Don’t count out the Arizona Cardinals just yet. After a disappointing 7-8-1 season in 2016, the Cardinals are back to being one of the most anonymous teams in football on a national level. However, the foundation is still there for wild card contention. Offensively, Arizona fell off a cliff last season. Climbing back up is the biggest roadblock to contention. Quarterback Carson Palmer is 37 years old and coming off a down year. He had a below-average -7.8 percent DVOA, tossed 28 interceptable passes, per Cian Fahey’s charting, and lost ground in virtually every stat. Given Palmer’s age and the fact that he’s injury-prone, this felt like a warning sign. The thing is, even in a bad season, Palmer threw for over 4,200 yards and was generally competent. That feels like a low bar, but teams have won with worse. Think of what the Jacksonville Jaguars could do with a quarterback of that caliber. All the Cardinals need is some upward regression on his part and they could be good to go. The problem is the receiving corps. Head coach Bruce Arians said recently there were only two NFL-caliber receivers on the team, and it’s hard to say he was wrong. Larry Fitzgerald is getting up there age-wise, but he led the league in receptions last season and had 1,023 receiving yards. He won’t be the problem. But when you get past Fitzgerald, things go downhill fast.
Cardinals’ championship window isn’t quite closed
Sportsnaut | Aug 19