The Washington Redskins travel west this week to face the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals have been playing some good football this year, but injuries on both sides of the ball have hurt them, and they will possibly be starting their 3rd string rookie QB on Sunday. The Redskins and Cardinals have a lot of history from their days in the NFC East, but we haven't played them since 2011 so I reached out to Jess Root from Revenge of the Birds to find out what's going on with the 2014 version of the Arizona Cardinals.
1)What's the latest on the QB situation? Can you please rate your personal level of anxiety for each QB if they are named the starter for Sunday?
Jess: As of Thursday, Carson Palmer was not throwing at full strength and Drew Stanton had not yet been cleared through the concussion protocol. Rookie Logan Thomas has taken all the first team snaps in two days of practice so far. All signs point to him starting on Sunday.
As for comfort level, if Palmer or Stanton start, I feel good about the game, especially being at home. If Thomas starts, I'll be honest. I think Arizona will be lucky to get a win, even against a Washington that has had little success over the last year. He just is too raw and erratic in my opinion, and against a very good pass rush he will struggle unless the other phases of the team step up big time.
2) Lorenzo Alexander, aka One Man Gang aka LorAx, got a lot of love in Redskins Nation during his time with the team. Can you give us an update on his time in Arizona? And can we please have him back?
Jess: Well, he is healthy this year. His role is just on special teams for now, but with the way plaers have been getting hurt here, he might be up next. He is playing well on special teams and was named a team captain. He is great in the locker room and has made plays on special teams.
You can have him back only on one condition -- that we get Ryan Kerrigan in return. That's fair, right?
3)What did the Broncos do to be successful against the Cards last week.(Besides PFM and a dirty chop block?)
Jess:The main thing was Manning. Their receivers out ran man-to-man coverage because they are good and because the Cardinals were unable to generate any pass rush. Manning simply beat them with his throws. Then, after the chop block, Denver was able to run the ball.
4)How big of a loss is Calais Campbell, and how is the depth behind him? Do you agree with Arians that Julius Thomas should have been suspended?
Jess:Campbell's loss is huge. Now they will have to rely on a collection of vets and rookies. They are all capable, but they won't be able to do all Campbell does. It will be a success if they can hold up at the point of attack and be strong against the run. Only rookie Kareem Martin has the potential to be the pass rusher Campbell is, and he hasn't shown that consistently yet.
As for Julius Thomas, yes, he should be suspended. I don't get the hypocrisy of the league. They talk about player safety, but fine Thomas less for a dirty football play than they do for wearing the wrong color shoes (Brandon Marshall) or the wrong headphones (Colin Kaepernick). For a dirty football play, a player should be ejected and subject to suspension.
5)Any concerns with the secondary going into this game vs the Redskins WRs? Patrick Peterson's ankle, Cromartie giving up big plays?
Jess: There is more concern for the lack of a pass rush than Peterson's ankle or Cromartie's play last week. The lack of a pass rush is the issue completely. Peterson and Cromartie are good, but they can't cover players that long. Anyone gets beat. Washington's receivers can be dynamic. If Kirk Cousins has time, it could be scary. However, only Manning has been able to beat the Cardinals down the field. Everything else has been underneath passing, dinking and dunking. That is actually where the Cardinals are most vulnerable.
6)If you could change one thing about the Arizona Cardinals organization, what would it be and why?
Jess: I would change the result of that Super Bowl! That way the team would have a championship and would have been able to shed the reputation of being a terrible organization. For years it truly was, but since Michael Bidwill took over, it has been run like a football team and not just a way for the Bidwill family to make money.
Thanks again to Jess for his questions and answers this week.