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Arizona Cardinals

Updated Dec 2, 2012 - 8:46 pm

The Cardinals are at a major crossroads

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Ryan Lindley (14) is sacked by New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson, back, as safety Yeremiah Bell (37) and linebacker Bart Scott (57) help defend during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Jets won 7-6. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

As if an eight-game skid following a 4-0 start isn't infuriating enough, how about a championship-caliber defense being wasted on this alleged offense the Arizona Cardinals are force feeding their fans on a weekly basis?

Two weeks ago, the Cardinals defense forced six turnovers only to fall short in Atlanta. On Sunday against the Jets, Ray Horton's unit came up with four more takeaways, including three interceptions (to go along with three sacks) against a hapless and ultimately benched Mark Sanchez.

Unfortunately for the Cardinals, Greg McElroy proved to be the difference maker for the Jets, throwing the go-ahead touchdown pass on the first play of the fourth quarter.

I could spend the remainder of this column ripping the Cardinals offense. I could talk about how they only mustered five first downs and 137 yards of total offense. I could crack lame jokes about how they were 0-for-15 on third down conversions, or how according to ESPN Stats & Info, rookie Ryan Lindley was just the second quarterback since the merger to throw for less than 75 yards with at least 30 pass attempts. Lindley was 10-of-31 for 72 yards and an interception. I could also point the spotlight on a ground attack that mustered 81 yards -- 40 of which came on run by safety Rashad Johnson on a fake point -- against the league's 30th ranked rushing defense. But we're past the point of pointing fingers aren't we?

What's needed are solutions, and unfortunately the only solution I can offer this season is to get Kevin Kolb back on the field as soon as he's healthy enough to go.

Sorry John Skelton fans, Ken Whisenhunt made it crystal clear after the game that Skelton wasn't an option today and doesn't appear to be one going forward.

"You always do what you think gives you the best chance," Whisenhunt said. "That's what we did."

Ouch.

Kolb is the only quarterback on this roster that gives the Cardinals the best chance to win. They're 4-2 in games in which he's played this season, and at this point I don't think anyone in that locker room would disagree with starting him.

Aside from avoiding a 12-game losing streak to finish the season, the Cardinals also need Kolb back to see if he's their guy going forward into next season.

I have maintained all along that the Cardinals would have been fighting for a playoff spot if Kolb had managed to stay healthy. Based on how he started the season, I believe the losses to the Vikings, Falcons, Rams and Jets would have gone the other direction. That's obviously a huge "but."

Kolb has had trouble staying on the field the last two seasons, which must also be taken into consideration.

These next four weeks should be an audition for every offensive player not named Larry Fitzgerald, and every coach not named Ray Horton.

The quote of the season came from Fitzgerald following the 7-6 loss Sunday.

"You gotta laugh to keep from crying," the All-Pro wideout said.

There may be several grown men crying about a month from now.

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