2013 Record: 10-6
These aren’t your older brother’s Arizona Cardinals. The 2012 Cardinals could not have been more inept offensively. Just three years earlier Kurt Warner was dishing it out to Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, and Steve Breaston with a strong tandem of Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower in the backfield. Fitzgerald is still there but has been hopelessly up against the world the last couple years. Fitzgerald had a really slow season by his standards and had very, very few big plays. It’s hard to create big plays when your quarterbacks (John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, Ryan Lindley, and Brian Hoyer) don’t throw deep well. But they acquired Carson Palmer from Oakland in an absolute desperation move, and Fitzgerald and big #2 receiver Michael Floyd are happy about that. 2012’s worst rushing offense was also fixed by bringing in Rashard Mendenhall on the cheap, hoping he can stay healthy to resemble the back he was a few years ago. None of LaRod Stephens-Howling, Beanie Wells, William Powell, or Ryan Williams could even muster 3.8 yards per carry. But the biggest problem with the Cardinals is the offensive line that allowed a league-leading 58 sacks last year. They drafted UNC’s Jonathan Cooper in the first round but didn’t take another O-lineman until their fifth pick. Palmer has certainly worked with bad offensive lines before, but obviously he’d be better with a good line.
Defensively, the Cardinals were pretty good last year and should be again this year. New Coach Bruce Arians has proven he can work with wounded units. But even the Cardinals forced a healthy 36 turnovers last year. The Cardinals signed Yeremiah Bell to replace Adrian Wilson at safety. A solid move to cut losses in addition to drafting Tyrann Mathieu in a controversial move. But the real problem with the Cardinals defense is defending the run and they’ll struggle there again. The only real strength on the defensive line is veteran Darnell Dockett. Daryl Washington has developed into a strong middle linebacker, but there are still holes around him in terms of talent and depth. LSU’s Kevin Minter and Texas’ Alex Okafor, both draft picks this year, will beef up the run defense. But it’s still a problem and Arians has his work cut out for him. If the Cardinals’ QB situation is right, they could reach .500 or better this year. Don’t miss out on the football from the desert this fall! Gold Coast Tickets has the best selection for Arizona Cardinals tickets.