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Monday, December 10, 2012
Around the NFC West: Cards' new lows

By Mike Sando

The Arizona Cardinals should have expected some dropoff at quarterback following Kurt Warner's retirement.

Total bankruptcy at the position wasn't a reasonable expectation.



Coach Ken Whisenhunt naturally wasn't filled with life after watching his team suffer a 58-0 defeat at Seattle in Week 14. He did respond quickly and in the affirmative when asked whether this performance reflected the cumulative effects of sustained offensive futility.

"There’s no question," Whisenhunt said.

Arizona has now converted 16 of its last 87 third-down opportunities, or 18.4 percent. The team has gone four games without a passing touchdown and two games without a touchdown of any kind. The Cardinals have lost their last four NFC West games by a 130-23 score.

Whisenhunt has regularly suggested that lots of teams have had trouble replacing legendary quarterbacks. Miami has spent years searching for Dan Marino's replacement. Denver had trouble replacing John Elway.

"It's a hard position to play," Whisenhunt said Sunday. "I have seen a lot of teams struggle. Ours is documented because we had a player that played very well at that position a couple of years ago. We haven’t had a player like that approach that level in the last couple of years."

The Cardinals have gone from ranking among the NFL's top six in passer rating and Total QBR over the 2008 and 2009 seasons to ranking dead last by a wide margin in both categories from 2010 to present. And they appear to be getting worse almost exponentially.

John Skelton finished the game Sunday with a 0.4 QBR score, the second-lowest for any player in an NFL game this season. That was the lowest single-game mark for a Cardinals quarterback since at least 2008, which is as far back as ESPN's charting data reaches.