What’s the story?
The Cardinals are starting to show some signs of life again. They hired Bruce Arians on the cusp of his Coach of the Year performance as an interim head coach with the Colts and brought in Carson Palmer to resolve their woes at quarterback. Cardinals fans may want to get more excited about the former than they do the latter, but either way, it’s good to see the Cardinals making their way back into contention again.
Leader and commander:
Bruce Arians, who, as mentioned above, earned Coach of the Year status with his outstanding job of coaching the Indianapolis Colts while Chuck Pagano underwent treatment for cancer. This isn’t BA’s first trip to the rodeo – he’s been coaching in the NFL, off and on, since 1989 – but it is his first head coaching job. Many believe he should have been hired as a head coach years ago, so it’ll be great to see what he does with this Cardinals team now that he is leading the charge.
New kid on the block:
Carson Palmer, of Bengals fame and Raiders semi-bust. Having Palmer behind center is a definite step up from the Cardinals other quarterback options, but he will need to return the Carson Palmer of days gone by to lead this team to a winning record.
Last year was…
…a fast start and a painfully slow finish. After winning their first 4 games, the Cardinals lost 11 of their next 12 to finish the season at 5-11. The only thing I remember from their 2012 season was that gauge-your-eyes-out-in-self-preservation Week 13 game against the Jets, which they lost, but really, both teams should have lost due to Crimes Against Football.
Any improvement would be a gain over the train wreck that was 2012, and the Cardinals look like they could make several. However, no matter how many advances are made, it might not be enough to contend with the NFC West, which has literally gone from worst to first as a division over the past few years. The Rams, Seahawks, and Niners have all had semi-recent head coaching changes and are all over the adjustment stage and moving onto the prospering stage. The Cardinals have the potential to emulate the same story as their fellow NFC West rivals. But for now they are still back at the start line, adjusting to new leadership, which is why they are currently ranked 26th in the preseason power rankings.