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Heroes and Goats: Arizona Cardinals at Atlanta Falcons

“Victory has many fathers, but defeat is an orphan.” Who owns the 2016 Arizona Cardinals? The team cast away veteran leaders like Lyle Sendlein, Jerraud Powers and Rashad Johnson and replaced them with hope in A.Q. Shipley, Brandon Williams and Tyvon Branch. Since Week 1, this team has not been talented enough to compete.

Meanwhile, the team has taken up the Head Coach’s worst attribute: constantly crying about penalties. Players who were expected to take a step forward like Michael Floyd and John Brown have regressed, and Carson Palmer is playing terrible football (last in the league in fumbles and below his career averages in completion percentage, TD rate and yards per attempt).

It’s hard to find solutions when everyone is responsible for the failure of an enterprise. Because this season has felt out of synch, I expect that we’re going to se very much of the same time in 2017 as we did in 2016. Maybe another coin flip comes up the right way.

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Jermaine Gresham, TE — A tight end responsible to block a defensive end one-on-one was a cold reminder of the Whisenhunt regime. Despite being victimized by Freeney, Gresham is a good two-way player and deserves a contract extension.

 

Tony Jefferson, S — Calm your nerves about losing Jefferson in free agency. Rashad Johnson had 9 INTs and 15 passes defensed in his two years before free agency. Jefferson has 2 and 7 so far. Johnson signed a one-year deal worth $2.5M.

 

Larry Fitzgerald, WR — This was not the farewell season Fitzgerald had planned. His six straight games without a touchdown (and counting!) must be approaching a career high. Fitz’s grace in the face of this is remarkable.

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Kevin Minter, ILB — If someone was running free in the middle of the field, #51 was jogging five yards behind him. If someone was powering through short yardage, Kevin Minter was getting moved out of his gap to make way.

 

Marcus Cooper, DB — With Patrick Peterson alone on an island against Julio Jones, Cooper was not taking advantage of his additional help. Cooper is little more than a warm body, and it’s time to give his reps to younger players who could benefit.

 

Carson Palmer, QB — With 12 more yards lost to sacks, Palmer will eclipse his career record of 233 yards. Palmer is playing well enough to lose one game after another while looking good enough on the stat sheet not to take heat.

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