Coach Dennis Green's recent decision to change offensive coordinators highlights
his continued frustration with the team's inability to move the ball and score
It's been a continuing theme for the Cardinals in Green's three seasons. Keith
Rowen, fired as coordinator last week, is the seventh assistant coach to be
fired, demoted or forced out in Green's tenure.
Mike Kruczek, promoted from quarterbacks coach, is the third offensive
coordinator under Green, who is also on his third offensive line coach, his
second receivers coach and his second special teams coach.
Kruczek, a former head coach at Central Florida, vowed to bring passion and
energy to the offense.
"One of my qualities is that I'm an energetic, emotional leader, and I'm not
afraid to climb somebody when there is a mistake," Kruczek said. "I don't just
sit there and be passive and correct it without raising my voice. It's more of a
college mentality than a pro mentality but I think in our situation it's
something that needs to happen. Bring energy to the position. Re-energize this
That didn't happen last Sunday against the Raiders. The Cardinals gained just
224 total yards. The rushing game was terrible, and quarterback Matt Leinart had
the worst day of short NFL career. He completed 13 of 32 for 203 yards and was
Now, there are questions about Green's job security, although he says he's not
"I have not been able to find a way to do it with the team that we have," he
said. "I think anybody would love to coach the team, to be honest with you. I
think there are some damn good young guys. We've had not one single off the
field issue. They like to play the game, and I'm just very disappointed I
haven't been able to do a better job."
Green has one year left on his contract after this season and he knows he needs
to turn the season around to keep his job.
"Is (owner) Bill Bidwill disappointed?" Green said. "He has to be. He has to
As they move into the second half of the season, the Cardinals probably will
concentrate on getting the ball to their receivers.
The Cardinals strength is in its receiving corps, yet in recent weeks they were
trying to run out of a two tight-end formation. Look for Kruczek to use more
three and four-receiver sets, and not be afraid to run out of them.
The idea is that secondaries will have to concentrate on stopping receivers
Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald. They'll have to double cover them and that
should take a safety away from helping against the run, giving Edgerrin James
more room to maneuver.
James will also be used in different ways. He's been a hunt-and-peck runner,
sliding and ducking to find holes. The strength of this offensive line is
supposed to be its power, not its mobility.
Look for fewer stretch plays to be called and more straight-ahead runs. James
will be asked to hit the hole quick and run downhill.
Kruczek promised that this offense won't be conservative. The Cardinals were
criticized for running the ball so much in its second-half collapse against
Chicago a week ago.
But it's a mistake to lay the blame on Rowen. Under his direction, the Cardinals
were the No. 1 passing team in the NFL last year, averaging 42 attempts a game.
The Cardinals became conservative against the Bears because that's what Green
Rowen has filed a grievance with the league, because the Cardinals want him to
remain as an offensive assistant, and Rowen just wants out.
--QB Matt Leinart endured his roughest day in the NFL, completing 13 of 32
passes for 203 yards. He was sacked three times and hit on several other
--RB Edgerrin James not only doesn't have a 100-yard game yet for the Cardinals,
he's struggling just to get to 50 yards. He had only 34 yards against Oakland.
--RT Oliver Ross played poorly against Oakland. Defensive end Derrick Burgess
beat him for two sacks. Ross, who protects the blind side of the left handed
Leinart, must play much better if Leinart is going to survive the season.
--DE Bertrand Berry played his best game of the year against Oakland. He owned
LT Robert Gallery, collecting three sacks and forcing two fumbles.
--WR Anquan Boldin didn't touch the ball Sunday until the Cardinals were
trailing 17-0. He was being single covered much of the time but Leinart didn't
have time to get him the ball.