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Thursday Night Pick; Seahawks vs. Cardinals

Russell Wilson helped turn Seattle from laughing stock to contender. The Cardinals are in desperate need of a Russell Wilson of their own. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Seahawks at Cardinals
Since the retirement of Kurt Warner in 2009, the poor Arizona Cardinals have been through the desert on a quarterback with no name. I’m not even talking about a franchise quarterback. Arizona would kill for a solid week in-week out quarterback that can win games and protect the football.

There was a time in the NFL when several teams struggled to find a starting quarterback, but those days are mostly gone. Looking at the NFL right now, only three other teams are in the Cardinals shoes, and only one has been there for a longer period of time.

Of course, it’s the Cleveland Browns. Since Bernie Kosar faded away in the early 90’s, Cleveland has suffered through 1st round flops (Tim Couch, Brandon Weeden), one hit wonders (Derek Anderson), and veteran cast-offs (Trent Dilfer, Jeff Garcia, Vinny Testaverde). To this day, the Browns don’t have a long-term solution under center. (Well, at least it appears that way.)

The Cardinals are in the same boat. Casting retreads (Carson Palmer), 1st round flops (Matt Leinart), trade busts (Kevin Kolb), and any John, Jim or Joe with a decent arm. The Jacksonville Jaguars are there, too, wondering aimlessly since David Garrard turned to mush. Blaine Gabbert clearly isn’t the answer. The Vikings also boarded the sinking quarterback ship after Brett Favre’s corpse walked off the field for the final time in 2010. However, the Vikings recently signed Josh Freeman, who just two years ago was thought to be an up-and-coming franchise quarterback, so there’s at least a tiny glimmer of hope in Minnesota.

If not for the recent influx of young, talented quarterbacks, the four aforementioned teams would have more company in quarterback no man’s land. The Bills survived Ryan Fitzpatrick for more than half a decade and now have EJ Manuel. The Titans looked like a playoff team until the promising Jake Locker hurt his hip. The Dolphins may finally have a franchise quarterback again with Ryan Tannehill. The Chiefs and Andy Reid salvaged Alex Smith for at least a few seasons. Even the Raiders, yes the Raiders, may have something in the raw but supremely talented Terrelle Pryor. At the very least, Oakland has a solid starting quarterback every week who gives them a reasonable chance of competing and perhaps even winning. They haven’t been able to say that since Rich Gannon went down hill after the 2002 season.

My point is this; the Cardinals are a good football team with one gaping hole. A hole that has plagued them for years, a hole that, if filled, would elevate them and their underrated defense to NFC contender. Russell Wilson rescued the Seahawks. Who will rescue the Cardinals, and how long must they wait for him to arrive? SEAHAWKS If I were Charles Barkley; Seahawks -7

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