With a whole new group of players stepping onto the practice field for the Arizona Cardinals, it would be perfectly realistic to expect some bumps in the relationships and development of some players. However, that doesn’t appear to be the case for the Cardinals.
Carson Palmer, Rashard Mendenhall, Karlos Dansby, Jasper Brinkley, Jerraud Powers, Kevin Minter, Tyrann Mathieu, Alex Okafor, Yeremiah Bell, Jonathan Cooper and Stepfan Taylor are just a handful of the players Arizona’s front office has picked up over the course of the offseason. The Cardinals have wasted no time getting started and developing chemistry, and things are going well so far.
According to Kent Somers of azcentral.com, new (surprise) head coach Bruce Arians said, “We got so much done, especially in situational drills. “Two-minute drills. Red zone session today. A third-down session on Tuesday. The kicking game is leaps and bounds ahead of where I thought it would be. We worked on kicking off after a safety today. We’re so far ahead.”
Arians is confident in his team, which is what Cardinals fans want to see. Arians knows what his team needs to do, and he’s making sure the Cardinals are prepared for lots of different situations. Larry Fitzgerald, who wasn’t too happy with how the 2012 season went down, has a new signal-caller to catch passes from in Palmer, and Andre Roberts, who caught 64 passes for 759 yards and hauled in five touchdowns, will also benefit from Palmer.
Fitzgerald, who is ‘thrilled’ to have Palmer in the desert, is poised for a breakout year. The two appear to be getting along just fine, and that is always good. Palmer, who ranked 16th in the NFL in passer rating in 2012, will have fun throwing to Fitzgerald, Roberts and Ryan Swope, which will definitely help the team.
There are some question marks across the board, but the Cardinals appear to be fine at all positions. Arians has been completely satisfied with the performance of the rookies, notably Jonathan Cooper. The offensive line, which has been improved with the additions of Cooper and Earl Watford, has the potential to be very good. If Max Starks signs with the Cardinals, Arizona could start Bobby Massie, Levi Brown, Cooper and Starks, which would make for a great offensive line. The offensive line was a huge problem in 2012, but general manager Steve Keim addressed it.
Even the middle linebacker position appears to be fine, as Keim went out and added some great linebackers. Jasper Brinkley and Karlos Dansby, two underrated players, combined for 233 tackles in 2012, and the two could jump in immediately with the Cardinals likely to run a 3-4 defense. Daryl Washington will eventually work his way into the starting lineup, which will benefit the Cardinals against the pass and against the run. With second-round draft pick Kevin Minter threatening for playing time, the Cardinals are set.
When the Cardinals step onto the field in Week 1 against the St. Louis Rams, it will mark a new era in the desert. While Palmer is 33 years old, he has the potential to take the Cardinals far as soon as this year. The Cardinals entered this offseason with a lengthy to-do list, but Keim quietly signed an abundance of underrated players. Cardinals fans couldn’t have hoped for better things to happen this offseason, and the result should be a very successful season and future.
As we know from watching the Baltimore Ravens win Super Bowl XLVII and watching the San Francisco Giants win two World Series titles, chemistry is a key asset in sports. When a team brings in impactful players at almost every position (leading to a lot of position battles), chemistry is hard to develop. However, it doesn’t look like it’s a problem in Arizona.
In other words, Cardinals fans have multiple reasons to think positively about the upcoming season.