Know Thy Enemy: Steelers vs Cardinals


Every week, I will be contacting the editor of the FanSided team blog the Steelers are playing that Sunday.  This week I wrote five questions to Scott Allen, editor of the Cards blog Raising Arizona.  Check out what he has to say after the jump, and be sure to visit his site and let him know what you think about what he has to say.

1.  Ever since Ken Whisenhunt’s arrival in Arizona, he has turned the team around in a rather quick fashion.  A 27-21 (.562) record his frist three seasons.  Pretty good for a team that could not breach 8 wins since 1998.  What has happened in the past two years – especially this season – that has seen this team slip to the bottom of the NFC West again (except for St. Louis)?

"Well, first and foremost, the retirement of Kurt Warner sent this team scrambling.  The team I don’t think, was prepared for him to retire after the 2009 season.  He still had one more season on his contract and I think they were banking on him playing it out.  They had no contingency plan.  Thus, the quarterback disaster the Cards had last season took place.  In order to rectify that this season, they had to give up a top cornerback.  They’ve also had some injuries.  I think also the team has had a couple of draft busts and that certainly doesn’t help.  This current team has a lot of talent but they are getting old too.  The Cards have one of the oldest rosters in the NFL.  I could spend days detailing every issue that has contributed to last season’s 5-11 record and this seasons 1-4 start.  These are just the surface problems."

2. Has Kevin Kolb been a positive addition to the team?

"I know people are down on him and already calling him a bust, but I tell people over and over, judge him not by this season but by next season when he’s had a full off season of preparation with a new team.  Personally, I’ll take him over Derek Anderson everyday.  People forget the problems we had at the QB position last season.  What short memories.  Kolb is definitely a good QB.  Sure, he’s started slow.  Fans must be patient.  Kolb has had a great attitude and his head definitely seems like it is in the right place."

3. What are some of the key matchups this week the Steelers need to be ready for?

"Contain Beanie Wells.  Wells, when healthy this season, has been a force.  The front four and LB core of the Steelers are going to have to try and stop Wells before he makes it into the secondary.  Other than that, the Cards really aren’t going to surprise you.  Play calling has been predictable, and the Cards will probably kill themselves before the Steelers have to make any big plays on either side of the ball."

4. Do you and other fans hear the term ‘Pittsburgh West’ when you hear people refer to the Cardinals?  Does Whisenhunt’s constant desire to acquire Steelers’ vets take away any of his own head coaching achievements?

"I haven’t heard the term Pittsburgh West, but it’s true.  There are A LOT of Steelers fans in Phoenix and around Arizona.  Personally, I don’t know how some of them became fans because they are from here.  My wife’s cousin, my uncle, they are both Steelers fans.  As far as I am aware their birth certificates will not show their birthplace anywhere near Pittsburgh.  I think the coach Wiz thing with taking Steelers players is a little overrated.  It’s not like he has 53 former Steelers on his roster.  No, as far as I am concerned, nothing is taken away with the players he has brought in."

5. Where do you see the Cardinals ending up this season – they have a tough schedule with the Steelers, Ravens and a tough 49’ers team twice yet this season?

"Steelers game will be tough.  Ravens probably even more so since it is on the road.  I think the 49’ers are still overrated personally.  I still say the Cards can beat them twice.  I have the 49ers figured out.  Take the ball out of Alex Smith’s hands and put it in Frank Gore’s hands.  Simple as that.  Look at the numbers.  Smith makes few mistakes but that’s because he isn’t throwing the ball 30-40 times a game like most other QB’s.  So, the Cards can beat them.  I still think this team can win nine games.  Really I do.  I know people think I’m an idiot for saying that, but until they prove me otherwise, I believe.  9-7.  Maybe 8-8."