Hall of Famer
- Jul 27, 2021
- Reaction score
- Mesa, Arizona
I secretly wish VJ gets an HC offer this offseason every day. I do not want to see him as Cards DC anymore.It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. Had Dickens been covering this team, that might have been his opening line. This is a great group of players, yet they played well below their capabilities at a critical time.
What bothers me most is where were the halftime adjustments? To me it seemed the team used the same tactics on offense and defense in both halves. Only an excessively egotistical leader could have felt confident the team was on the right track at halftime. The Rams has beaten only one team with a winning record. Right before the game 2 of their key players were added to an already long disqualified COVID list. This game was there for the taking. However, it was the Cards who got taken.
Sadly the answer to why the Cards’ team failed so badly is multifaceted. It appeared to me that once again many of the Cards just phoned it in. They didn’t come fired up to play. They had a wounded beast before them but they lacked the killer instinct to put the opponent away. In the end I was left wondering what game the Cardinal coaches were watching? Just last week I had praised Kingsbury for producing game plans that fit the circumstances he faced. This time his ego got the best of him. Could anything have been more obvious than the fact the depleted Rams couldn’t cover? Yet no changes were made to provide Murray better protection. Instead the Cards continued to run the ball, allowing their O-line to repeatedly fail to open holes, including 2 of 4 plays on a 4th quarter critical drive that ended on turning over the ball on downs. Admittedly Murray didn’t play well, but it’s inexcusable the Cards did virtually nothing to assist him.
Then there’s the defense. Once again the Cards failed to respond by changing a failed strategy. It seemed every time the Cards closed the gap the defense gave up points. The primary failure was the pass rush. The Cards kept proceeding by using a 4 man rush that over and over allowed Stafford the time to throw deep or to let the receivers execute double moves. Incredibly on one key down the Cards rushed only 3 players. This is the same Stafford who in recent weeks had failed badly under pressure. To complicate this the Cards played a porous zone behind this weak rush. Kupp is an expert at settling down in holes, which the Cards facilitated. They also refused to double Kupp except on one play that resulted in a sack. Why repeat a defense that worked? Make Kupp ordinary and the Cards win. As early as summer I pointed out the Cards could only succeed with their weak secondary if they had a successful pass rush. To expect players like Alford to cover NFL receivers was inviting disaster. This coaching failure is the perfect reflection of the definition of insanity. I’d venture to say the Cards played several games this season where they blitzed more often.
Murray was in the MVP conversation, but no longer. Kingsbury was a Coach of the Year candidate. He is no more. Would Joseph leave for a head coaching offer? Would you hire a head coach who stubbornly continued a failing game plan? The Cards would have been the first Cardinal team to be first NFL team to clinch a playoff spot.p in a given year. That was merely wishful thinking.
The season isn’t lost but this game presents serious doubt that this staff could flourish amidst the rigors of the playoffs. Through the game I kept insisting there was plenty of time and there was. What there wasn’t was competent coaching. Losing isn’t always about bad coaching. Sometimes a team just gets outplayed. This loss, however, was on the coaches. They again didn’t have the players ready to play. They began with a poor “business as usual” game plan rather than a customized strategy. They failed to modify that strategy despite its obvious failure. In the end they’ve likely forced the team into a gauntlet of a playoff. They aren’t the “same old Cards,” but they may sadly be more like those teams than we had hoped.