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Cards Mailbag: Chiefs edition -- Part 1

Welcome to #CardsMailbag, a weekly installment that allows you to ask me questions about the Arizona Cardinals throughout the week via Twitter @joshweinfuss. I'll answer them every weekend during the season. Make sure to use the hashtag #CardsMailbag.

@joshweinfuss I'd agree that it's sure getting to the point where all of Arizona's injuries are going to be too much to overcome. The next-man-up mentality can only be stretched so thin. As for fixing the offense? The only instant fix could be getting Larry Fitzgerald back from injury but by losing Andre Ellington this week, his return could be neutralized because the Cardinals' running game won't be able to produce enough to keep the Chiefs' defense honest. At this point, rest may be the only fix.

@joshweinfuss As of today, I'm not sure the Cardinals will re-sign Sam Acho. He only made $1.43 million this season, the final year of his rookie contract, but he's not as valuable as Antonio Cromartie. He's averaging 34.8 snaps per game and has 39 tackles with one interception. As far as an outside linebacker goes, I think finding one who can fill Acho's role is easier than replacing Cromartie, who's making $3.5 million this year. So much of what the defense does relies on Patrick Peterson and Cromaratie locking down their receivers that I can see the Cardinals opening their checkbook for Cromartie for a salary worth about $5.5 million, but not more than that.

@joshweinfuss After committing so much money to Carson Palmer, I don't see them moving on from him just yet. After he rehabs from his ACL injury, the Cardinals will figure out if he's capable of returning to his starting role. But they'll have a good idea of that sometime this summer. For now, he's the plan. But as for Thomas, the only way he becomes ready to play in the NFL is if he gets snaps, especially with how difficult the Cardinals' offense is. He won't learn the intricacies of it by watching film and taking notes. But in order to get Thomas the necessary snaps, the Cardinals would have to give him reps over Drew Stanton this offseason. That'll be a story line to follow because Stanton is the short-term answer while Thomas is Arizona's long-term solution -- for now, at least. It's highly unlikely that Palmer will be ready by the start of OTAs in the spring, so who'll enter as the starting quarterback? My guess is Stanton but Thomas will get plenty of opportunities and could grow into the starter by 2016. When it comes to the draft, the Cardinals will always be looking out for talent and if the right quarterback is available, they'll take him and figure it out later.

@joshweinfuss Absolutely. Every team has a breaking point -- look at the Falcons last year -- and the Cardinals may have hit it. Teams aren't built to survive without a starting quarterback, a starting receiver and, now, a starting running back. The Cardinals are fortunate from the standpoint that they built such a cushion early in the season and they need a win Sunday to stay in the playoff picture and two to likely secure a postseason berth. But if they keep on faltering down the stretch and don't make the playoffs, the sole reason will be that injuries decimated this team to the point of no return.

@joshweinfuss I think it's on both. Stanton hasn't played very good lately even though his completion percentage is up during his last three starts compared to his first three, as are his yards per attempt. His sacks are down but his interceptions are up. He could improve his performance quite easily by having better ball placement. If he were to put more passes in places the receivers could come down with them, more third downs are converted and the offense keeps rolling. But the offensive line hasn't helped the running game as much as it did early in the season. That, however, could be a product of an ineffective passing game lately -- defenses know the passing game isn't a threat, so they stack the box and take away the run.