I consulted Jess Root of Revenge of the Birds to get a little scouting on where the Cardinals are at this point in the season, how they're feeling about their team, who to watch on Sunday, and more. Here's what Jess had to say...
DK: The question on everyone's mind is whether or not Kevin Kolb will be around in Arizona next season. What's your sense on that? Is he the QB of the future for you guys or does he have the stench of a bust? How do the fans feel about John Skelton?
JR: While Kevin Kolb is due a big roster bonus, he is going to be back. The team is likely a little concerned about his durability, but they were pleased with the progress he made with the offense. As for the quarterback of the future, that is a big unknown. People fear that the stench of bust is there, but also, he has been out long enough that we can't smell it yet. However, while John Skelton certainly has his supporters, his inconsistencies have not been typical of young QBs.
They have ups and downs during games and week to week, but he has been near disastrous for most of games and amazing late at games. The closing ability is nice, but if he doesn't dig such a big hole to start games, the heroics would not be needed.
At this point it looks like the two quarterbacks will both have a shot to win the job in next year's camp and the preseason. If health is not an issue, I expect Kolb to easily win it. Next year, though, will be a very important year for Kolb. It will determine whether the deal was good or bad.
DK: The Cardinals have rattled off some big wins in a nice 2nd half of the season - does this mean you expect to see Ken Whisenhunt keep his job and how do the fans feel about this team's front office, at this point in the season?
JR: Whisenhunt, honestly, was never in any danger of being fired. Had the bad play continued into next year, then he probably would have been shown the door, and next year is still very important for his job. The front office is very much behind Whiz and believe in him and his ability to bring the team back to the playoffs.
Fans are not terribly critical of the front office these days.They are pleased with last year's draft and the willingness to go get who they believed to be their QB and make sure that Larry Fitzgerald is a Cardinal for life. If they manage to get Calais Campbell signed to a long-term deal, things will continue to look good.
DK: Which players have surprised you this season? Are there any lesser known guys that Seahawks' fans should keep their eyes on in this game?
JR: As for a surprise, Adrian Wilson has been the dominant player he once was the second half of the season. Most thought he was almost done. He has proved us all wrong, and thankfully so. Calais Campbell you probably already know about, considering the havoc he caused the last time the two teams faced each other.
As for perhaps lesser known guys, watch out for number two receiver Andre Roberts. He really struggled in the first half of the season, but has started to put together some decent numbers. With so much attention given to Larry Fitzgerald, he has been producing much more lately.
Rookie OLB Sam Acho (#94) has come on strong. Now starting, he has seven sacks and three forced fumbles this season. He has given the the pass rush threat on the outside that had been missing for more than a season.
DK: What has been the Cardinals' bread and butter this season, and conversely, what has been their achilles heel?
JR: The bread and butter? It has been their defense. It has turned into a very formidable unit. They get opposing teams off the field and allow very few touchdowns. After allowing 20 TDs in their first seven games, that has improved to only 10 in the last eight games. Likewise, teams tend to miss field goals, as opponents have missed 12 kicks this season against the Cards. Arizona has blocked five kicks and with 6-8 Calais Campbell in the middle of the line, kickers have to think about him and the blocks.
The other trend developing has been for the Cards to play amazingly well in the fourth quarter. The have trailed in the second half of every single game they have won. When the pressure is on, they perform. It is uncanny, considering that the start of the season was the opposite - they were 0-4 in late game drives where they could have tied or taken the lead.
The Achille's heel? That would be quarterback turnovers. John Skelton has thrown 13 interceptions. As a team, they have thrown more picks than all but two teams in the league. Early in games, they put the defense in bad spots, but luckily the defense has been able to perform and keep teams out of the endzone.
DK: What do you think the Cards' number one priority will be in this year's draft? Any position stand out and are fans clamoring for anyone in particular when it comes to this year's Draft?
The number one thing on everyone's wish list is an upgrade at either or both offensive tackle positions. Depth on the defensive line is a need, as is depth at safety. The other big desire is a legitimate threat at the number two WR position. But the offensive line is where fans have the most frustration.
Big thanks to Jess Root of Revenge of the Birds for the scouting report. Make sure you check it out for some more recon on the enemy.