The Arizona Cardinals started off with a hot 4-0 start last season with Kevin Kolb under center, but quickly fizzled thanks to a myriad of injuries and horrible quarterback play once he got hurt. Needless to say, after what we saw last year, no one should be shocked that the Cards’ face 125/1 odds to win this year’s Super Bowl.
But that doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy come 2014.
Where Kolb and the other members of Arizona’s musical chairs group at the quarterback position failed last year, Carson Palmer could succeed. The Cardinals traded for Palmer, who was surprisingly effective with a bad Oakland Raiders team a year ago. After putting up over 4,000 yards passing and 22 touchdowns with a weak offense, experts are wondering what Palmer is capable of with a star wide receiver like Larry Fitzgerald at his disposal.
Palmer’s presence isn’t the same as it was when Kurt Warner was in AZ, but it’s not all that far away from it, either. Palmer could easily face-plant and help the Cardinals to a #1 pick next year, but if he can stay on his feet, he could also see a bit of a career renaissance.
It’s not all about Palmer, though, as the Cardinals are hoping their once atrocious offensive line can keep improving, while they’ll also need consistency out of new running back Rashard Mendenhall. Mendenhall is fresh off of a terrible year after he returned from an acl tear, but there is hope he can revive his career with head coach Bruce Arians, who he worked with in Pittsburgh.
Mendenhall gets a little help with the addition of right tackle Eric Winston, making Arizona’s o-line slightly less of a question mark.
On the other side of the ball, the Cardinals already aggressive defense only got better by signing pass-rushing specialist Jonathan Abraham. The only question is if Abraham, a guy who spent his entire career with his hand in the dirt, can transition to the outside in Arizona’s 3-4 scheme.
All of these changes could easily just mean a measly 3-4 game increase from last season, but enough moves have been made to also make the Cardinals a very interesting Super Bowl sleeper if all goes well.