What we know about the Car­di­nals af­ter 7 games

The Arizona Republic - - Azcentral Sports -

but has been av­er­age at best.

Of the five of­fen­sive line­men drafted from 2013-16, only tackle D.J. Humphries has proven to be a re­li­able, con­sis­tent starter.

Kicker Phil Dawson has missed four field goals and had an­other blocked. The punt re­turn and cov­er­age teams are among the NFL’s worst.

A strug­gling of­fense needs the help of spe­cial teams. In­stead, the Car­di­nals’ av­er­age start­ing field po­si­tion is the 27-yard line. That, too, is close to the bot­tom of the league.

Spe­cial teams were ter­ri­ble last year, too, and Ari­ans blamed that on in­juries and poor per­for­mances by the play­ers. He ab­solved co­or­di­na­tor Amos Jones of blame.

It’s dif­fi­cult to win with­out your best of­fen­sive player (run­ning back David John­son), your sack leader from a year ago (out­side line­backer Markus Golden), your start­ing left guard (Mike Iu­pati) and now your quar­ter­back (Car­son Palmer).

All are on in­jured re­serve. All have been dif­fi­cult to re­place.

But it’s not like the Car­di­nals played well be­fore most of those play­ers were in­jured. John­son found no run­ning room in the sea­son opener. Golden didn’t have a sack in the first three games. Palmer im­proved af­ter a bad per­for­mance in the opener, but he only oc­ca­sion­ally had enough time to throw.

This is the big­gest prob­lem of all and one Ari­ans seemed to ac­knowl­edge on Mon­day when he said the Car­di­nals were “kind of front-run­ners. When things are go­ing good, they’re go­ing re­ally good. Right now, we have to be able to ad­just on that side­line emo­tion­ally when some­thing doesn’t go our way. A lot of that is the youth in the foot­ball team.”

It’s a stretch to blame that on youth. In free agency, the Car­di­nals made a con­certed ef­fort to get older, not younger. Seven of their 22 starters are at least 30. Dawson is 42. Punter Andy Lee is 35.

Through seven games, the Car­di­nals have shown little re­siliency and ex­hib­ited no ur­gency.

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