Gridiron Gab Week Fourteen Preview – Denver at Arizona

Season Records:

Cardinals: 3-9, 4th in NFC West, Last Week: L vs. St. Louis, 19-6

Broncos: 3-9, 4th in AFC West, Last Week: L @ Kansas City, 10-6


Sunday, December 12, 4:15 p.m. EST., University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ

Two Franchises nearing the End of Two Nightmare Seasons:

The Cardinals continue their dissapointing season by hosting the Denver Broncos, who are dealing with their own issues. Denver’s former head coach, Josh McDaniels, was fired on Monday. Like Arizona, the Broncos are in the midst of the team’s worst slide in quite a while. McDaniels left Denver with a total 11-17 record and a bevy of off-field complications, including a number of trades that didn’t quite work out for the Broncos such as letting Petyon Hillis ship off for Cleveland. Oh yeah, then there’s the whole Spygate II videotaping scandal. McDaniels was replaced on an interim basis by running backs coach Eric Studesville. It’s reported that Studesville will have his chance to stay on full-time.

While Arizona won’t be making a change at head coach, there have of course been other personnel moves in anticipation of this week’s game. Obviously, Max Hall has been placed on injury reserve due to a left shoulder injury he suffered while relieving Derek Anderson last week against the Rams. In his place, the Cardinals signed Richard Bartel, 27, who served as Daunte Culpepper’s backup for the Mountain Lions of the UFL. Bartel spent the pre-season with the Washington Redskins, but was among the final cuts made before the regular season started. Bartel’s history includes playing for Southern Methodist University in 2003 before transferring to Tarleton State University for his final two seasons where he completed 161 of 276 passes for 2,033 yards with 16 TDs and 5 INTs. He has never appeared in an NFL game, yet.

On Monday,Whisenhunt addressed what he’s learned from this season and whether he still agrees with his decision to part ways with Matt Leinart. Here’s what he had to say:

That’s the thing to talk about now (but) when we made the decision at the time, we did what we felt was best for our team and best for our future going forward. Obviously it is easy to second-guess now because it hasn’t worked out the way any of us had hoped or thought it was going to. I can’t go back and say now you would do anything differently because the dynamic is different now (compared to) then when we were making the decisions.

The decision to make now is whether to go with Bartel or Skelton. According to the Cardinals’ official website, the starting job for Sunday will be determined based on an open competition between rookie John Skelton and Bartel. Derek Anderson hasn’t passed his concussion tests so he is a non factor this week. When asked if Bartel is honestly in the mix to start, Ken Whisenhunt replied, “I think he has to be. Even if John is the guy, he could go one play and get hurt and (Bartel) would be in there playing.”

Although Whisenhunt doesn’t want to second guess anything, that’s all that Cardinals fans can really do as we take on the Broncos with a 3-9 record in the worst division in the NFL. With no shot at the playoffs, the Cardinals are simply treading water at this point.

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