Cardinals: Plenty to Address After Poor 2010

Arizona struggled in almost every aspect this season, leaving plenty of areas to improve on.

The reasons for the Cardinals 5-11 record - their worst since 2006 - are varied, but they don't share the blame equally.

Poor quarterback play is the main reason the Cardinals fell apart in 2010, and fixing that position is the priority this offseason.

"That's obviously an area we have to address," said coach Ken Whisenhunt. "We didn't get the play out of that position that we needed this year, and that's something that we are committed to trying to address. If that means a veteran, if that means the draft, I don't know right now."

There's a good chance the Cardinals could use both avenues. They could try to trade for the Eagles' Kevin Kolb or the Broncos' Kyle Orton. They could try to sign a free agent, such as Marc Bulger.

The Cardinals also have the fifth overall pick, which would likely given them a shot at Auburn's Cam Newton or Arkansas' Ryan Mallett or Missouri's Blaine Gabbert.

The team's personnel department has formulated a hard and fast opinion about any of those quarterbacks yet.

It's unlikely Whisenhunt would count on a rookie to start in 2011. And he was encouraged by the play of John Skelton, a rookie who started the last four games.

The lack of production at quarterback put pressure upon other areas of the team, and weaknesses were exposed.

The defense, with five new starters, wasn't stout enough to hold up under pressure. The club lacked a pass rush from the edge, something outside linebacker Joey Porter was expected to provide.

The team also needs a strong inside linebacker and depth at cornerback. Offensively, left tackle Levi Brown was ordinary most of the season, and the Cardinals need more than that from the fifth overall pick in the 2007 draft.

The interior of the offensive line -- center Lyle Sendlein and guards Deuce Lutui and Alan Faneca -- was decent. But none of the three are under contract for 2011.

Larry Fitzgerald needs help at receiver, and the Cardinals need running back Beanie Wells to fulfill his potential.

That's a lot of problems to address in an offseason made complicated by the lack of a labor agreement. Whisenhunt started the offseason this week by having some frank exit interviews with players, some of whom were surprised by the coach's assessment.

"That may have been part of our problem this year: guys thinking they were a little better than they actually were, or they played a little better than they actually did," Whisenhunt said. "I know as far as how we coached and how we prepared, we're going to evaluate that, too, because obviously the job wasn't done as well as it needed to be."

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