Bruce Arians and his staff have created some fine memories, but the Arizona Cardinals need to proceed without them next season
It would be too easy to beat up on the Arizona Cardinals right now. Their disgraceful 33-0 loss to the Los Angeles Rams has made them easy targets. And raised even more questions about which direction the Cards are heading in.
Any chance of Arizona winning the Super Bowl this season (as small as it may have been) most likely disappeared into the London fog on Sunday. After starting his tenure in the desert with three straight double-digit win campaigns, Arians has crashed to earth. His unwillingness to adjust his offensive philosophy and the blind loyalty he has for some of his disciples have become a hindrance to the Cardinals.
The grim reality is that the two-time NFL Coach of the Year was outsmarted by a relatively inexperienced 31-year old. New Rams’ boss Sean McVay has turned what had been a lifeless offense for years into a scoring machine. He has brought with him to Los Angeles a plan, a set of fresh ideas that has defensive coordinators around the league losing sleep.
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Perhaps it’s time for the Cards to start searching for a wunderkind of their own. Arians’ best, and possibly last, chance for a championship with Arizona broke his arm against the Rams. There’s a fair chance that quarterback Carson Palmer has played his last down of pro football, now that he’s suffered yet another serious injury.
Of course, Arians is once again trying to convince the world that Drew Stanton is a good passer. The fifth-year Cardinals’ backup was as horrendous as usual in relief of Palmer. Stanton completed just five of fourteen throws for 62 yards and an interception during the humiliating defeat.
The Cardinals offense wasn’t the only culprit this past weekend. Defensive coordinator James Bettcher’s unit continues to be unable to get off of the field on third down. Placekicker Phil Dawson missed yet another short field goal (32 yards), and has been extremely unreliable since joining Amos Jones’ special teams group.
With Stanton at the helm for the remainder of 2017, Arizona is probably going to lose enough games to get them a high draft pick next April. Handing over a fresh, young signal-caller to the 65-year old Arians doesn’t make much sense. Wouldn’t it be a better idea to let a young quarterback grow with a young coach (as Goff is doing with McVay)?
That decision will be at the feet of general manager Steve Keim. Owner Michael Bidwill may even throw his two cents into such a big move. Much thanks to Arians for getting the Cardinals into an NFC Championship game, but it may be time that he hands over the reigns to some new blood.
Other organizations have traded in old ideas for new ones. Los Angeles being the obvious one, and it appears to be working just fine for them. Just ask the Cardinals.