Falling Fast | The Arizona Cardinals Can’t Stop Making Bad Decisions
True, it’s only been one whole month since the NFL season has officially been over.
It hasn’t even been one whole month since the Cardinals said good-bye to arguably the best quarterback in their franchise’s history.
But after everything that’s happened, is it too wild to imagine the Cardinals dropping right back to where they were three or four years ago?
Face it Cardinals fans, you’ve been spoiled.
Kurt Warner revived a dormant franchise, teamed with Todd Haley, Larry Fitzgerald, and Anquan Boldin, and instilled hope in a drowning fan-base.
The Cardinals reached the Super Bowl, and were eyeing their first (and only) Super Bowl title with roughly two minutes remaining.
Then came Ben Roethlisberger and a back-breaking drive. The Cardinals lost, and then started 2009 with a new, conservative approach with Todd Haley calling all the shots in Kansas City.
Instead of airing it out, Warner and co. played reserved football, dinking and dunking down the field, while remaining fairly inconsistent for much of the season.
However, just like the season before, the Cardinals found their third gear near the end of the year, erased the memory of a beat-down against Green Bay in Week 17, and turned it on for a 51-45 overtime win in the first round.
But then came the embarrassing loss to the New Orleans Saints, Kurt Warner’s retirement, and now two more key losses.
With Anquan Boldin going to Baltimore and Karlos Danbsy signing with the Miami Dolphins, the Cardinals are slowly (but surely) losing key players that made them the resilient team that shocked the world in 2008.
Kurt Warner and Anquan Boldin, arguably the brain and heart of the Arizona Cardinals, are gone. Check Dansby off the list, too, leaving the Cardinals already inconsistent line-backing corps short-handed.
Oh, and then there’s the Antrel Rolle fiasco. Despite claiming they still wanted to retain him after releasing him (for less money, naturally), the Cardinals watched helplessly as the New York Giants signed the talented safety to a five-year deal.
And the worst part is, Rolle reportedly gave the Cardinals every chance to match the offer and keep him in Arizona. They simply didn’t want to.
So, let’s take a second glance.
Matt Leinart, who has been nothing but under-whelming and erratic in spot-duty since, again, an under-whelming rookie season, is your 2010 starter.
And if the Cardinals aren’t comfortable with that, they can always bring in (David Carr?) to compete with Leinart. And yes, they have been rumored to be interested.
Sure, losing Boldin from a talent perspective doesn’t take the wind out of the sails, but do Steve Breaston and/or Early Doucet have Boldin’s toughness, fearlessness, and leadership?
Quite easily, no, no, and no.
Talent can only do so much, and regardless of age or injuries, there’s no denying Boldin was and is an absolute gamer. Arizona trading him for a third and fourth round pick was simply another reminder that this is a franchise that is not serious about winning.
Letting Karlos Dansby and Antrel Rolle walk in the process was just the icing on the cake.
As if losing your star, veteran quarterback and gutsy, reliable receiver wasn’t enough, the Cardinals allowed two of their most talented defensive stars to leave, as well.
After everything that’s happened (in the past month alone, mind you), it’s becoming quite clear that, whether the Cardinals are wishing it upon themselves or not, they are quickly becoming less competitive by the day.
Add an 0-2 record against the apparently rising San Francisco 49ers to the mix, and the Cardinals almost certainly have a ridiculously long uphill battle to get the division title for the third straight season.
And if Brandon Marshall somehow finds his way in Seattle in 2010, something tells me the Cardinals could slip even further.