NFL Preview Series: Arizona Cardinals

Byron Dixon| BKD TV

The Arizona Cardinals were well on there way to having home field throughout the NFC Playoffs, that was util their QB Carson Palmer went down with a torn ACL and from there they never recovered. Not having Daryl Washington on the defense did not help either and going through the Seahawks, Rams, and 49ers twice a season is always tough. This season hopefully they can stay healthy and make a playoff run.

While We Were Away: The Cardinals signed one the best interior linemen in the NFL in Mike Iupati away from division foe San Francisco and bring back a team with a defense that has play-makers and ball hawking abilities. First-round pick D.J. Humphries is a candidate to start immediately at right tackle but will have to beat out incumbent Bobby Massie. Ted Larsen projects to start at center, and Jonathan Cooper, the 2013 No. 7 overall pick, is the right guard. The Cardinals lost a huge piece of their staff when defensive coordinator Todd Bowles left to become the coach of the Jets.

2015 Season Outlook: The Cardinals play in the toughest division in football and know that last season they started 9-1 when healthy and could of had home field if things stayed that stayed that way.This team has an emerging star in Michael Floyd, who is slowly becoming the team’s top wide-out. Larry Fitzgerald is a strong veteran presence with sure hands and still one of the league’s best paymakers and more effective stars. John Brown emerged as a star last season and should continue to make strides. The loss is that of corner-back Antonio Cromartie, who returned to the New York Jets in free agency. The unit still has corner Patrick Peterson as its star, though he struggled with health issues in 2014. Jerraud Powers is the other likely starter at corner-back. At free safety, the Cardinals are hoping Tyrann Mathieu can stay healthy after he dealt with a nagging thumb injury. Meanwhile, Tony Jefferson, Rashad Johnson (last season’s top tackler) and Deone Bucannon, a first-round pick in 2013, should all see time at safety with Bucannon also getting reps as a nickel linebacker.

2015 Record: 9-7

The Cardinals will be right back in the thick of things in a crowded NFC, and if healthy they have the tools to make a deep run beyond December. With Bruce Arians and his system in place and his QB healthy he has the ability to take his team further this season. The NFC West will be a fight but whoever wins that will be a contender and have the NFL on watch. Overall with an explosive offense and a young hard hitting defense they will be good if they keep this nucleus for years to come.

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