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Sunday, September 1, 2013

Reaching High Hopes, Or Another Season Of Jokes? A Cardnials Preview

Guess what everybody its that time of year again.  Yep it's football season.  Time to see what a new season brings for your team.  Eveybody seems to be excited about their teams chances and its no different here in Arizona.
Training camp started late last week and with all of the new pieces the Cardinals have assembled in the off season the fans have very high expectations this year.  The expectations seem to be high every year, but since Kurt Warner left the Cardinals have continued to put together disappointing season after disappointing season.  The Cardinals have a new coach, QB, running back and guard that plan to put an end to those disappointing seasons.  The Cardinals have a new coach, quarterback, running back and guard that plan to put an end to those disappointing seasons.

During the off season the Cardinals hired Bruce Arians to be their next head coach.  At first I wasn't to thrilled with the move, but as time goes by I think the Cardinals made a great decision.  Arians is a proven winner.  What he did last year in Indy is just short of a miracle.  The move is also good because Arians wasn't a household name.  That means not as much pressure to win as there would have been if a high profile coach would have been hired.  The Cardinal's brought in Buddy Ryan and Dennis Green and the results were horrible.  To say the least "they were who we thought they were".  Then when the Cardinals started winning and made it to the Super Bowl they did with a little known guy named Ken Whisenhunt.  I don't think its a coincidence that a big name coach can't win here.

After the Cardinals hired Arians it wasn't long before they acquired Carson Palmer to be their next QB. This is good for many reasons.  First they know who the QB is going into camp and for a team like the Cardinals it gives the coaches a chance to focus on the offensive line.  Second Palmer was the best guy available.  Sure you could argue that Kevin Kolb is as good or even better than Palmer but the bottom line is Palmer has not let Arizona down and many fans were left with a sour taste in their mouth from Kolb overall performance with the Card's.  And finally Carson Palmer is a good quarterback.  He is good but not great and certainly has the ability to become better here in Az.  Palmer is a proven veteran that has won in the past and with a target like Larry Fitzgerald he has a promising future.  The problem is that he will set his own legacy with the Cardinals.  The offensive line will.
The Cardinals also added Rashard Mendenhall at running back.  Mendenhall who like Palmer has came to the Cardinals to try and prove himself as still a good running back in the NFL..  The addition of Mendenhall is a good one because he is fast and can give the Cardinals 60 to 70 yards a game. If they can throw like most people think they should be able to that's all the rushing game will need to contribute.  Now I'm not saying the offense is going to ne the best in the league but I think the Cardinals will not have to rely on just their defense to get them out of trouble.
The strong point of the Cardinals for the last few years has been their defense and this year should be no different.  They were a very good under rated unit last year.  They definitely will miss Safety Adrian Wilson but if rookie Tyrann Mathieu really is a changed man we will soon forget about trusty number 24.  Mathieu, who no longer wants to be called Honey Badger, is very talented and is in the right place to turn his life around and have an effective rookie season in the NFL.

The Cardinals may not make the playoffs but they will definitely be a much improved team from last years disaster.  As far as the playoffs go, I feel they will go as far as the O-line will take them.  If the line allows the running backs to average 85 yards it will open up the passing game.  If this happens and they can split the season series with the 49ers and Seahawks they will be in good position to make a push for the playoffs.

Season Prediction:

The Arizona Cardinals, under first year head coach Bruce Arians will finish the 2013 champaign 8-8.  They will reach the NFL playoffs.  They will lose on the road in a wildcard game.