Cardinals & Quarterbacks

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Anyone who has been a fan of this team knows how contentious the QB position has been on this team over the last 40 years. Jim Hart's career was a bumpy road when it came to starting. The primary starter in 1967-68,70 but split time with others in 1969,71-72, but once Don Coryell came in he was the man splitting time with no one. Then in 1977, at the insistence of Bill Bidwill, the Cards drafted Steve Pisarkiewicz as an apparent heir apparent to Hart but he was terrible so Hart's job was safe until 1981 when gunslinger Neil Lomax was drafted out of little known Portland State. Hart left after the 1982 season leaving Lomax with the keys to the store but as good as he was he suffered through nagging injuries and bouts of inconsistency. At one time, he was considered one of the top QB's in the league being mentioned in the same breath as Joe Montana and Dan Marino but he could never lead the Cards to the playoffs(in a non-strike season) until he was ultimately felled by a bum hip. From there it was potluck for the Cards.

But in 1990 they thought they had their guy. Timm Rosenbach. Taken in the 1989 Supplemental draft, Rosenback displayed the raw talent to be effective bringing mobility to the position, something the Cards had never seen. He was green but showed promise. He was Jake Plummer before there was Jake Plummer. But as fate would have it, during training camp, Rosenbach blew out his knee and was never the same again. He missed the entire 1991 season and came back in 1992 but he was a shell of his former self and he was gone after the 1992 season not to be seen active again in the NFL. Because of this, the Cards were forced into a period when it was literally pot luck at QB. From Tim Tupa, to Stan Gelbaugh, to Chris Chandler to Steve Beuerlein to Jim McMahon, Jay Schreoder, Dave Kreig and several other has beens and never was until 1997 when the Cards dipped their thumbs into the draft and came up with a Plum(mer).

Jake the Snake was here. Known for his late game heroics winning games in dramatic fashion after getting the team in the position to have to come back. It was never a dull moment for the Jake Plummer led Cards. 1998 became one of the most memorable seasons in Cards history. The up and down season came down to the final game where if the Cards won, they were in the playoffs and have their first winning season since Neil Lomax and the 1984 Cards who were in a similar situation but missed the potential game winning FG and missed the post season. And, in typical Plummer Cards fashion, they took a 10 point lead into the 4th quarter only to see the Chargers tie it up with 22 seconds left and what seemed like a game destined for overtime, Eric Metcalf ran the ensuing kickoff back into Charger territory and Jake hit FRank Sanders to the Charger 35 yard line where Chris Jacke hit a 52 yard FG to put the Cards in the playoffs for the first non-strike time since 1975. On playoff day, the Cards went to Dallas and took the Cowboys to the woodshed beating them 20-7 in a game that was not as close as the score. The next week, unfortunately, the Cards were unable to keep up with the Vikings' high powered offense but that season left we Card fans with that old wait 'til next year excitement. However, in the off season, Bill Bidwill decided to break up the team. Gone was stalwart offensive leader Larry Centers, Lomas Brown, the anchor of the offensive line, LB Jamir Miller among other players and the Cards started their trip back down to mediocrity and after the 2002 season, Jake was gone.

Next up was Josh McCown. A kid with heart but with the accuracy of Eddie the Eagle. The lone bright spot was the drafting of Anquan Boldin in 2003 but later that season in the last game of the year, McCown hit Nate Poole ripping the heart out of the Vikings while knocking the Cards out of the #1 draft slot but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise as instead of grabbing Eli Manning, who went #1, the Cards instead selected Larry Fitzgerald. So the Cards now had a 2 pronged receiver set but an inconsistent QB in the process so the Cards took a chance on a once great QB who had fallen not so much on hard times but who no one had faith in any longer. Kurt Warner was brought in as a backup but ended up the starter but again was relegated into a backup role as Dennis Green drafted Matt Leinart to develop a young QB to go with his young, explosive WR's but Green soon melted down and was gone from the Cards starting the Ken Whisenhunt era which is an era of ups and downs but provided us with the best season in our history.

Whiz decided to go with a 2 QB approach but an injury to Leinart gave Warner the opportunity to be the #1 guy and he nearly led us to a playoff birth in 2007. Then came the magical year of 2008. Never a great team all season, the Cards benefited from playing in a bad division while Warner, Fitz, Boldin, and Steve Breston set records becoming only the 5th team to feature three 1,000 yard receivers. And, the Cards decided to get hot at the right time, playoff time, even though some would consider them the worst playoff team in history. They won a battle against the upstart Falcons, then went into Carolina and steamrolled the Panthers while giving their QB Jake Delhomme shellshock he would never recover from. Then the miracle of miracles. Blowing a 2nd half lead, the Cards scored a late TD to win their one and to date only NFC Championship to play in a Super Bowl no one gave them a chance to win but with a little over 2 minutes left, Warner hit Fitz on a crossing pattern and Fitz took it 64 yards to give the Cards their only lead in the Super Bowl. But the Stealers marched down field to pull our hearts out in the end.

But in the off season, the Cards played hardball with the only QB to lead them to a Super Bowl and, at the time, one of only a few QB's to lead 2 different teams to the Super Bowl forcing Kurt Warner to almost signing with the rival 49ers but in the end they did the right thing and resigned Kurt who led us to another playoff appearance and in the playoffs, Kurt threw 5 TD's in a game nearly blown by the Cards who won it in classic fashion in overtime only to go into New Orleans and get smoked by the eventual Super Bowl champion Saints. In that game, Warner was injured never to play again but found his way into the Hall of Fame and deservedly so.

After KW's retirement, this brought on then worst cast of clowns ever to Quarterback the Arizona Cardinals. Derek Anderson, a QB who once threw for 23 yards in a complete 4 quarter football game, Max Hall who was an unsigned rookie free agent(for good reason as it turned out), and John Skelton, a mid round pick from the football powerhouse of Fordham. Needless to say the Cards didn't win many games. But Whiz wasn't done with his circus just yet. Trading away former 1st round pick DRC and a 2nd round draft pick for Kevin Kolb, who couldn't stay healthy and who once injured himself for the season falling on the football as well as bringing in Bryan Hoyer and the human headache Ryan Lindley. As you might expect, it didn't work out and Whiz was out after the 2012 season and in came Bruce Arians.

BA and Steve Keim(affectionally referred to as BASK) signed Drew Stanton...to start. Yes, Drew Stanton to start. Thankfully for them the Raiders were willing to dump former Heisman Trophy winner and #1 overall pick in the draft Carson Palmer all for a 6th round pick and a bag of used footballs. Carson finally brought stability back to the Cardinals and the QB position and even though he didn't lead the Cards to the playoffs in 2013 he did lead them to the first 10 win season since the Bicentennial. The next season, however, the Cards came out firing going on a 9-1 tear, their only loss coming in Denver when not only was Carson Palmer sidelined with an injury but Drew Stanton, who played respectfully in his pinch hitting role, also became injured leaving raw rookie Logan Thomas(who has resurrected his career as a tight end) who was painfully out of his element. But Palmer returned and rung off 4 straight wins until hos already repaired knee gave out again leaving us with Drew Stanton who, again, filled in admirably until he, too, was felled by injury, leaving us with the not ready Logan Thomas or the human headache himself, Ryan Lindley who BASK signed off of the Chargers practice squad mere weeks before. BA, instead of signing a rocking chair who probably would have fared much better or at least wouldn't have been worse than Lindley. The Cards were 10-3 when Stanton went down and even though the Cards squeaked by in the game Stanton got injured in, they limped into the playoffs by getting embarrassed by the eventual conference champion Seahawks at home on national television then losing to a faltering 49ers team, a game where Lindley threw his first touchdown pass in his career in. Then in the playoffs in a game the Cards would have probably won with the aforementioned rocking chair, Lindley was unsurprisingly ineffective and the Cards were bounced from the playoffs.

Then came 2015. Palmer was healthy. Fitz was, well, Fitz and Palmer finally had his running back in David Johnson, a speedy rookie out of Kurt Warner's alma mater of Norther Iowa and the Cards showed themselves to be one of the elite in the entire league. After a choppy 4-2 start to the season which included a 2 point loss to the hapless Rams, the Cards went on a 9 game winning streak which included wins at Seattle, against the then 8-1 Bengals, and blowout wins @ Philly(where the Cards clinched the division) and at home against the Packers, giving the Cards their first ever 13 win season. But the Cards mailed in the final week at home against the Seahawks and in the divisional playoffs, blew a late game lead thanks to 2 Aaron Rogers "Hail Mary's" but Fitz being Fitz put the team on his back and nearly singlehandedly won the game in overtime. Sadly, the Cards got manhandled in their attempt to reach the Super Bowl, a game where Palmer, in opportunities to score TD's mistakened Panther defenders for Cards receivers and looked as pedestrian as one can get leading some to believe that he never recovered fully from the dislocated finger he received in Philly a few weeks before but the Cards looked like a long time contender. At least until the 2016 season.

Palmer was erratic, if I can put it nicely. Although he put up good numbers, he just didn't look like the Palmer of 2015 and it reflected on the team as the Cards limped to a 7-8-1 record. Then this season, Palmer and the rest of the team just couldn't seem to put it together. Then Palmer gets injured being replaced, badly, by Stanton and now Stanton is hurt leaving us with Blaine Gabbert and if he gets hurt, Matt Barkley. This leave's the Cards QB situation with more questions than an entire season of Jeopardy. So, to quote former wrestler Bill Goldberg, who's next?
 
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