Insider's Perspective: Cardinals vs. Panthers

The Arizona Cardinals were embarrassed by the Carolina Panthers in front of the Red Sea. The Cardinals look to rebound on the road against the Chicago Bears. Here's a look a look at what worked, what didn't work and what's next for Ken Whisenhunt's inconsistent crew.

What Worked

--Amidst many reasons not to smile, LaRod Stephens-Howling turned Cardinals fans' frowns upside down. The seventh-round pick wasn't a shoe-in to make the active roster, but he proved himself in camp. And against the Panthers, he proved himself by hauling in his first career touchdown.

The Cardinals have sprinkled in opportunities for Stephens-Howling in a handful of games this season. Expect to see more of the rookie running back who exhibited his breakaway ability. He also averaged 31 yards on kickoff returns

--Ben Patrick also added himself to the unfamiliar group that found themselves in the end zone against the Panthers. He brought in his first touchdown since 2007.

--Anquan Boldin set a franchise record, with more catches than any other Cardinals player in history. But his time was cut short on Sunday, as he bothered his already troublesome right-ankle sprain that sidelined him for the rest of the game. Boldin is listed as day-to-day.

--Karlos Dansby continues to lead the Cardinals defense in tackles. He brought down more Panthers than anyone else, but he's remained quiet in other areas.


Kurt Warner
(Getty)

What Didn't

--The Cardinals offensive line was dominated from start to finish by the Panthers. Cardinals left tackle Mike Gandy needed help to tie down Julius Peppers. Instead, Peppers walked in a pick-six.

--The Cardinals big men up front also let two sacks slip by. The Cardinals defense recorded one.

--Kurt Warner was off his game for the second straight week. He utilized seven different receivers but couldn't get the job done. His five interceptions put the Cardinals out of the contest.

--The big plays that have been synonymous with Arizona are missing. It's an understatement to say that Larry Fitzgerald is a target, but the coaching staff, receivers group and Warner need to escape the opposition's clutches and get the ball to Fitzgerald.

--The Cardinals defense played soft against the Panthers. The Cardinals tackling looked like flag football, it was nonexistent. The tackling issue hasn't been a problem this season as it was in 2008. The defense needs to bring back it's sure-tackling skillset in Chicago, especially if the Warner's offense is still struggling.

What's Next

--The Cardinals visit the Chicago Bears who are coming off a 30-6 win over the Cleveland Browns. The Bears are struggling in many of the same areas that the Cardinals are. Jay Cutler needs better protection, their running game hasn't left the treadmill and they have some corrections to make before hosting the Cardinals.



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