Arizona Cardinals Need to Replace General Manager Rod Graves

Jonathan Cullen@@jcullen71Senior Writer IOctober 22, 2012

GM Rod Graves of the Arizona Cardinals
GM Rod Graves of the Arizona CardinalsAllan Henry-US PRESSWIRE

It is time for a change in the desert.

Sometime this morning, the ownership of the Arizona Cardinals need to sit down with general manager Rod Graves and head coach Ken Whisenhunt and talk about the state of the team.

The Cardinals currently stand at 4-3 after starting the season 4-0. Looking at the schedule, the Cardinals could be 4-6 going into a Week 12 matchup against the St. Louis Rams.

Not acceptable. You don’t start a season 4-0 very often. For the Cardinals, the last time they started a season 4-0 was 1974. The Cardinals only had to go 6-6 over the remainder of the season to likely make the playoffs at 10-6.

The main question to ask is, “why are we in this position again?”

How did the Cardinals expect two injury-prone running backs to stay healthy over an entire season and not build any depth at the position? Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams have both shown that they are talented but completely unreliable due to constant injury problems. William Powell has shown some early promise in his first 20 carries this season, but it hasn’t been enough to protect the team.

Where is the depth at this position? Look at the running back depth chart of the Patriots or Giants. Both teams go four deep with quality backs.

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The offensive line play has been poor for over two years. Much-maligned starting tackles D’Anthony Batiste and Bobby Massie probably wouldn’t start for the other 31 teams in the NFL. I’m not sure that they would start for the Arizona State Sun Devils.

The entire offensive line is below-average, and the Cardinals coaching staff has shown very little ability to develop offensive line depth to protect the team’s quarterbacks and running backs. If it is not the system, why is Russ Grimm still the offensive line coach? With all of Grimm’s credentials, why has he not been able to fix the offensive line? It is a question that needs to be answered.

Arizona quarterbacks have been sacked 35 times already in seven games. Only Kevin Kolb’s mobility has saved that number from being much higher. Already this season the Cardinals have seen both Kolb and John Skelton get injured playing behind this line, and it only figures to get worse.

Kolb has actually played pretty well this season when he has had enough time to execute. The coaching staff obviously didn’t have much confidence in Kolb, choosing to start the season with Skelton as the starter. Only an injury to Skelton during the first game brought Kolb back under center.

Now with Kolb injured, the Cardinals stand one play away from having untested rookie Ryan Lindley be the starter. How does a team find itself in these types of positions seven games into a season?

By not having an effective running game or having the ability to protect the passer, opposing defenses are going to continue to blitz and challenge the offensive line until they show they can stop someone.

For years, the Cardinals had a strong offense with a poor defense. Finally, they were able to address the defensive shortcomings by hiring defensive coordinator Ray Horton in 2011. Horton has had an immediate impact in making this a playoff-caliber unit.

The Cardinals currently stand seventh defensively in yards allowed and fourth in points allowed per game. Unfortunately, two teams in their own division, the 49ers and Seahawks, rank above them.

Part of the problem for Arizona has been the drafting that has occurred the past three years. In 2012, the Cardinals chose Michael Floyd, a wide receiver from Notre Dame, instead of addressing their many areas of need. Wide receiver is one of the few positions on the roster that is solid and has some depth. Floyd was a luxury, not a necessity.

The Cardinals would have been much better served to trade down from the 13th pick in the first round to acquire other picks in order to build depth. The team also failed to address the offensive line throughout the draft, failing to draft a lineman during the 2010 or 2011 draft.

If it is the players, then Graves needs to go or be reassigned. If Graves truly believes the team has the players, then Grimm needs to be shown the door. Either way, something needs to be done to show that this personnel issue is not acceptable.

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