Bruce Arians hates Thursday night football. And that was before the Cardinals’ head coach was presiding over an unwanted quarterback dilemma.
Things were a lot easier when he was calling plays for Andrew Luck.
Alas, after falling to the Seahawks, 34-22, in Glendale, absorbing their second division loss in five days, the new-look Cardinals are back in the same old leaky boat. Their offense is stagnant, sabotaging a talented defense and a team that could be a playoff contender. Meanwhile, their new quarterback is second only to a Manning in a high-profile category.
Unfortunately, that’s Eli Manning. And, unfortunately, the category is most interceptions in the NFL.
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This isn’t all Carson Palmer’s fault. His offensive line has been suspect. The Seahawks exposed left tackle Bradley Sowell, who has replaced the jettisoned Levi Brown. Meanwhile, his receivers often seem to be reading from a different book entirely.
The lack of potency is puzzling, especially since Arians once raved about the teaching capabilities of assistant coach Tom Moore, supposedly a master at making offense easy on the brain cells.
We’ve seen exactly the opposite in Arizona. We’ve seen confused players. We’ve seen an immobile quarterback playing behind a bad offensive line, in an offense designed to throw the ball downfield. It’s not the right mix.
So change the approach. Or change the quarterback. Just to be sure you’re playing the right guy.
“No,” said Arians, when asked if he almost changed quarterbacks on Thursday.
Except at one point, Stanton put on his helmet, and stood near the field of play. After the game, Arians said he’d examine the second interception, the one that appeared to be a bad mental decision.
Some argue that Arians doesn’t have a better option. But that doesn’t make any sense.
Before the Cardinals acquired Palmer in a trade, Arians said he was perfectly comfortable going into the season with Drew Stanton as his starting quarterback.
This game dispelled the myth that Palmer had turned some sort of corner after throwing two early interceptions in San Francisco. What a shame.
The Seahawks scored touchdowns on their first two possessions. Russell Wilson threw an incredible scoring pass on the run, off his back foot, under heavy pressure. Former ASU star Zach Miller added another touchdown.
From the first few minutes, the visiting Seahawks looked hungrier, sharp and eager.
“We need to find a way to start faster, on both sides of the ball,” Arians said. “We didn’t break a sweat all week, so we should’ve been fresh.”