UPDATE 2:19 PM: If you want to check out how I answered ROTB's questions, click here.
While you guys think of interesting ways to make fun of our team, let's get serious for just a bit. It's time for our weekly Five Good Questions segment, this time around with Jess Root of Revenge Of The Birds. The Cardinals have struggled to a 1-3 start, and their losses have come in an all-too-familiar fashion to Vikings fans. Here's what Jess had to say:
Daily Norseman: The Cardinals have an unpleasant thing in common with the Vikings so far this season--agonizing losses after victory seemed certain. While we've sort of pegged down most of the main causes here in Minnesota (**cough cough** MCNABB **cough**), the reasons don't seem as obvious in Arizona. Why aren't the Cardinals finishing off games?
Revenge Of The Birds: The Cardinals' troubles are varied and you can plant most of it on the defense. Take the Giants game. They have a 10 point lead. The defense has to make stops. When it comes to key moments, the defense is not getting off the field. Then, the offense has not yet been able to produce a crunch time drive. First it was a Chansi Stuckey fumble. Then it was a Kevin Kolb interception. Most recently it was not converting on fourth down.
After a season of no success, it is hard getting over the hump, especially since there is a new defensive coordinator and a new quarterback with no offseason preparation. It just seems the team has not yet gotten it together.
DN: How do you feel about the play of Kevin Kolb so far? His numbers have been middle of the road, and I'm guessing you were hoping for better than a 1-3 record--is it just a slow start or are some fans already doubting that Kolb is the answer at quarterback?
ROTB: The 1-3 start is painful. We hope it is just a slow start. There has been enough promise to say that Kolb will be just fine and his numbers support that. However, there are fans who are already questioning the move.
DN: What the heck has gotten into Beanie Wells this season? Is it simply the fact that he's getting more looks due to the departure of Tim Hightower, or has he taken a legitimate leap in his third season? Do you see him sustaining this kind of production for the rest of the year?
ROTB: There are really two parts to Beanie's success. One is opportunity. Because of the Hightower trade and the Ryan Williams injury, he is the guy. There is no other real option. Secondly, he is healthy. Yes, he had the hamstring thing, but in a recent interview he said that his knee injury lingered a bit last year.
I happen to believe that a lot of Beanie's criticism is unfounded. His rookie year was solid. His second year was marked with a knee injury. He is right on track. I think we are going to see a Beanie breakout year. He is going to get almost all the carries and he is running again the way he did his rookie year.
DN: Which area of the team has been the biggest concern for the Cardinals through four games? What do you think needs to change in order for that area of concern to improve?
ROTB: There are three big concerns. One is the pass blocking from the tackles, one is the outside pass rush and then there is coverage. Jeremy Bridges coming in to replace either Brandon Keith or Levi Brown could be the answer, but that is only happening if there is an injury. The outside pass rush is concerning because the team has old guys in Clark Haggans and Joey Porter in decline and young guys in O'Brien Schofield and Sam Acho. The young guys have not shown yet that they can handle the full responsibility in all phases.
The coverage will come. A.J. Jefferson and Patrick Peterson are very talented but inexperienced. Plus, a pass rush would help. As these corners see more on film and make mistakes on the field, they will get better. Jefferson already has shown an ability bounce back and make plays after he has given plays up.
DN: Give us one player on offense and one player on defense that most Vikings fans don't know about that could have a big impact on the game. And finally, give us your prediction of Sunday's outcome.
ROTB: On offense, there is this guy Larry Fitzgerald...oh, that fans don't know about. Everyone knows about Kolb, Beanie and Fitz. Receiver Early Doucet is healthy and has turned into a favorite third down target of Kolb. He has great hands and physicality. He makes catches in traffic, over the middle and even can create a little separation. Also Jeff King, who was brought in to be a blocking tight end, has scored a couple of touchdowns already.
On defense, Calais Campbell has been playing very, very well. He had himself an elite defensive day against Seattle -- 2.5 sacks, 10 tackles and another couple of QB hits. Coming from a defensive lineman, that is serious stuff. Linebacker Daryl Washington is the other guy. In his second year, he is in on almost every single play. He is fast and looks like he could be better than Karlos Dansby was for the team.
As for a prediction, even though it is on the road, I think this is the game that the Cardinals finally bust through. The offense will be more successful and the defense will make the necessary stops. Cardinals 30, Vikings 20.
Thanks a ton to Jess for taking the time to answer our questions. If you have any more that I may have missed, feel free to drop him a line at the FanPost he created here.