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NFL Preview 2013: Arizona Cardinals

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A look at last season, training camp, and the upcoming 2013 season for the Cardinals.

NFL Preview 2013: Arizona Cardinals

In this article…

The NFL Season is getting closer and closer. The Baltimore Ravens took home the Super Bowl last year, but this next season will surely come with plenty of surprises. It's time to get ready for the start of the year by taking a look at all 32 teams to gauge where they are, starting with the worst and ending with the defending Super Bowl champions. It's the CHARGED.fm 2013 NFL Preview, and today we're previewing the Arizona Cardinals.

Last Season

To quote the great Charles Dickens, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." In that order. The Cardinals started out last season 4-0, upsetting big names like the Patriots and Seahawks and leading many to think they were on their way to a division win. After quarterback Kevin Kolb got hurt, things mostly fell apart for Arizona. If anyone had doubts that QB was the most important position on the field, take a look at last season. Kolb was decent at best before his injury. He did just enough to win football games. John Skelton took over following that injury and wouldn't win a single start, eventually losing his spot to Ryan Lindley. Again, Lindley would prove to be no better than the previous two, so they brought in Brian Hoyer. Who, once again, wouldn't do them any good. I would be surprised if any of these quarterbacks returned. 

Offense relies a lot on the QB. That's why wide receiver Andre Roberts wasn't able to be that productive. Even Larry Fitzgerald, who's always found a way to put up numbers regardless of the QB's ability, saw his numbers drop to lows he hasn't seen since his rookie season. It makes one wonder what their potential could have been with the right man under center. Roberts did put up career highs though with 759 yards and 5 TD's in his third season, one bright spot on the Cardinals offense all year.

The Cardinals running game was the league's worst last year. Beanie Wells was never quite up to par as his draft day hype, and he was almost always hurt. He basically left the team saying he was "auditioning for 31 other teams." Then there was LaRod Stephens-Howling, who was the best the Cardinals had to offer in the backfield all season (which isn't saying too much). He hasn't heard back from the team, who's probably letting him slip into free agency. Other than that, both Whisenhunt and GM Graves are gone. Basically, the Cardinals offense is seriously lacking in everything but receivers. If the offense had been any better, it could have shouldered some of the load put on a defense full of playmakers like Patrick Peterson and Daryl Washington.         

Season Highlights

Offseason

The Cardinals have a lot to work on if they want to be a competitor this year. 

Veteran Additions: QB Carson Palmer, QB Drew Stanton, RB Rashard Mendenhall, G Chilo Rachal, DE Frostee Rucker, DE Matt Shaughnessy, DE/OLB Quentin Groves, ILB Karlos Dansby, ILB Jasper Brinkley, CB Antoine Cason, CB Javier Arenas, CB Jerraud Powers, S Yeremiah Bell. 

Draft Picks: G Jonathan Cooper, ILB Kevin Minter, S Tyrann Mathieu, DE/OLB Alex Okafor, G Earl Watford, RB Stepfan Taylor, WR Ryan Swope, RB Andre Ellington. 

Key Losses: QB Kevin Kolb, QB John Skelton, QB Brian Hoyer, RB Chris Wells, RB LadRod Stephens-Howling, FB Anthony Sherman, WR Early Doucet, G Adam Snyder, DE/DT Nick Eason, ILB Paris Lenon, ILB Stewart Bradley, CB Greg Toler, CB William Gay, CB Michael Adams, S Adrian Wilson, S Kerry Rhodes, S James Sanders. 

Fitzgerald is probably a happy man right now. You see all those QB's being let go? The man is coming off his worst season of his career. He will surely be happier with Carson Palmer, who hails from the Raiders. He's not the QB he used to be, but he's far more competent than Skelton, Lindley, or Kolb. Reguardless of his decline over the past couple of years, he'll be able to get the ball to Fitzgerald, and that's all he really needs. Palmer also has other weapons to throw to. Michael Floyd, who was taken in the first round a year ago, had some great moments in his rookie campaign including the 14-catch, 213-yard stretch in his last two games. In addition, Roberts had that improved season behind Fitzgerald.. 

Best offseason move? Getting OG Adam Snyder of the 49ers. The Cardinals desperately needed some help on the offensive line, and although Adam Snyder isn't a household name, he's going to help them get the job done and most likely start as right guard. 

2013 Season Prediction

The Cardinals will no doubt be a more competitive team than they were in 2012. Being that they actually have a competent quarterback, we should see a lot more movement and drive in their offense. Unfortunately, I don't think they're quite good enough to pose an actual threat toward the 49'ers or the Seahawks. They have a decently brutal schedule ahead of them. 

They will have a solid offensive line this year. Jonathan Cooper will add a lot to this unit. If he can open up holes for their running game, we could see a lot of extended drives for Arizona this year. 

Cooper will probably have a huge impact this year and even later on down the road. It's possible he could make it to the pro-bowl. With his potential, he'll be a great player for this franchise for years to come. New general manager Steve Keim and coach Bruce Arians may have the biggest impact this year on the team though. Both are veterans of the sport and proven leaders, which they'll need if Carson Palmer is going to be shaped into the QB this team needs. 

Playoffs? Doubtful. I think it would be too much to expect Arians to take this team to the playoffs in such a tough division. I like the makeup of this team, but I don't think they'll be a playoff team for another 2 season. Then again, who knows with all these new players and a new coach. 

This season should be far more even for them, that's for sure. After banging out four wins early last season then sort of flopping for the rest, we should see a team that's far more balanced, winning at least 6 or 7 this year. I'd give their season a 6-10 record. Hell, maybe 7-9 even. 

Let CHARGED.fm get you the best Arizona Cardinal tickets this year! 


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