Running back Tim Hightower put it best:
“The quarterback? It’s way bigger than that. That’s not the only situation we are dealing with. It’s not a quarterback problem. We are having a consistency problem, killing ourselves, not playing as a unit … it’s all 11 guys on offense.”
While the subject of starting signal-caller was called into serious question on Sunday, the Redbirds’ problems extend far beyond who is under center:
-The offensive line struggled to protect Derek Anderson and Max Hall to the tune of nine sacks.
-Anderson showed his growing inconsistency, completing just half of his passes for a total of 64 yards and two interceptions.
-The defense was atrocious; surrendering over 400 yards of total offense, including 23 first downs, 50% third-down efficiency and nearly 35 minutes of possession time, to go along with the 35 points allowed.
Whether it is penalties, turnovers or just an all-around lack of focus, the Cardinals have struggled on nearly every front in 2010.
In the offseason, the term “growing pains” was thrown around a lot to describe how the team would adjust to a new starting quarterback, a shuffled offensive line and six fresh starters on defense. However, the adjustment period can only last so long before legitimate concern sets in.
Arizona is where they were predicted to be after four games, 2-2 with wins over less talented teams and defeats at the hands of playoff contenders. But the concern lies with their lack of competitiveness in those losses (by a combined 65 points) and improvement in the victories, both of which came down to the last play.
Wide receiver Steve Breaston gave a simple remedy: “This team needs something. We have to make more plays, we have to hit more plays. There is stuff out there on the field you see it and it’s open, and somehow, someway, we have to make it happen, whether it is with the quarterback, the receivers, the offensive line.”
Consistency and execution have to be the names of the game for the rest of the season. Getting young players experience and putting the ball in the hands of their playmakers must take precedent. The coaches need to make the necessary adjustments to reverse this trend and the course of the Cardinals’ season.
New Orleans is the next hurdle in line with a much-needed bye week on the horizon. It is time for the Big Red to take advantage of a division without a clear-cut front runner and take the steps necessary to get back to where they want to be.
Follow Ryan Knowles on Twitter: @RyKno52