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Around the NFC West: Cardinals' challenge

1/3/2011

Dan Bickley of the Arizona Repbulic says the Cardinals need to open their wallets to fix what ailed them in 2010. Bickley: "It's time for ownership to give Ken Whisenhunt everything he wants, and some things he may resist. Like John Fox as defensive coordinator, if the former Carolina coach doesn't land a job elsewhere. Or Josh McDaniels as offensive coordinator, a Bill Belichick disciple who did wonders with Kyle Orton in Denver." Bickley also says it's important symbolically for the team to re-sign receiver Steve Breaston. Hiring someone such as Fox to run the defense might not be easy, and candidates of that caliber tend to leave for head coaching jobs. For Arizona, getting a quarterback would change just about everything. Scheming goes only so far without a good one under center.

Also from Bickley: a quick look at a key play.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the torn calf muscle tight end Stephen Spach suffered during warm-ups was especially costly because fellow tight end Ben Patrick was already injured.

Also from Somers: The Cardinals are happy to be finished with this 5-11 season. Safety Kerry Rhodes: "I think people are happy for it to be over. It didn't go the way we wanted it to. This season, we tried to play it off as we just weren't getting it done every week, which is true. But you know changes have to be made, and that's probably what's going to happen this off-season, and you'll see a different team out there."

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says the Cardinals' blowout defeat in San Francisco to close the 2010 season ended a nightmare. Urban: "The first thing the Cardinals need to do is figure out their quarterback situation. The Cards made a switch yet again Sunday, with recently signed Rich Bartel getting a little more than a quarter to show coaches a little of what he could do in relief of rookie John Skelton. By then, the 49ers (6-10) were already in complete control of the game. The Cardinals were outgained 113 yards to minus-14 in the first quarter, but came around long enough for Skelton to lead a 37-yard touchdown drive capped with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Larry Fitzgerald. It was Fitzgerald’s first touchdown since Nov. 21, and it pulled the Cards within 10-7 by halftime."

Also from Urban: The unexpected personnel changes Arizona made Sunday were typical for the season overall.

More from Urban: The Cardinals are seeking a "fresh start" after a tough 2010, cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie says.