The Cardinals Franchise can be a winner, but a few key things need to happen first.
What have NFL analysts and sports writers been saying over and over again for the Cardinals and their focus this offseason? “Upgrade your offensive line!!!” Not one voice out there has been saying that the Cards need another breakaway back or a deep threat or a solid tight end. Why? Because they are set at the skill positions, with some of the games biggest names.
Edgerrin James is still in his prime and, as I have posted in my earlier blog, the fact that he was able to gain over 1100 yards on the ground behind a terribly inconsistent front five speaks volumes about the type of back he is. Matt Leinart will be coming in as the starter, with a wealth of experience from his rookie year, passing for 11 TDs and over 2500 yards in eleven games. Anquan Boldin & Larry Fitzgerald are just ridiculously talented stars who will remain one of the most (if not the most) dominant receiving duos in the league for years to come. 2nd year TE Leonard Pope has amazing athletic ability and along with rookie Ben Patrick should provide Leinart with a reliable checkdown option in the passing game.
But all of the talent in the world won’t get you to the playoffs if you don’t have the boys up front leading the way: it all starts with the offensive line. After the musical chairs version of line-ups the O-Line went through under Denny Green, Russ Grimm looks to add stability and strength to that unit. They’ve brought in solid veterans in Al Johnson (from Dallas) and Mike Gandy (from Buffalo) to provide depth and experience and drafted Levi Brown to anchor the Right Tackle position. But it’s not enough, what this unit needs is a leader. Alan Faneca is that guy.
He’s already hinted that he would love to play for his old coaches Grimm and Whisenhunt, and has made no secret of the fact that he disagreed with the Steelers front office for passing over both Grimm and Whisenhunt for Mike Tomlin. The talk behind these two coaches in the Arizona Cardinals’ camp is that they bring a winning mindset to this franchise which is great, but why not bring a 5 time pro bowler who has the same desire to win from the same background of winning to infuse the O-Line with the confidence it so desperately needs.
Ken Whisenhunt has made no secret of it, he’s committed to the run and to pounding the ball with Edge in order to set up the pass for Leinart and company. But if he is committed, then prove it…….trade next year’s second round pick and pick up a pro bowl Guard who will help you win now, this is not a rebuilding year!
I think the Cards should make a deal for Alan Faneca as soon as possible. As Adam Schein put it, “it just makes sense.”
Mike Duggan – AZcardsfan4life