Eariler, I took a look at the offseason of the San Francisco 49ers. Today, it's time to review the Arizona Cardinals.
The Arizona Cardinals started last season at 1-6. Even with All-Pro WR Larry Fitzgereld, the Cards had very shaky QB play, coupled with major offensive line issues hurt the team. The poor play of the QBs would continue and the Cardinals kept switching between Kevin Kolb and John Skelton. The team still found a way to win games.
The Cardinals had a 7-2 record the rest of the way and finished 8-8. Great special teams (I hate Patrick Peterson) and solid defense allowed Arizona to sweep the Rams.
The Cardinals overachieved last season. There are many holes on this roster. QB is obviously a weak point, but the team can't give up on Kevin Kolb and eat his contract after one season. Pass protection is still a huge issue for them. Finally, many of the key defensive players are getting older.
A review of Arizona's moves to improve after the jump.
The Cardinals were on of the finalist in the Peyton Manning sweepstakes, but the Broncos ended up with his services. For now they will have to stick with Kevin Kolb and his concussion issues or John Skelton and his inexperience.
Arizona did not have much cap room to maneuver in free agency, but they still managed some solid signings. Adam Snyder is an upgrade for the O-line. William Gay has experience in the defense that Arizona plays and could end up starting opposite Patrick Peterson. Quentin Groves was a former second round pick with the Jaguars who has been largely disappointing, but in a rotation he still has value.
The biggest move for the Cards was obviously resigning Calais Campbell to a long term deal. Campbell remains one of the NFL's most underrated players. He is everything a team wants in a 5 technique defensive end and he is also one of the NFL's best kick blockers. Resigning him keeps him together with Darnell Docket and gives the Cardinals a very impressive defensive line.
Larry Fitzgerald wanted Michael Floyd to be a Cardinal and he got his wish. With the 13th pick Arizona selected the Notre Dame WR which upset many Rams' fans who wanted Michael Floyd at 14. Anquan Boldin was a great complement to Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd has similar physicality and might even be better.
They got great value with their 3rd in 4th round picks with CB Jamell Flemming and Bobbie Massie, who should start at RT. 5th round pick Senio Kelemete also has a chance to start on the Cardinals' offensive line.
The Cardinals did not make many moves in FA, but they had a very solid draft. Floyd, Flemming and Massie will be instant contributers. The defense is still very good and the young players (Patrick Peterson, Sam Acho and Dan Williams) should only improve.
I see the Cardinals going 7-9. This team has talent, but the struggles at offensive line and QB will continue. Chris Long's favorite buddy, Levi Brown, is still playing for them and they could have two rookies starting. With all the good pass rushers in the NFC West (Aldon Smith, Justin Smith, Chris Long, Robert Quinn, and Chris Clemons) that will be a huge weak point in division games.