Michael Silver thinks so. His editorial comes off mostly as a fluff piece, and it’s important not to get too excited about a player over one of those, but there’s one thing to consider: Maybe Denny Green was just a terrible coach. This passage in particular makes it seem as if there’s some hope for a resurgence of sorts now that Green’s gone:
Green’s system didn’t help, either: Effective as a spread offense the previous year, the Cardinals began favoring a two-tight-end formation that brought more defenders into the box to stop James. An injury to Larry Fitzgerald, one of the team’s two stud wideouts (along with the brilliant Anquan Boldin), didn’t help, either.
“Teams knew what was coming,” James said. “Opponents were calling out plays before we ran them. (Chicago Bears middle linebacker) Brian Urlacher, when we played them, told me, ‘Dude, I feel bad for you. They’re not giving you a chance.'”
With all the talk over the offseason about how James has “lost his burst” (Matt Pallister recently called him “merely an average back”), maybe we all could use a reminder that just the season before, he had over 1800 total yards and 14 scores. If he had remained in Indy (and Joseph Addai didn’t exist), there’s little reason to think he wouldn’t have had a comparable season in 2006. The setting changed, not the player. With a new coach in the desert, perhaps the setting has changed again, for the better this time.