Monday, July 22, 2013

Bruuuuuuce: Arizona Cardinals Season Preview

2012 Record: 5-11

2012 Rankings

Total Offense: 32
Passing Offense: 28
Rushing Offense: 32
Scoring Offense: 31

Total Defense: 12
Passing Defense: 5
Rushing Defense: 28
Scoring Defense: 17


After the Kevin Kolb/John Skelton/Ryan Lindley failed miserably last year, the Cardinals traded for Carson Palmer. While Palmer doesn't have the biggest arm in the league, he is an accurate passer that for the first time since Kurt Warner gives the Cards someone who can actually get Larry Fitzgerald the ball. With Bruce Arians as head coach, the Cards will likely return to their wide-open passing game. Arizona has never been known as a running team, but the addition of Rashard Mendenhall gives them someone who can bounce it to the outside. The addition of Palmer turns one of the 5 worst passing offenses in the league into a viable threat to score with former first round pick Michael Floyd and the speedy Andre Roberts figuring to see the most time on the field.


The Cardinals defensive numbers were slightly skewed because their terrible offense allowed teams to take an early lead and simply milk the clock with the running game. They saw the second most rushing attempts against of any team last season. They brought back tackling machine Karlos Dansby after his brief stint with the Dolphins to help plug up the middle and provide a stopgap at inside linebacker while Daryl Washington serves a 4-game suspension. On paper, the Cards defense has playmakers with Calias Campbell and Darnell Dockett (two of the better 3-4 DEs in the league) up front, Dansby in the middle, safety Yeremiah Bell (one of the best tackling safeties in the league) and emerging shutdown corner Patrick Peterson.


The biggest question mark heading into the season is pass rushers. Bruce Arians' offense isn't going to overwhelm anyone, but Fitz is the best receiver Arians has had to work with and Palmer is a significant upgrade to the Cardinals offense under center. First round pick Jonathan Cooper should provide some stability up front.


It's only fitting that the Cardinals hire Bruce Arians and kick off my Springsteen-themed season previews this year. The Cardinals started last season 4-0 before the wheels fell off the wagon and they finished 1-11 after the calendar turned to October. They should be better this season, but this is still a brutally tough division. 6-10

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