Revenge of the Birds is the great SB Nation blog that covers the Arizona Cardinals, a team that is, in many eerie respects, a lot like the Vikings are this year. They were a playoff team that was eliminated by the Saints, they are a team with a potent offense that is struggling to find their groove, and a defense that is mystifyingly average all of a sudden. With that backdrop, I asked Andrew602, the head blogger, some questions about the Cardinals in regards to their game against the Vikings this Sunday.
Q and A, after the jump.
DN: Arizona and Minnesota have had strangely similar seasons up to this point, but for different reasons. Kurt Warner's retirement played a lot into it, but what else has gone wrong with a team just a couple of seasons removed from the Super Bowl?
ROTB: Well the loss of Kurt Warner really hurt. He played a large roll in the offense. Outside of Warner its been a number of items. Health has been an issue. The defense needed to adjust to a permanent base 3-4 defense. The lack of depth at linebacker also hurt early. That effected the pass rush or lack thereof. But really just with any team the poor quarterback play has been the biggest issue.
DN: Rookie Free Agent Max Hall has come out of nowhere this season, but Derek Anderson has been renamed the starter for Sunday after Hall has struggled. Is Max Hall the quarterback of the future that Matt Leinart couldn’t be, was he much adieu about nothing, or something in between?
ROTB: Hall certainly outplayed his undrafted free agent status so far. He did well against the Saints four weeks ago but severely struggled against the Seahawks on the road and then when he threw 2 picks last week. The experiment of Hall could be over this year, but a developed Hall next year gives the Cardinals options at quarterback. Right now it's way too early to name him the quarterback of the future.
DN: Minneapolis native Larry Fitzgerald is one of the two or three best wide receivers in the NFL, yet he barely has 400 yards receiving up to this point? Has the QB play been that bad, or is it the loss of Anquan Boldin, or both?
ROTB: Larry's depleted numbers are a direct result of very poor quarterback play, not the loss of Anquan Boldin. There's been numerous times that Larry was wide open and over thrown. He plays 100% every play but can't do everything. I still think he and Andre Johnson are the best receivers in the league.
DN: The Vikings offense (26th in points scored) versus the Cardinals defense (30th in points allowed) is a titanic matchup of the resistible force against the moveable object. Granted, Titanic sank in spectacular fashion, but that’s neither here nor there. Which unit do you favor between the two, and why?
ROTB: I think it all depends on which defense shows up. The Cardinals defense has vastly improved the last two weeks, and dont forget the Bucs scored 14 points on defense last week. It all depends on the status of Favre. If he isn't 100% or doesn't play, it's going to affect the Vikings play on offense.
DN: Minnesota’s defensive line had a good record of being able to pressure the quarterback and face mistakes, at least until this year. How good is Arizona’s offensive line, and will they be able to open holes for the running game and keep Derek Anderson upright?
ROTB: The Cardinals offensive line has been poor this year. In all honesty, this could be the game the Vikings get their struggling pass rush back on track. The rushing game comes and goes with the Cardinals. I dont think the line will be able to get a good push unless Ken Whisenhunt mixes things up and throws in some gadget plays to get the running game going.
DN: Bonus Question: Who do you like in this game, and what’s your final score?
ROTB: 27-20, the winner could go either way.
Thanks to Andrew at Revenge of the Birds for taking the time to answer our questions.
Hey, let's put all the crap behind us and get ready to watch some football this weekend.