Thursday, October 13, 2011
Kurt Warner: Cardinals' can't make a play
By Mike Sando
One day after Arizona Cardinals president Michael Bidwill gave his assessment of the team, former quarterback Kurt Warner weighed in Thursday with Arizona Sports 620 radio.
Warner's basic take: The Cardinals are lacking in the playmaking department. He's right. Injuries and personnel changes have hurt Arizona in an area where the team was once quite strong, the ability to score touchdowns from just about anywhere on the field.
A hand injury and new rules governing kickoffs have largely silenced LaRod Stephens-Howling. Kerry Rhodes, who scored twice on returns last season, wasn't making plays before suffering a foot injury that will sideline him at least a month. Adrian Wilson has let a couple chances at interceptions get past him. Linebacker Daryl Washington, who scored on a return last season, has battled a calf injury.
Two other big-play threats in the past, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Steve Breaston, are gone. Others, such as Anquan Boldin and Antrel Rolle, are long gone. Andre Roberts, who flashed big-play ability last season, hasn't factored at all this season.
When new quarterback Kevin Kolb missed wide-open tight end Rob Housler for what should have been a touchdown at Minnesota in Week 5, the Cardinals had found a signature play for their dearth of playmaking during a 1-4 start.
"I've watched every play of every game and there are plays out there to be made that are not being made," Warner said. "Flat out, there are guys wide open. Last week, I know Kevin would love to have the one back down the middle of the field that he just overthrew. Just a little more touch on the football, that is a touchdown. It can change the complexion of the game."
Warner rode to coach Ken Whisenhunt's defense, blaming players for failing to capitalize on opportunities. His comment regarding the play Kolb missed wasn't part of a broader criticism of the quarterback. Warner did say he thought Kolb wasn't yet comfortable enough in the offense to trust his options and stay in the pocket longer. That will presumably change over time.
"What is going to define this team is, down the road, when they feel comfortable, are they going to make those plays then that they are not making now?" Warner said.
Asked about Kolb's comments regarding players' approach to their jobs, Warner said teams around the league experience the same issues. The winning culture Arizona established in its locker room a few years ago doesn't necessarily carry over given all the personnel changes.
This team must find its own way.