Saturday, March 6, 2010
Your turn: Too early to write off Cards
By Mike Sando
The item comparing the Cardinals' current offseason to their 1999 offseason did not go over well with a few fans who know the organization has made significant strides since then.
I was comparing only the personnel losses.
The Cardinals in their current form are obviously better positioned to weather turnover. But the current Cardinals are also suffering far more significant personnel losses than the team suffered after beating Dallas in the playoffs following the 1998 season. Kurt Warner, Anquan Boldin, Karlos Dansby and Antrel Rolle are very good players.
"Sando, I'd like to leave the door open for the Cardinals to somewhat make out OK," Facebook friend Andrew wrote. "For you to compare the 1999 Cardinals to the 2010 Cardinals is a bit of rhetoric. The organization has come a long way since then. So this offseason is yet to be written."
Andrew is a hardcore Cardinals fan. I've tailgated with him at University of Phoenix Stadium and talked Cardinals with him at training camp in Flagstaff. A couple seasons ago, I was the one trying to convince Andrew and other weary Arizona fans that the organization had indeed turned a corner. Every time the Cardinals appeared close to breaking through, fans seemed to brace for imminent failure. The organization had let them down so many times before.
Andrew is right when he says it's too early to write off the Cardinals' offseason. The team could still fortify its roster with a few lower-priced free-agent finds. The team could discover another immediate contributor or two in the draft. Matt Leinart could exceed expectations. Beanie Wells could enjoy a breakout season.
"It seems bad, but it's only the first day of free agency," Facebook friend Sue cautioned. "There are a few guys on the radar, so let's see how this plays out before we write the eulogy."
Fair enough. But when you watch Warner, Boldin, Dansby and Rolle walk away in a matter of weeks, it's also fair to expect a dropoff.
"Mike -- You have been anti-Arizona the last three months," Andy wrote. "We're still NFC West champs two years running. I only wish we could have kept Dansby, but you always must consider value vs. money. Boldin and Rolle have been liabilities for years."
Arizona has had some negative things happen in the last few months. That will be reflected in the coverage. No one said Arizona was not NFC West champs for two years running. Boldin a liability? I wouldn't call him that. We'll see what kind of liability Rolle has been if/when Rashad Johnson, Matt Ware or someone else is on the back end. Arizona has done a nice job filling holes, but anyone looking at this team right now should be able to see what has happened recently. Not good.