After three mediocre seasons the Cardinals went shopping to manufacture a contending team. They added QB Carson Palmer (4,274 passing yards, 24 TDs, 22 INTs), RB Rashard Mendenhall (687 rush yards, 8 TDs), safety Yeremiah Bell, LB Daryl Washington (11.5 sacks) and brought back former Cardinal LB Karlos Dansby (114 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 4 INTs) just to name some of their additions. Tyrann Mathieu also made an impact in his first NFL season. It all paid off eventually, as after a 3-4 start the team went on to win seven of their last nine to fall just short of the playoffs. They got unlucky in the NFC West where they were just one of three 10+ win teams. A crucial loss in Week 17 at home against San Francisco cost them a much better shot at the playoffs. The strength of this team, however, was the best rushing defense in the NFL at 84.4 yards per game. The passing defense was strong too. During that end of season winning streak they never allowed more than 25 points in a game. The offense got in trouble when its lack of balance was exposed, however. Palmer threw plenty of picks because the defense didn’t have to respect their dismal running game. Still, Larry Fitzgerald (82 rec, 954 yards, 10 TDs), and Michael Floyd (1,041 rec yards) comprised one of the best WR duos in the league.
The Cardinals added plenty in free agency, like blindside OT Jared Veldheer, WR Ted Ginn, and CB Antonio Cromartie. These moves beef up a bad offensive line, wide receiver depth, and secondary. RB Jonathan Dwyer was also signed to add to the running back competition. Dansby and a few others walked, but the improvements have kept the Cardinals in the playoff hunt for 2014. In the draft they picked up a balance of offensive and defensive talent but really built that secondary by taking Washington State safety Deone Bucannon in the first round. Later, they probably found their future replacement for Palmer in Virginia Tech QB Logan Thomas. Head coach Bruce Arians helped turn this team around in 2013 and wants to be taken seriously in the NFC West. The Cardinals open the season at home against the Chargers on Monday Night Football and in Week 3 face the 49ers at home. Later in the season, the toughest home games will be against Philly, Kansas City, and Seattle. In an absolutely stacked division the Cardinals won’t have an easy road to the playoffs at all. But they are a strong team; last season they most likely would’ve made it to the playoffs in any other division. Gold Coast Tickets doesn’t want you to miss out--get your Arizona Cardinals tickets from us today!