How bad is it when the fired guy wants to jump ship?
Dismissed offensive coordinator Keith Rowen has been asked to remain with the team as an assistant, and he has filed a grievance against the Cardinals because...well...because he doesn't want to stay. Maybe he's angry for being demoted when it was Green, and not Rowen, who wanted to run the ball in the second half against the Bears. Maybe he's got better opportunities elsewhere, or maybe he knows that there aren't enough life preservers on this sinking ship and he's wants to make sure he gets one while the getting's good.
Sunday was supposed to be the game where the Cardinals righted that sinking ship. Most felt that the Cardinals weren't as bad as their record, that there was light at the end of the tunnel.
Turns out that light was a freight train.
The offense was (insert expletive here). The defense was fine as long as the ball didn't go to Randy Moss, or any one of three running backs who were only in the game because LaMont Jordan was hurt. The team, as a whole, played badly, and the coaching staff, as a whole, looked alternately confused, frustrated, and apathetic.
After Denny's flip out at the podium last week you expected the Cards to come out with some fire, with some passion, and play hard. On the broadcast people were talking about "a short week" and "a hangover" because of the Monday night game.
The short week shouldn't have mattered, though one might question Denny's decision to fire the O-coordinator on a short week (that's way down the list of not-terribly-intelligent-moves Denny's made this season). This was the Raiders. They're horrible. They (were) the worst team in the NFL. Not anymore. Way to go boys. You've claimed the crown.
And about that 'hangover.'
Sorry. Nope. No way. You have a hangover when you play a big divisional game for first place and lose the way the Cardinals did. You don't get a hangover from losing to the best team in the league when you're the worst team in the league. It doesn't work that way. It didn't look like the Cardinals were hung over. It looked like Oliver Ross was drunk. It looked like Edgerrin James was trying to find the bar, not the holes in the line. Who could blame him, the bar would have been easier to find.
Somebody actually said the offense was suffering because Larry Fitzgerald was out.
Doubtful. There were open receivers all day, Matt Leinart just didn't have time to find them. The Raiders didn't even have to blitz to put pressure on the young QB, they just had to stagger forward. The offensive line can't keep change safe in a pocket, much less a rookie QB.
It's got to start getting to Leinart. He's a smart kid, he had to know he was walking into a tough situation, but all he's done is win, all he's done is make great players better, and all he's done in the NFL is get knocked down over and over again.
Who wants to bet Leinart is wishing he'd come out after the 2004 season now?
Who can blame Rowen for filing a grievance? Cardinals fans, who came into this season with excitement, with hope, for the first time in ages, ought to be able to file one too. Who knew that the reason the University of Phoenix decided it was a good idea to slap their name on the stadium was because the Cardinals were playing like a college team?