Fellow Arizona Featured Columnist Scott Z. Brady and I discussed the State of the Cardinals today. Here is the result.
Chris Farmer= Undrafted= UDF
Scott Z. Brady= Z
UDF: Do you think Anquan Boldin's comments after the Bears game will be a distraction for this team?
Z: No, players don't care about that stuff. And coach Whisenhunt seemed to be OK with it. It was a misunderstanding... Q walks back into the locker room and his uniform is gone.
He screwed up by not asking Whiz what the deal was before he cried to the media and questioned Whisenhunt's manhood. But these things happen. As a former player, Whisenhunt could see where Boldin was coming from.
Did he overact? Yes, but that happens too.
UDF: Do you think this team will get over the hump, and become a Top Five team while Kurt Warner is still their QB? And if so when do you think it will happen?
Z: I do.. like I said before the Panthers game, this is a good team with very good players on both sides of the ball. Unfortunately, they laid an egg at home against Carolina, but I can't help thinking that's more the exception at this point.
No team has 22 stars on their roster, but looking at the Cards in key skill positions, I don't see many teams that can match them talent-wise up and down the roster.
Another indication is their depth. It used to be where the Cards would immediately throw draft choices to the dogs because they lacked talent. Now rookies have to earn time on the field.
I think they're a top seven or eight team now. Talent-wise, I think they're a top five team. It just needs to come together, and I think they're getting there.
The wins at home will come back, but they got a HUGE gorilla off their back in proving they can beat good teams on the road. I still see good things happening this year.
UDF: Tell me how much you loved seeing that running game going? I am a huge fan of Tim Hightower and have defended his abilities frequently , and that was his best game this year.
Then to be fair, Beanie Wells is the more naturally gifted back and has superstar potential, and he keeps giving us a peak of that really long run that he is about to break off one of these games, and that was his best game of the year. Wells might be special.
If the running game plays like that, we might win the Super Bowl this time out. Give me your thoughts on the running game and what you think it means for this team?
Z: Well, like you I love to see the Cardinals finally having the players to put together a good running game. In the NFL these days, you need two quality backs.
I think adding Beanie Wells with Tim Hightower has awesome potential. They're as close to Adrian Peterson/Chester Taylor as there is in the league. With the size and toughness the Cards have at receiver for down field blocking, we should start seeing long runs taken to the house soon.
Its still at the 'potential' stage, but they showed a glimpse of the possibilities against Chicago, and it will be very interesting to see how they grow as a running/two-dimensional offense as the season goes along.
UDF: I liked how active Ali Highsmith was in place of injured Gerald Hayes, and I am noticing that DRC is quietly becoming a great tackler. Plus Will Davis got his first career sack I believe? Your thoughts on any of these players?
Z: I think Gerald Hayes is the most underrated player on the team this year. He has been a stud all season, and gets very little props.
Ali is small, but he has a good motor. I don't think he'll become an all-pro (seems to lack that 'nose for the ball' that great players have), but he's a solid player, especially as a backup.
Its hard to say with Davis, because rookies are hard to judge. But he seems very athletic and has good size. He made a few plays when given a shot, and that's good to see.
DRC will be a Pro Bowler soon. What impressed me this year about him besides sticking his nose in there and making tackles, is that he learns quick. When he was trying too hard to make plays earlier in the season, he was made aware of it, and has played within the system since.
Guys like DRC and Adrian Wilson are going to free-lance from time-to-time in order to make a play. But it has to be within the system, or it all falls apart. I think he's starting to get that.
UDF: Do you think the Cardinals will finally piece together two dominant performances in a row and thrash the 'Hawks?
Z: Yep, but I can't tell you too much here, or I won't have a pregame story :)