Not only did the Arizona Cardinals predictably fail to reach the finals in the Peyton Manning sweepstakes, they face the possibility the late-great and perhaps-still-great quarterback will helmet-slap them again. It was revealed today the Cardinals’ chief rival in the NFC-West, the San Francisco 49ers, gave Manning a “secret” workout earlier this week and may sign him to a big contract.
My take on the Cardinals-Manning affair is this. Manning visited the Cardinals only out of curiosity because so many media talkers said Arizona was “a perfect fit” for him. These so-called experts must have no idea in what low esteem the Cardinals organization is held by many NFL players, a franchise that rids top talent as soon as it matures and seeks big bucks. Not to mention, as a low-budget team, over-paying selected players like wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, to the detriment of an adequate supporting cast.
Another pipe-dream of the “experts” is that the coach, Ken Whisenhunt, is an offensive genius and Manning would thrive under his guidance. That false assessment of Whisenhunt has been floating around for years.
Whisenhunt has struggled with the quarterback position since arriving six years ago in Arizona. He threw Kurt Warner on the scrap heap, until the late-not-so-great Matt Leinart proved a dud. Whisenhunt mishandled the release of Leinart, wasting a season with erratic Derek Anderson. And the Whiz’s assessment of the current quarterbacks, Kevin Kolb and John Skelton, have likewise left much to be desired. He was too high on Kolb, and too despairing of Skelton.
No, Manning made a wise choice in turning his back on the Cardinals without so much as a workout or a physical. The Cardinals can only hope now the 49ers don’t latch on to him. The Niners were a quarterback away last season from making the Super Bowl. With a healthy Manning, playing for a team that actually has a great defense, well, look out!