Is There a Change in the Wind for the Arizona Cardinals?
The secret is out, the Arizona Cardinals had a very prolific passing game last year under offensive coordinator Todd Haley.
But he's gone to Kansas City, leaving the play calling to head coach Ken Wisenhunt along with a two headed monster at the offensive coordinator spot, with Russ Grimm and Mike Miller sharing offensive coordinator duties as the running game coordinator and passing game coordinator, respectively.
What the? Does that sound like a recipe for success to you? Only time will tell, but does the drafting of running back Beanie Wells indicate Coach Wisenhunt wants to change to the bruising, ball control style of offense he ran in Pittsburgh?
You know how it works, run the ball successfully, take time off the clock and keep your defense off the field so they're fresh late in the game.
I can tell you this, if he would have had that type of offense during the Superbowl, the Cardinals could have easily run more time off the clock in the final drive and prevented Pittsburgh from marching down the field to victory.
If they are thinking of emphasizing the running game, it's the offensive line that needs to be addressed, and from what I see, there is no improvement that will lead to success running the ball.
Yes, Beanie Wells is a big back that can grind out tough yards, problem is, they were last in the league in rushing last year with a meager 3.5 yards per carry and 73.6 yards per game.
Since they did nothing to improve the offensive line and Barry Sanders is the only back in recent history that could create something out of nothing (I doubt he's coming out of retirement to play for the Cards) I don't see the addition of Wells alone improving the running game.
Which means they will again have to rely on the arm of Kurt Warner, and the hands of Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin and Steve Breaston. Which brings up another question, will Boldin even be with the Cards or will he be traded away? If he leaves can Steve Breaston step up and fill his shoes?
On the defensive side of the ball, the departure of D-coordinator Clancy Pendergast means the duties will fall to Bill Davis, who was promoted from linebackers coach. Under Davis the Cards will run a true 3-4 scheme rather than the hybrid 3-4 they ran last year.
With this change they will keep the aggressive, attacking style that forced plenty of turnovers last year, but the hope is to improve containment and put people in the right position to prevent big plays.
The loss of defensive back Roderick Hood in free agency will hurt, but they have a good young core of players returning and I see no reason for the defense to not perform at last years level.
The real concern lies with the offensive philosophy and the Dr Jeckyll/Mr Hyde play calling tendencies of Wisenhunt. If he steers away from the strength of the team and forces a change to the running game, I believe the Cards will suffer through a difficult, frustrating season.
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