Cardinals Suffer Fifth-Straight Loss, Whisenhunt Hints At Personnel Changes

When you start the NFL season 1-5 there's a lot going wrong. It's easy and obvious to point the finger at quarterback Kevin Kolb but he's clearly not the only problem on the football field for the Arizona Cardinals. For his part, Kolb thought he played better in this game and sees progress in some aspects of the offense. At the same time, he knows he can't miss open receivers and needs to get better for this team to turn the corner.

Kolb is not going anywhere, however. It's almost impossible to envision a situation where the team decides to bench him in favor of back ups John Skelton or Rich Bartel barring injury. After trading so much to get him and signing him to a big contract, the Cardinals have no choice but to ride it out and hope that Kolb improves. 

That doesn't mean everyone else on the team should feel secure about their jobs. A frustrated Ken Whisenhunt suggested that changes could be coming.

"We've got to look at everything we're doing and look at the guys that we're doing it with. I think it's not just one position, it's a number of positions. That's what we're trying to do to put our best guys in there to give us a chance to win," he said after the game.

One area to watch closely is the outside linebackers. Veterans Joey Porter and Clark Haggans, both 34, have not made many plays this season and making plays, according to Whisenhunt, is what's needed most. The pair have combined for just 2 sacks and 19 tackles on the season. 

Backing up these aging warriors are two young guns in O'Brien Schofield and Sam Acho who've combined for 1.5 sacks in very limited playing time. The two played together to start the fourth quarter and were able to at least make life uncomfortable for Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger. Acho's sack in the red zone helped the defense prevent a touchdown.

"We're just waiting our turn," Schofield said. "When the coaches give us time like that in games it's very valuable for the learning experience and just to show them we can get it done."

Other than perhaps playing rookies David Carter at nose tackle, DeMarco Sampson more at wide receiver and TE Rob Housler, there's not a lot of other positions where the Cardinals have the depth to make changes aside from those outside linebackers.

ILB Daryl Washington, himself only a second-year player who's already emerging as one of the brightest talents on the team, recognizes where things are headed.

"Those young guys, Sam Acho and O'Brien Schofield, have bright futures ahead of them," Washington said. "These guys will continue learning and communicating. It's good for us to get in the game and work together because we're the future."

He's absolutely right. Washington, Acho and Schofield are the future and at 1-5, it's time to start giving them more opportunities to play together.

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