The bye week is an important to week for all teams in the NFL to regroup, get healthy and get a chance to evaluate both other teams as well as themselves. The 4-5 Arizona Cardinals are now in their bye week and for them it might not be coming at a better time.
“It gives us a chance to look at our inconsistencies, to look at our scheme, what we’re doing, looking at the players we are doing it with,” said Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt. “Plus it gives us a chance to get healthier. That’s a big thing. So yeah it comes at a good time.”
The biggest thing that could come of this off week is change. Ken Whisenhunt mentioned it is coming on multiple occasions at his weekly press conference on Monday. Amongst a five game losing streak, without a doubt adjustments need to be made and players role could become very different.
“The one thing I want to be very clear about is we are not going to be afraid to make a change,” said Whisenhunt. “If it gives us an opportunity to get better and not stay the same then thats what you have to do.”
The beauty of a bye week is if change is needed, the coaching staff has an opportunity to evaluate their team both in the film room and on the practice field. It is Ken Whisenhunt and his staff’s hope that the extra time will allow them to be able to make the right moves to better their team.
“This gives us a chance with some of our players to evaluate them on a one game, two game or three game period,” said Whisenhunt. “You can look at a body of work and say we’re not getting it done and we’re willing to make a change and go with the next guy and see what he can do to help us.”
So what kind of change could be upon us? Ken Whisenhunt did not get into any specifics but there are quite a few areas and specific players that could see more and less playing time based on the last few games.
Early Doucet is coming off a game at Green Bay where drops we happening left and right. Rookie Michael Floyd in the same game made a fantastic catch and also is seeing more and more reps by the week. Doucet’s reps as the number three option could be in jeopardy.
The offensive line has been a position that has received as much scrutiny as any in the entire league. The Cardinals already made a move in the second quarter in Green Bay brining in rookie Nate Potter to left tackle in replace of D’Anthony Batiste. Potter came in and played well, and that change could be made more permanent in the immediate future.
The defense could see some change as well as missed tackles have become a big issue during this five game skid. O’Brien Schofield will miss the season due to an ankle injury. Those will be very big shoes to fill as Schofield is having a very solid season. Quinton Groves was the man to take his place in Green Bay last week but was called for a very bad off-seides penalty in the fourth quarter. Something Whisenhunt was less than thrilled with.
Linebacker Stuart Bradley hasn’t seen the field much at all beside on special teams since becoming a Cardinal last year. He could be someone that could be evaluated a week after Paris Lenon gave up a demoralizing 72 yards touchdown, getting beat by Tom Crabtree for a Packers touchdown. Bradley could bring a little extra athleticism that Lenon at this stage in his career might not be able to contribute.
When evaluating the state of the team and the players who see the field, there is one underlining factor that Whisenhunt is hoping to find as a result of change.
“We’ve been inconsistent and we’re looking for more consistency,” added Whisenhunt. “When we play consistent football, we’re a good football team.”
As Whisenhunt eluded too, getting healthy is also very important during the bye week. Not just for the players who are banged up, but also the young players who to this point have already played almost the equivalent of a college season.
One player looking to get himself back into shape is Beanie Wells will become eligible this week to practice for the first time since being put on injured reserve for turf toe. He is eligible to play starting week 12 against the Rams.
Most of all, the bye week comes at a perfect time because the Cardinals will get two weeks to prepare for the undefeated Atlanta Falcons. And the Cardinals will hope to take advantage of all that time to be ready.