What's Wrong With the Arizona Cardinals?

The Cardinals have fans concerned after only one week into the season. The possibility for success is still there, but first a few issues need to be addressed. Can the Cardinals reach deep and recapture last season's magic? Tyson Qualls reveals the key weaknesses that are standing in the way of another storybook season.

The Mental State of Kurt Warner:

Warner seems to be lost in a daze when competing on the field. His less than spectacular preseason carried over into the first game of the regular season. The first step to getting Warner back into a groove is for the offensive line to actually show up for the game. Last week Warner was pummeled by the 49ers defense and received virtually no protection from his front line. What should concern Cardinal fans about Warner is his lack of accuracy, even when receiving sufficient time.

Another contributing factor to Warner's decline is the post Super Bowl let down. Following his last Super Bowl defeat, Warner entered a career slump that many never thought he would exit. He followed up the 2001-2002 season with an injury riddle campaign that saw him throw for 3 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 7 games. The downslide did not stop there. Warner would throw for a total of 24 touchdowns in the next 4 seasons combined.

Even with those meager numbers, Cardinal fans have learned one thing. Never count Warner out. Warner's most sizeable enemy now is his age. Given time, he can recover, but the clock may run out before he can regain his mental strength.

Fighting the Injury Bug:

Last season the Cardinals enjoyed a remarkable run without a rash of injuries. Anquan Boldin's frightening injury proved to be the most gruesome, but lasted only a few games. This year, Boldin is back in the trainer's room, but Steve Breaston and Early Doucet have followed him there.

The Cardinals' injury rate should return to normal NFL levels and if it does, it will be up to their backups to rise to the occasion. Jerheme Urban filled in admirably for Breaston and Boldin last week, but also dropped a key pass. If the Cardinals can maintain a healthy stable of players, they will have a shot at claiming the division for a second year in a row. However, if the injury bug continues to bite, their lack of depth may be an insurmountable obstacle.

The Weight on Ken Whisenhunt's Shoulders:

For the first time since his days as the Steelers' offensive coordinator, Whisenhunt is calling the offensive plays for his team. The loss of Todd Haley will certainly have an impact on the offensive success. Whisenhunt is widely known for his creative and effective style of offense. Acting solely as the offensive coordinator, Whisenhunt was incredibly effective. Given the dual role of head coach and offensive coordinator, the outcome may be different.

As a young head coach, Whisenhunt has to prove that he can handle both roles successfully. With the presence of Haley, Whisenhunt was given the luxury of a second opinion. It is difficult to manage a game and stay fully aware of the various intricacies in the game. The Cardinals live and die by their offense and it may be time to seek further assistance to take some of the weight off of Whisenhunt's shoulders.

Questions or Comments? Contact Tyson Qualls at tysonqfantasyfootball@gmail.com

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