The Arizona Cardinals started the season with four straight wins, including a road win over the New England Patriots. After an overtime win against the Miami Dolphins, things turned south and the Cardinals have now lost nine straight games. Things cannot get much lower currently for Arizona after being humiliated against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday 58-0. Will the Cardinals fire head coach Ken Whisenhunt now?
How bad was it for the Cardinals on Sunday? The team allowed 284 yards on the ground, and 214 of those yards were before contact. Seattle finished the day averaging 6.8 yards per carry. Arizona turned the ball over eight times- four interceptions, four fumbles. QB John Skelton finished the afternoon with an 18.2 passer rating. WR Larry Fitzgerald had just one catch for two yards and has not been a factor in the Cardinals offense this season.
Arizona has now gone 10 consecutive quarters without finding the endzone and has been outscored 65-6 in the last two games.
The largest problem facing the Cardinals right now is the lack of quarterback play. John Skelton and rookie Ryan Lindley show no signs of being a starter in the NFL. Kevin Kolb can’t remain healthy enough to take the field in the last two seasons and Ken Whisenhunt has been the head coach during the acquisitions of all three of the quarterbacks.The trio have combined for a passer rating of 63.5 with 10 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.
The Cardinals are known as an organization which tends to do things on the cheap. Whisenhunt is still due $5.5 million for 2013 and the franchise would be on the hook for that money, along with a salary for a new head coach next season. However, do the Cardinals organization simply write off 2012 and bring back Whisenhunt next year just in order to save money as the other teams in the NFC West continue to improve and the Cardinals fall further behind?
The Cardinals offense is dreadful, ranking 28th passing the ball and dead last running. Injuries have forced a constant shuffling of starting quarterbacks and running backs. WR Larry Fitzgerald has just 652 yards and four touchdowns on the season and will likely not see a 1,000 yard season this year, ending his five year streak.
Whisenhunt was able to take the Cardinals to the Super Bowl, but he had Kurt Warner under center in 2008. Since the retirement of Warner, the Cardinals haven’t even been a mediocre team. The current squad appears to be aimless.
If the Cardinals decide to keep Whisenhunt through the final year of his contract, allowing him to coach as a lame duck, what are the options? The NFL Draft is not as deep at quarterback this year as it was last year. After allowing Whisenhunt to preside over the acquisitions of the quarterbacks currently on the Cardinals roster, do you really want him drafting another quarterback?
The free agent crop of quarterbacks are going to be slim as well. Alex Smith, Matt Cassel and Michael Vick are all currently under contract and there is no guarantee they are going to be released or perhaps traded. All three are an upgrade over the current roster, but are they going to be the catalyst to suddenly turn the Cardinals organization around next season?
There is no quick fix for Arizona. There is not an Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III to make a remarkable turnaround with next year. If the Cardinals do decide to draft yet another quarterback, could his development be set back in 2014 if the Cardinals release Whisenhunt at the end of next season and another new offensive scheme is put in place with a new coaching staff?
The importance of a starting quarterback in the NFL has been on display with the Cardinals organization flailing for the past few seasons.
Whisenhunt is not entirely to blame for this current debacle, but, if the team finishes with 12 straight losses, I see no way that he can escape this trainwreck unscathed.
The Cardinals should move on from the failed Kevin Kolb experiment and absorb the money owed Whisenhunt next season while bringing in a new coaching staff at the end of this season.