Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 10/9/11
At least we wont have to hear all week how the Cardinals are close to breaking through. Theyre not. Theyre done. Season over. Think thats hyperbole? Fine. Go ahead and delude yourself. Were not buying the line anymore that there are plenty of games left to play. The sky has already fallen. Following San Franciscos win over Tampa Bay on Sunday, the Cardinals are three games behind the surging and confident 49ers in the NFC West -- just five games into the season! We all know what the schedule has in store next: the Steelers, the Ravens and four road games in their next six. The Cards have lost 10 straight away from University of Phoenix Stadium. Did we forget to mention Arizonas 34-10 loss to the Vikings in Minneapolis? Our bad, but it was that forgettable. The Cardinals turned the ball over twice in the first quarter, got a horrid punt from fill-in Ben Graham, couldnt tackle consistently, couldnt block consistently, couldnt get off blocks consistently and couldnt make any plays. Vikings running back Adrian Peterson scored three touchdowns and previously winless Minnesota scored four in the first quarter, the most any Cards opponent has ever scored in the opening frame. Just like that, a game which coach Ken Whisenhunt had all but dubbed a must-win became a white flag on the Cards season even against a team that had surrendered halftime leads of 10, 17 and 20 points this season. Arizonas isnt progressing with the schedule. Its regressing. This is not a good way to go into the bye, receiver Larry Fitzgerald told reporters who attended Sundays game. The plays are there to be made. You can say the Vikings were desperate at 0-4. You can say the Vikings played inspired ball. You can say the Vikings made great plays, like former Avondale Agua Fria standout Everson Griffins tipped ball that led to an early interception. Youd be mostly right, but shouldnt the Cards have come with the same doses of desperation and inspiration after losing nine straight road games? Shouldnt the Cards have made some plays if -- as they insisted they were close to turning this mess around? We need to regroup and find ourselves, running back Beanie Wells said. What we want to do and who we want to be. About the only solace the Cards could take from Sundays game was that they made the correct decision in not signing quarterback Donovan McNabb. The best thing you could say about Minnesotas quarterback was that he didnt get in the way of the rest of his team. He missed receivers badly but at least he didnt turn the ball over. Cards quarterback Kevin Kolb did. Again. Ball security was a big reason for the teams poor quarterback play last season. In his first five starts last season, Derek Anderson had seven turnovers (five interceptions, two fumbles). In his first five starts this season, Kolb has nine (six interceptions and three fumbles), including a pair of picks and a fumble Sunday in Minneapolis. This kind of performance will lead the Cards to some serious soul searching, especially with a week off to ponder their miserable existence. We have to look at what we are doing and who we are doing it with, Whisenhunt said. Nobody is exempt from that. The last time Arizona opened the season 1-4 was in 2006. That was Dennis Green's last season as coach. He was fired and replaced by Whisenhunt. Were not saying Whisenhunts job is in jeopardy. Hes still got cache from that Super Bowl run, especially with a franchise that had posted just one winning record in its 19 seasons in the Valley of the Sun before Whisenhunt arrived. But its fair game to question some of the personnel decisions by Whisenhunt and general manager Rod Graves. Given his substantial free-agent payday, why isnt linebacker Stewart Bradley playing on what has been one of the NFLs poorest linebacking units outside Daryl Washington? If outside linebacker OBriens Schofields lack of experience is his biggest hurdle to supplanting Joey Porter, how is it that rookie Sam Acho, not Schofield, managed to replace Porter on third-down situations Sunday? Why do we keep hearing that Andre Roberts is stepping up when hes impossible to find on the field? Why havent the Cards drafted an offensive lineman the past two seasons when their line continues to exhibit maddening inconsistency? And while were at it, why is Russ Grimm making so much money to coach that line when he hasnt produced a single Pro Bowl lineman -- or one even worthy of Pro Bowl consideration? That doesnt even address Kolbs struggles. Its too early to judge a player at the games toughest position, particularly when he didnt have an offseason to absorb a new offense and he has that aforementioned line in front of him. But the early returns have not been good. The good news is that the Cards record wont get worse next week. They have a bye -- a mini-vacation. The bad news is that it feels like a preview of whats coming after Game No. 16.
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