They are the story of the league, at least in terms of an on on the field product around the league. While everyone obsesses about the replacement officials and the integrity of the game, the Cardinals have gone out there and won their first three games of the season.
In convincing fashion no less. Seattle, New England and Philly. Three very solid teams that have been beaten by a team that many were pegging as a three or four win team for the year, not September. Kevin Kolb and John Skelton was the pivot race that no one really paid much attention to. Beanie Wells was going to inevitably get injured and Larry Fitz would once again go under-utilized in the desert.
But somehow things changed. Ken Whisenhunt has quickly become the coach that everyone knew was a gem. Unlikely that anyone would say such a thing if they were anything less than 3-0, but such is the nature of immediate reaction.
So how have they done it, and is it sustainable? In week one they survived both a Skelton injury and a rookie's late game drive down the field only to have it stall at the four yard line. Week two they played a solid game against the Pats, but should have lost on a last second field goal. This week they outplayed a shorthanded Eagles team that have a laundry list of issues. So one convincing win in three weeks, and we are ready to anoint them the Super Bowl Champs.
Not so fast. Kevin Kolb has been a game manager at best. He is getting the ball to Fitz as much as he can and not throwing picks. Beanie Wells has obviously gotten injured and second year player Ryan Williams might be on the cusp of breaking out after missing his rookie campaign with a torn patella tendon.
All the talk has been about the Cards defense. But aside from all-world corner Patrick Peterson, who are all of these defenders that are shutting down these potent attacks? Well Calais Campbell and Darnell Dockett are one of the better pair of 3-4 ends in the league, as long as Dockett escaped an apparent injury yesterday.
The linebacking corps have been playing out of this world, but they are the group that are the most likely to get exposed and fail in short order. They have been getting to the pivot and getting sacks at an unsustainable rate that is about to come back to normal. They have shut down the running game rather effectively, but that is more a credit to the ends than the backers.
Their schedule is actually looking pretty easy in the next few weeks, with Miami, St. Louis and Buffalo up next. It is possible that the Cards could be 5-1 or even 6-0 in a few weeks, and the league will be in full blown Cardinal hysteria not seen since Kurt was slinging the rock.
Do not be fooled by it though. The depth at wideout is not there. Kolb is about to have a typical Kolb game. The linebackers are ripe for exposure once a blocking scheme can be figured out.