Arizona Cardinals: 2012 Regular Season Offensive Grades
Regular Season Grades
I decided to wait a little bit before I put out my end of the season grades. There was a bitter taste in my mouth from watching a terrible offense play for the final 12 games this season and I could not bring myself to writing anything positive. The Arizona Cardinals have much to improve on from their lack of offensive output this season, but it was not all negative. QB Kevin Kolb showed "true grit" playing the Cardinals to four consecutive wins at the beginning of the year and for that he deserves our respect.
The biggest problem the Cardinals will face in the off-season will be what they do at the quarterback position. Kolb is the guy for now, but who do they bring in as a veteran backup? They cannot rely on any of the young guys on the roster and we saw that for all of the games the Cardinals were without Kolb. John Skelton, Ryan Lindley and Brian Hoyer are not what the Cardinals need to lead this team, or even backup this team moving forward.
Next, the Cardinals need to get healthy. It seemed every week the Cardinals had to place a new player on the injured reserve list. LT Levi Brown will be healthy come fall, as well as LB O'Brien Schofield, Kolb will be ready to go for sure, but C Lyle Sendlein's status is still uncertain. The Cardinals are going to want to get an offensive lineman with their first pick in the draft. Anything else would set the Cardinals up for failure.
The season had it's up and then down. It was not a roller coaster ride, but more of a free fall from the top of a sky scraper with no parachute. The Cardinals defense showed they can compete with any team in the league, but you could tell towards the end they just got tired from being on the field too long. I will get to the defense later, but here are the offensive grades for the 2012 Cardinals, enjoy.
Follow Kase Brammer on Twitter @KBlive33 and don't hesitate to be a critic.
Kevin Kolb: In a year full of pure black at the quarterback position, Kolb's light shined. He finished the season with more TD passes than all other quarterbacks on the team combined and had a quarterback rating of over 85. He was sacked 17 times in two games and still managed to go 1-1. It was amazing that he lasted as long as he did. Grade: B+
John Skelton: This is a guy that seemed to throw an interception at the wrong time in every game. In fact, he came within a game of Ryan Leaf's interception record. Not great company to be in. Skelton proved he will not be a Cardinals' player next season or ever again. He managed just two TDs and nine interceptions and finished with less passing yards than Kolb. Grade: F
Ryan Lindley: This kid was not the answer. He got a crash course on what the NFL is like, got benched, took the test again and failed again. His quarterback rating was the worst on the team and did not throw a single TD to go along with his seven interceptions. You would think I would be a little more lenient because he is so young, nope. Grade: F
Brian Hoyer: He had the second best quarterback rating on the team and threw half as many TDs as Skelton did in a sixth of the playing time. He is not the future of the Cardinals, but he did not play enough for me to get a good look at him. Grade: INCOMPLETE
Beanie Wells: On injured reserve for half of the season, but his season average was still well below his career numbers. Wells did finish with five TDs, but his season was basically a complete disappointment. A lot of it has to do with the offensive line. His comments about trying out for 31 other NFL teams at the end of the season is sure to get him a notice to vacate. Grade: D+
LaRod Stephens-Howling: "the hyphen" led the team in rushing yards this season, but his 357 yards and four TDs are nothing to celebrate. Stephens-Howling failed to get the tough yards for most of his playing time and fans know he is not much more than a change of pace back. Grade: C
RB William Powell averaged more yards per carry than Wells and Stephens-Howling, but his 59 carries this season are not enough to get a full grade. The same goes for RB Ryan Williams. He was on IR for most of the season, but he should be back next season to lead this group of running backs.
Anthony Sherman: Used almost completely as a blocker this season "the Shermanator" barely got his team over 1,000 total rushing yards, but that can be a hard thing to accomplish when your offensive line is playing a foot and a half in the back field from the start of the play. I give Sherman a lot of credit for playing hard the entire season, but his play was never more than average. Grade: C
Larry Fitzgerald: You have to feel for a guy that has only gone below 1,000 yards receiving one other time in a full 16 game season. His numbers might not say it, but this was the worst season of his career. He finished with just 798 yards which is just 18 more than his rookie total. I blame the quarterbacks and offensive line, but Larry has to take a hit for his offensive grade on principal. Grade: B-
Andre Roberts: This receiver finished just below Larry in terms of team leaders for receiving, but had one more TD and is sitting at the top of the list with five. Roberts had his best season as a pro and that is especially impressive considering the Cardinals' season. Grade: B
Michael Floyd: He got more and more playing time as the season progressed and may have had his coming out party versus the San Francisco 49ers. Floyd finished with 562 receiving yards in his first season and has the Arizona fan base buzzing for next year. Grade: B+
Early Doucet was a complete disappointment in the eyes of the fans this year. He dropped too many passes early in the season and played his way out of the third receiver spot. He does not get a grade for the 2012 season.
Jeff King: He was used primary as a blocker because of the terrible situation going on with Bobby Massie and D'Anthony Batiste at the beginning of the season. Also, it looks like the Cardinals decided to go with Rob Housler more and more as the season ended. King might not be back next season. Grade: C-
Rob Housler: Not a bad year. He finished with 45 receptions and over 400 yards. As the Cardinals offensive line improves he will be targeted more and more. Standing at 6'5' 250 lbs, Housler should be a focal point in the offense next season. He creates a lot of mismatches with his size and strength. Grade: B
Side note: It was sad to see Todd Heap go, but if he can get healthy, I believe he has one more good season left in him.
The Cardinals' offensive line was terrible this year. I have decided to skip grading and give them awards based on how their season progressed.
Most Improved: This is a no brainer. RT Bobby Massie went from worst tackle in the NFL to okay, I can watch him play now. This was his first year in the league and he will continue to improve. If he continues at the same pace he will soon be a suitable right tackle for a lot of teams in the NFL.
Most likely to be released: D'Anthony Batiste was replaced midway through the game versus the Green Bay Packers by Nate Potter. Potter played the rest of the season. He showed some growing pains, but still anything was better than the slow and nonathletic Batiste.
Gutsiest Player: This is a shout out to Lyle Sendlein. Not many players can bust their knee up and finish out a game. He did just that at the beginning of the game against the Atlanta Falcons.