Arizona Cardinals: Focus on who’s here not who could’ve helped

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Jan 3, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Ben Tate (34) carries the ball as Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker C.J. Mosley (57) tackles in the second quarter during the 2014 AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Here are the guys that didn’t play on Saturday and missed a considerable amount of time this season and a big reason for the downfall of the Cardinals.  Remember these guys?

Carson Palmer.  Dave Zastudil.  Darnell Dockett.  Andre Ellington.  Drew Stanton.  John Abraham.  Daryl Washington. Troy Niklas.  Ed Stinson.  Jonathan Cooper.

We all know the story on Palmer.  He went 6-0 in his starts this season.  He was clearly a different quarterback this season than he was even in his second-half of last season when he led the Cardinals to a 7-2 finish after a 3-3 start.  He is due back in training camp though.

Zastudil’s absence as punter was felt no greater than it was on Saturday.  The Cardinals got by with Drew Butler for the regular season but when field position mattered the most it became one of the biggest disappointments against the Panthers.

Dockett’s season was over before it started.  injured in August in training camp he never had a chance.  He should make a full recovery and be back in training camp this July.

Ellington by all accounts wasn’t having a great season to begin with before being ruled out for the season in late November.  However having his flexibility receiving and carrying the ball missing from the offense was one of the more glaring holes seen from space.  Kerwynn Williams had his moments and so did Stepfan Taylor but after his 100 yard game Williams went missing and Taylor lost his versatility.

Abraham.  After registering 11.5 sacks in 2013, Abraham’s absence was also missed, especially early on and then again Saturday in Carolina.  No pass rush.

Stinson.  Stinson really came on in the middle part of the season.  He almost single-handily stopped the Dallas Cowboys from running away from the Cardinals with crucial fourth-quarter plays.  The he hurt his toe and was in and out of the lineup.  He certainly could have helped on Saturday as could have Cooper.  Cooper started two games but both games were the best rushing games of the season for the Cardinals.

Niklas.  Niklas wasn’t so much a huge part in the passing game as a tight end as he was in the rushing game.  A good blocker who played in and out of injuries all season long before hitting injured reserve.

Then there is Washington.  He’s a loaded topic that I’m not getting into here but the fact is on the field he is great and he was clearly missed.  I don’t want him back though.  He’s too much of a liability off the field.  I hope he gets his life straight and wish him the best but he absolutely destroyed the Cardinals by his actions.

Instead of spending all this time asking for the Cardinals to pick up all these subpar players let’s focus now on those good players the Cardinals will be due to get back in training camp and make another Super Bowl run in 2015.