Doubts creep in after Arizona Cardinals disappointing defeat
By Jim Koch
The positive vibes that were surrounding the Arizona Cardinals subsided following their 34-7 loss to the Los Angeles Rams
As long-suffering fans of the Arizona Cardinals, we all want to believe. We’ve been putting our faith into Kliff Kingsbury, Big Red’s first-year leader who had never coached in the NFL before this season. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that rookie Kyler Murray can be the first quarterback in Cards history to bring a Super Bowl Championship to the franchise.
Through the first 11 games of the current campaign, things appeared to be heading in the right direction. Though Arizona emerged victorious just three times, the team remained competitive in almost every matchup. And then this past weekend arrived.
Sunday’s 34-7 defeat to the Los Angeles Rams has left a load of question marks in the minds of those who follow the Cardinals. All of the good vibes that were surrounding the club throughout the first three months of 2019 were dealt a huge blow by the division rival. It’s one thing to lose, but Kingsbury and his players were completely humiliated by a Rams squad that was fighting for a playoff spot.
At the forefront of the Cards problems this past weekend was once again the defense. Coordinator Vance Joseph is presiding over a group of defenders that are arguably the worst in the history of the organization. Arizona’s front office didn’t hesitate to fire offensive play-caller Mike McCoy last year, but for some reason the equally incompetent Joseph continues to run the defensive unit.
Up until the Los Angeles debacle, the Cardinals offense had performed quite well in ’19. But unfortunately for Kingsbury, Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips may have supplied the league with a blueprint on how to stop the “Air Raid” attack. Murray was especially overwhelmed against a group led by Aaron Donald, Cory Littleton, Taylor Rapp and Troy Reeder.
For the first time this season, Kingsbury seemed to be unable to handle what could be thrown at him at the professional level. The 40-year old was thoroughly outcoached by Sean McVay, the head coach on the opposite sideline. In fact, Los Angeles probably could’ve ran up the score on the Cards, but McVay instead chose to show mercy on his good friend.
If the Kingsbury/Murray experiment fails, there’s a very good chance that general manager Steve Keim will follow the pair out the door. At the moment, Arizona has the same amount of wins (3) that the Steve Wilks/Josh Rosen duo had in 2018. With four contests still to play, Kingsbury and Murray could still top that number, but there’s no guarantee that another triumph exists on the remaining schedule.
The Cardinals performance versus the Rams was extremely discouraging. Bouncing back from such a disheartening loss is of the utmost importance. Hopefully, what Los Angeles did to the home squad was merely an aberration, and not a sign of things to come for Kingsbury’s Cards.