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Cardinals Painful Woes All Part Of The Growing Process, Help Is Coming

There's no hiding the fact that blowing a 10-point, fourth quarter lead is painful. It's hard to watch. It sucks for the fans and it sucks for the players and coaches. It is also part of the process a young team goes through and this is still a young team who clearly is learning how hard it is to win in the NFL.

The Arizona Cardinals have lost their last three games by a total of eight points. They blew a 21-13 lead in the fourth quarter in the game in Washington, threw an interception late in the game in Seattle with a chance to at least tie, and this week gave away a ten point advantage with the game all but won.

"It's so difficult because I know how good of a football team we can be," star of the game, RB Bean Wells said after booking three touchdowns and 138 yards on 27 carries.

We heard a similar refrain by all the players and coach Ken Whisenhunt. They are frustrated with the result but remain positive about the potential and quality of the team.

Never at a loss for words, Darnell Dockett put it best, "I'm confident with this team. I'd take this team anywhere, any place, any time. We've just got to find a way to finish it."

This is the crux of the matter.

Are they delusional and simply spinning themselves (and us) or is this a team that can be better than its 1-3 record would indicate?

There's no questioning the results. The issue is what comes next and in my mind, there's still a lot to be positive about.

The rookies, for example, continue to make plays and will only get better.

TE Rob Housler got himself open on a busted play and broke a tackle for a key first down. He's a quality football player. FB Anthony Sherman continues to make blocks and also got himself in position to give Kolb an outlet and then ran for a 19-yard play. Sam Acho, who's yet to make much of an impact in a game, was described this week by defensive coordinator Ray Horton as a "not smart, but brilliant" football player.

The star of the class, Patrick Peterson got beat in single coverage but also made some outstanding plays and his talent continues to shine through. He gets better each week.

Sunday's young standout was David Carter, a sixth-round pick out of UCLA who adds another dimension at nose tackle than the bigger, slower Dan Williams.

Carter beat his man cleanly late in the third quarter and forced a fumble that the Cardinals recovered on the Giants five-yard line. They quickly converted Carter's success into seven points. It wasn't his only good play but it certainly was the biggest.

"Man, we have a great rookie class. I'm not just saying the because I'm a rookie, I'm saying that because we have guys that come in and make plays," Carter said. "I feel that this rookie class is the best rookie class in the NFL this year."

We'll let time tell if Carter is right about this being the best rookie class in the NFL, but there's no denying they are talented...and young. There's a lot of youth on this team and it starts with the quarterback on offense and the two cornerbacks on defense.

Those are pretty high profile positions to have manned by such inexperienced players. You can hide mistakes from a rookie linebacker or tight end, but if your quarterback or cornerbacks screw up, it's all over SportsCenter.

Kevin Kolb has shown us how good he can be but he clearly is a guy with only 11 career NFL starts. 

"This is my first full season, I know there are a lot of challenges. This is one of them and I feel like I am a mentally strong person and the rest of those guys in there are too. We will keep rallying, keep working," Kolb said.

Maybe it's spin but this team feels like it's got a lot left to show. There's talent on both sides of the ball but it's young talent and it's going to take more time for them to learn how to put it all together with the veteran stars like Darnell Dockett and Larry Fitzgerald

As long as Dockett and Fitzgerald are encouraged by the talent and character of their young teammates, there's still reason to have hope.

This doesn't feel like last year's team which was headed nowhere fast. This feels like a team that will continue to improve and at some point, things will start to click for them.

We'll see, maybe I'm delusional too. It wouldn't be the first time.