Green 'Not Worried' but Everybody Else Is

Green 'Not Worried' but Everybody Else Is

The collapse against the Bears was embarrassing, but at least they were the best team in football. That Oakland game was pathetic, and Dennis Green is now officially on the hot seat.

HOT TOPIC
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 points.
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 football team."
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 intercepted twice.
Now, there are questions about Green's job security, although he says he's not worried.
"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 be."
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 wanted.
Rowen has filed a grievance with the league, because the Cardinals want him to remain as an offensive assistant, and Rowen just wants out.

PLAYER NOTES
--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 occasions.
--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.
 

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