by none other than the esteemed Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic). Coach provided a professional response, noting that such talk was part of the business and that nobody feels worse about this then the coaching staff does. Whiz answered the question like he knew it was coming.
After a dreadful game like the one just witnessed how could it not be?
The offense, Whiz's specialty, is in desperate need of a reboot akin to that of Bond or Batman. After a sensational start, Ryan Lindley threw four interceptions and two pick-sixes. After being overthrown and underthrown, definitely bet the over on whether or not Larry Fitzgerald is frustrated.
The once mighty advantage of University of Phoenix Stadium has been picked over like your Thanksgiving turkey after losses to the Bills and Rams. Combined, those two teams have three road wins this season, two of which were against the Cardinals (the Bills also beat the Browns on the road).
The defense gave up only 17 points that weren't the result of Lindley's inaccuracy and in the second half played like a unit that was worn out from having to carry the load.
Most damning of all, this was to be the game that ended the losing streak. If you can't beat the Rams at home then where does it end? How does it end? Next week against the Jets? Yeah, they're a joke, but you just got thumped at home by the Rams. On the joke depth chart that's pretty hard to beat. At Seattle? San Francisco? Home to the Bears or Lions?
Odds say it will end and the Cardinals won't end the season on a 12-game losing streak. But even when it does, the clean house crowd will have two strong pieces of evidence: the inability to find a post-Warner quarterback and losing streaks of seven, six and seven (and counting) over the last three years.
Certainly the noise, and the unease, is justified and it remains to be seen if this team and this coach can do anything to quiet it. Perhaps the return of Kevin Kolb will level off the descent. Though that return is hovering somewhere between a when and an if. No one is certain.
That uncertainty plagues the head coach as well whose future is, at best, muddled.
Pretty soon we'll get a break from all the negativity. Then we'll see if real change is in order.
I could be talking about the election. I could be talking about Cardinals football heading into the bye.
The two were woven together all Sunday morning. While candidates were busy attacking each other, this football team was busy attacking all the goodwill they had built up over the last calendar year.
It was November 6 of last year the Cardinals beat the St. Louis Rams 19-13 on a Patrick Peterson punt return. It served as a launch point for a run that saw the Cards win 11 of 13 games and restore an element of hope and belief that the problems that were fixable had been fixed and the ones that were manageable were being managed.
Instead, for the third straight year, we're staring at a long losing streak the likes of which sink seasons and render football teams irrelevant. In 2010 the Cards lost seven straight. Last year a six-game losing streak. So far this year, it's five straight and chances are your Thanksgiving dinner comes before the next win does.
I'll give the Cardinals credit for this: for a moment I thought this game was going to go the way of some of their memorably embarrassing trips back East. After a Green Bay field goal made it 24-7, a bad pass to Larry Fitzgerald, a horrible drop by Rob Housler that left John Skelton screaming "Catch the ball!" and a shanked punt, the Cardinals were on the precipice of one of those predictable blowouts. It didn't happen -- in fact just the opposite occurred. The Cardinals fused two pretty good drives to close the gap to one score.
The fun ended there though as the Crabtree clan struck again (last week Michael, this week Tom) for a 72-yard touchdown pass that left the tight end so winded he needed a step ladder to perform the Lambeau Leap.
And that is where you'll find the unexpected criticism of the Cardinals this week; the defensive letdown. Happened twice. The Crabtree touchdown was the second example. Earlier, after the Cardinals tied it at seven, the Packers re-took the lead on the very next possession. The defense has been so valuable all year long; there is some guilt in even thinking ill thoughts about them. And yet, it's the most points they've allowed all year.
Defensive struggles aside, this team now goes into the bye week surely contemplating change. The question is to what degree. Nate Potter saw heavy playing time at left tackle; his first start can't be too far behind. Early Doucet didn't do himself any favors with all the drops; are more targets for Michael Floyd in order? I had suspected for two weeks now that the Cards might use the bye week to prepare Ryan Lindley for his first start in the NFL and I went into this game Sunday getting ready to use this space to plead with them to do just that.
While not perfect, Skelton hardly seemed like the problem on Sunday. His protection was decent. His throws were more on target. The drops by his receivers were an issue.
Last year at this time the Cards found a spark by playing the younger guys on defense; perhaps they use the bye week to do the same to their sagging offense but changing QBs just doesn't feel like the play right now. Not after Sunday.
The radical play is a change in the coaching staff (Miller or Grimm) as sacrifice to placate the fans. A desperate Andy Reid did it in Philly. The fact that it's not working in Philly doesn't bolster the argument for a move and clearly such drastic thinking runs counter culture to Ken Whisenhunt.
I've always been impressed with the movies that can take several different stories, with several different characters and somehow intertwine them throughout the course of two and a half hours. I'm talking about movies like "Traffic" and "Crash" and even "Pulp Fiction" (in fact if you Google "movies with intertwining storylines" you get this). How the director and writer are able to take all those separate angles and turn it into one singular story is, at worst, a neat gimmick and, at best, a work of art.
My first temptation following the nationally televised punchline on Monday Night Football was to lay into John Skelton. But that's not fair, his offensive line is terrible. Although let's be honest, it's not their fault when a Skelton pass sails away like a kite when the string is let go. A running game would help too, but you know, the Cardinals are missing their top two running backs, haven't bothered with trying to find another, and frankly the way they run block, really what's the point. There have been a few missed kicks in there too. I suppose, if I wanted, I could make a case for all the dropped balls that have hindered the Cardinals offense these last few weeks.
Drafting a wideout would have helped - oh wait, they did that - but I've hardly noticed Michael Floyd this entire season. Maybe that pick would have been better spent on a tackle, but then again how could they have predicted their left tackle was going to hurt in August. And until the last eight games of the 2011 regular season, Levi Brown was a massive bust in his own right. I guess that's part of the reason why Russ Grimm gets so much grief from the fans; it doesn't feel like he's really developed any of his linemen, but, let's be fair, it's not like they've really committed to drafting offensive linemen.
You can assume they'll take one next year in the draft, unless they take a quarterback, unless they think they already have one in Ryan Lindley and really, isn't the clock ticking on his NFL debut?
There is not one definitive angle. Not one person to blame. Not one overriding theme or obvious solution. All these intertwining Cardinal storylines add up to one simple conclusion: this offense is broken.
Coach Whisenhunt knows there is no easy fix. He was asked after the game if he still has confidence in the offense as a whole.
His answer: "I guess we don't have a lot of choices."
My point can be illustrated by a question. If I gave you the opportunity to change out one part. One position, player or coach. At this point would it make much of a difference in the overall production? While the Cards shouldn't give up trying, it's hard to see that one switch could make a world of difference.
The Eagles made a big change heading into their bye week by firing their defensive coordinator. In the end, their defense got worse at home against Atlanta. Perhaps, after the Green Bay game, the Cards will look to change things up going into their bye week but I imagine the same conclusion will be reached. They don't have a lot of choices.
Usually I'm the movie guy; always at the ready with a line, character or scene from a flick that tries to sum up the typically misguided point I'm trying to make.
Today though, the Arizona Cardinals have me quoting Springsteen:
"You've got to learn to live with what you can't rise above if you want to ride on down, down in through this tunnel of love."
The song "Tunnel of Love" from the album Tunnel of Love is one big, giant metaphor for…well…love. But after the Cardinals lost to the Bills, it's a line that also applies them and their fans. The Arizona Cardinals have to learn to live with what they can't rise above. Cardinal fans have to learn to live with what they can't rise above.
That would be the offense.
Oh I suppose if you want to bust out the microscope you could focus on the o-line. In the span of three weeks, they've allowed 22 sacks. Twice, in the span of six games, the cart was on the field to take the quarterback off it (though Kolb walked off on his own). If you pine to see Ryan Lindley in a game, rest assured, behind this line you'll probably get your chance.
But it goes beyond just the line. It's that entire unit. The constant struggle to get Larry Fitzgerald the ball. The fight to a) commit to running the ball and then b) actually running it once you have. The dropped passes. The poor passes. The wouldas squared plus the couldas squared equal the shouldas squared.
Think about it -- the Cardinals scored 16 points against the Bills. Three came on a 61-yard field goal, three more on a short field after a fumble to start the game. Ten points against a defense that in the previous six quarters gave up 90.
The Cardinals are going to have to learn to live with what they can't rise above, and what they can't rise above is their offense. After the Patriots game I advised Cards fans to get comfy; this was how it was going to be all year long. The Cardinals offense simply wasn't consistently good enough for it to be any other way.
Here we are a month later and nothing has changed. This is who they are. You want to love them? You're gonna have to live it.
The easy path is to look at their schedule and project a slide. I said a week ago; the Buffalo game is the most winnable game on the Cardinals slate for the next month. Lose, and you're standing at the edge of a cliff ready to plunge. And yet in a league where it feels like every game comes down to two or three plays I'm not so sure that's the case.
A week ago the Niners were the BEST TEAM IN FOOTBALL. Today? Licking wounds. The presumed struggling Packers crushed the undefeated Texans. The Patriots couldn't hold a huge lead against Seattle. The Falcons barely hung on against the lowly Raiders. The Cowboys statistically mauled the Ravens but lost. Everything about the Philadelphia Eagles defies a prediction. The entire AFC East is 3-3. The Cardinals use a 61-yard field goal to tie the game but can't make a 38-yarder to win the football game.
This league is an Etch-A-Sketch. Draw a picture, shake it up, start over next week.
Predicting what will happen in this league isn't like finding a needle in a haystack, it's -- as Tom Hanks said in Saving Private Ryan -- finding a needle in a stack of needles. Based off this last weekend it would be foolish to think the Cards won't win at least one of the next four games.