Sep 15, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; (left to right) Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim, president Michael Bidwill and head coach Bruce Arians celebrate after beating the Detroit Lions 25-21 at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Cardinals: The Off-Season is the Best Time of Year for Football Junkies

Now that the NFL is officially in the so-called off-season. It is now time to focus our attention to the soon to come free agent market and of course the soon to come NFL draft for the Arizona Cardinals. Which so happens to be my favorite time of the year.

Yes I know what your thinking. “What? How can this be your favorite time of the year? There is no football being played. What about the NFL regular season starting in early September? Do you not like watching what plays out during the regular season for the Cardinals?”

Well ok, yes do not misunderstand me, I absolutely love the football season and watching my favorite team perform on the field. I enjoy seeing what transpires on the field and seeing if the pieces put together (by upper management) during the prior off-season will put the Redbirds over the top. Yes there is absolutely nothing more enjoyable than watching my favorite team get the W week to week. As far as I am concerned, there is and was no better satisfaction than seeing the Cardinals improving week to week last season. As we all witnessed, by the end of the year the Redbirds were one of the best teams in the NFL and could beat anyone on any given Sunday. We all witnessed this in the week 16 win in Seattle.

However, over the years I have become a huge fan of following the Cardinals during the off-season and even pretending to be the GM. Pretending I am Steve Keim. Pretending that I am in charge of improving the current roster and diagnosing team needs that will improve upon a 10-6 season that will put us over on top of the NFC West for the upcoming season. Which seems like a monumental task after witnessing what transpired during last Sundays Super Bowl.

For us die-hard football fans, this is the time of year we get to scour the free agent market and analyze college prospects for the upcoming NFL Draft. We get to closely monitor the free agent market and the college prospects in anticipation for the upcoming NFL Draft for those hidden gems that inevitably will put our favorite team over the top.

Yes indeed, for football nerds like myself this is the time of year that really gets us excited and gets our imaginations revved up. For us NFL junkies this is the time of year we truly start imagining we are the GM of our favorite team, even if it is just in our dreams.

So what are the Cardinals biggest team needs to compete for the NFC W(B)est? Is it more help up front on the offensive line? Is it a speedy wide receiver to complement Fitzgerald and Floyd, to take the top off the defense? Do we need that gifted pass rusher coming off the edge? How about a young QB to mold for the next couple years while Carson leads us? Or is it a top-tier tight end that seems to be the trend these days? How about a safety that can actually cover these top-tier tight ends? Will the upper management make an assertive effort to keep soon to be free agents such as Karlos Dansby, Frosty Rucker and Rashard Mendenhall?

These are all questions that us passionate fans get to ponder while we slowly progress through the off-season. Starting with the NFL Scouting Combine February 22-25, free agency In early march and the NFL Draft in early May.  For those recreational fans, the off-season is rather quiet and boring. But for us football junkies, we all know this is the time of year that makes or breaks a franchise and this is exactly what gets our juices flowing.  Will Steve Keim’s second season as the general be as stellar as his first? Will he continue his aggressive ways towards free agency? Will he once again (seemingly) make all the right moves in the NFL draft?  Well we will all soon get to find out in the coming weeks and months to come.

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