The Eagles and Cardinals made the blockbuster deal of the summer, swapping a potential franchise quarterback for a potential franchise corner and a second-round pick, doing so with the long-term view in mind. It was a trade born of Philadelphia's quarterback economics with Michael Vick the starter and born of Arizona's belief that competent quarterbacking, in the post-Kurt Warner era, could quickly get it back atop the NFC West.
You don't deal Kevin Kolb for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie with a five-game sample size in mind, but given the plight of these two franchises, and their collective 2-8 record and somewhat unfathomable ability to blow games in all manner, shape and form, it's hard not to take a look at the ugly snapshot thus far. Unquestionably, these two teams have been among the biggest disappointments in football, and there appear to be few easy solutions to get them righted.
But any gains from these trades to the respective areas of need have been minimal at best. Rodgers-Cromartie has been more involved in sub packages with Nnamdi Asomugha and Asante Samuel the starters coming into the season. As we all know, Philadelphia's defense in general, and pass defense in particular, has been horrendous. Shoddy tackling, lack of synergy between personnel and scheme at times (press-man corners in a lot of zone), and the rookie learning curve of new coordinator Juan Castillo have been well documented.
Rodgers-Cromartie has one start, two passes defensed and no interceptions. The Eagles' secondary has been a disaster. They are allowing an average of 7.6 yards after the catch, according to STATS, Inc, third worst in the NFL. That speaks to the tackling and fundamental issues. They are allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete 64 percent of their passes, with 11 touchdowns to just three interceptions. It all adds up for a staggering 104.3 passer rating -- third worst in the NFL, putting them with the Colts, Broncos and Dolphins, not the kind of company they had in mind when reworking the back end in the offseason.
As for the Cardinals, well, we know the conglomerate of Derek Anderson, John Skelton and Max Hall conspired for some epically bad quarterbacking in 2010. Kolb is in a different class from them, and certainly there would be an adjustment given the timing of the trade and the lack of prep time due to the lockout. But the early returns have been weak (see chart).
Larry Fitzgerald has stretched the field more, which the team was desperate for, but not as much as you might think. Through five games this season, Fitzgerald has 43 targets with 27 catches for 427 yards, two touchdowns and four receptions of 25 yards or more. Through five games last season, Fitzgerald had 54 targets with 26 catches for 301 yards, with two touchdowns and three receptions of 25 yards or more.
More yards, sure, but a muted impact thus far. And, most importantly, the Cardinals were 3-2 at this point a year ago, a mark they'd love to have now.
The problems for these teams go beyond quarterback and corner play, but it's fair to say the big trade hasn't created an immediate stir.