The Arizona Cardinals. Once the joke of the NFL, who were consistently rebuilding have become a stable franchise since Coach Ken Whisenhunt took over in 2007. Whisenhunt has brought stability and the franchises first Super Bowl appearance (2008). However since Kurt Warner retired after the 2009 season, the QB position has been in flux and the Cardinals could be wasting the talents of one of the greatest WR of all time in Larry Fitzgerald.
Whisenhunt has wanted to build a strong running game around Beanie Wells for the last couple of years and Wells has shown flashes of brilliance but also trouble staying healthy. Wells has the ability to rush for 1,200 yards a season and score 10 TDs but there is no consistency and that comes back to the passing game and the QB.
The Cards gave up a kings ransom for Kevin Kolb beofre the 2011 season trading a second round draft pick and CB Domenique Rogers-Cromartie. Kolb was a bust in year 1. He struggled to stay healthy and sadly the Cardinals did not win under Kolb like they did with John Skelton.
Skelton was a 5th round draft pick in 2010 who led the Cardinals to a 5-2 record while starting in 2011. Keep in mind Skelton’s threw 11 TDS to 14 Ints in that span. Is Skelton the real deal or is he just another case of the back up QB is the most popular guy in town?
The defense is run by former Steelers assistant Ray Horton and led by superstar CB Patrick Peterson. Peterson was the highest rated CB in the 2011 draft and made the pro bowl as a rookie. Peterson had four punt returns for TDs in 2012 and is looking to become the next great CB in the NFL. Horton brings that pass rush mentality with his defense. Darnell Docket, Nick Eason, Richard Marshal, Adrian Wilson and company will be attacking QBs. Horton does a nice job of attacking based on rules and the principles of his system. Look for the Cardinals to have a top ten defense and for Horton to be a head coach by 2014.
How do the Cardinals effect the Ravens: The Ravens defeated the Cardinals in 2011 after overcoming a 21 point deficit to win 30-27. The Cardinals will play the New England Patriots in week 2 and Ravens will hope that the Cardinals aggressive defense can beat up on Tom Brady and the Patriots offense. Hopefully the Cards offense can beat up on the Patriots young defense.
Overall: The Cardinals need to solve their QB dilemma. Is Kolb their guy? Is Skelton for real? Personally I think they both are back up QBs who look better then they are because of their surrounding cast. I expect both QBs to lose big games for them this year and the Cardinals will finish 7-9.