To get ready for Sunday's Detroit Lions game, I exchanged five questions with Jess Root from Revenge of the Birds, SB Nation's Arizona Cardinals blog. You can check out his answers below.
1. The Cardinals held a 24-13 lead over the St. Louis Rams going into the fourth quarter of last week's game before ultimately losing by a score of 27-24. What went wrong in that final quarter for Arizona?
It was a little of everything. The defense gave up a long, sustained drive and the two-point conversion. They didn't generate pressure to bother Sam Bradford. Then the offense stopped, too. It reminded me a lot of 2011, when Kevin Kolb was learning the new offense and the defense was still figuring out Ray Horton's sets. In a nutshell, they choked.
2. Carson Palmer put up pretty solid numbers for the Cardinals in Week 1, and three different wide receivers had at least 80 yards receiving. Is it safe to say that Arizona once again has an explosive passing attack?
That is pretty safe to say. It needs to be replicated, but I think that was the one thing we were pretty sure we would have. It's too early to say for sure -- after all, Kevin Kolb threw for over 300 yards in his debut against the Panthers. The pieces are in place. They have a scheme that values throwing the ball down the field. They have the receivers to do it and they have a veteran QB that can put up yards.
3. Already, a lot has been made about the matchup between Arizona's offensive line and Detroit's defensive line. How concerned are you about how the O-line will hold up on Sunday?
It ALWAYS is the biggest concern. In fact, the strong inside presence that Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley give is actually a big worry. Palmer throughout his career has been good about avoiding and neutralizing the outside rush. When it comes from the inside, he struggles. However, he gets rid of the ball quickly. If they can run the ball even a little bit, then that will open things up.
4. A lot has changed for the Cardinals since these two teams met toward the end of last season given that they cleaned house following 2012. What are your thoughts on the job general manager Steve Keim and head coach Bruce Arians have done so far?
Well, the team looks the same at its core, but when half your roster is new and all but a couple of the coaching staff is new, then you definitely have your mark on the team. Keim and Arians appear to have done a very good job. Most positions saw upgrades. Others saw huge financial savings. The direction looks better. On the other hand, a lot of the young talent brought in from the previous staff (of which Keim was a member -- he was lead scout and over player personnel) has been dismissed or is underutilized. Senio Kelemete and O'Brien Schofield are gone. Nate Potter, Bobby Massie, Ryan Williams and Jamell Fleming are all buried on the depth chart. One draft pick (Ryan Swope) never saw the field because of concussion issues. So while things look like they are in the right direction, not everything is perfect.
5. We're only a week into the season, but the Tyrann Mathieu draft pick already looks like a good one. How excited are you about having a secondary that features Mathieu and Patrick Peterson going forward?
How can you not be excited? Mathieu is still learning the safety position and he is making plays while in as a nickel corner. Peterson is a stud and Mathieu really looks like a playmaker. He does everything right in practice, in the classroom and appears to have fixed his off the field issues. It's going to be fun to see them grow.