The Cardinals offense has survived the Super Bowl hangover. It has survived Kurt Warner's 38th birthday, Warner's hip surgery, and another offseason full of questions about Anquan Boldin's happiness.
The team's pass attack is a little different, but still effective. Warner still throws like crazy. He's tied for the league lead in attempts per game and is on pace for over 4,600 yards.
He just doesn't throw as deep, as Marcus Fitzgerald is happy to tell you. Warner has turned Marcus' bro into a possession receiver; Fitz hasn't had a play over 26 yards all year and is averaging only 10.3 yards per catch. His previous career low was 13.4, and that was as a rookie.
It's not just Fitzgerald Warner isn't connecting deep with. Warner is 19th in the league in plays over 20 yards, behind Mark Sanchez, Matthew Stafford, and Kyle Orton. (He has one more than "Captain Checkdown" Trent Edwards.) Warner has completed one play over 40 yards, tied for 25th in the league. Last year, Warner was in the top five in both explosive play categories.
Perhaps the hip surgery has eroded Warner's deep ball. The difference was obvious when watching him try to throw a hail mary from the fifty-yard line at the end of the first half against Seattle. Warner loaded up, but had to throw the ball without any arc to get over the goal line.
It's a testament to Warner's accuracy and smarts that he's still able to thrive. He's turned Steve Breaston into a legitimate every week fantasy option. (Breaston, Boldin, and Fitzgerald have similar yardage.) Warner has survived despite a running game that still remains among the league's worst by any measure – more on that in the notes.
After an uneven start to the season, the Cardinals passing attack is back. The lack of explosive plays should cost them eventually, but Warner also should have been washed up six seasons ago when Eli Manning passed him on the Giants depth chart. Warner's wild career was not built on logic. It was built on an ability to adapt.