Arizona Cardinals: Top 5 Reasons to believe in 2015


The Arizona Cardinals had a tough ending to 2014 but it was rough all-around with missing pieces to their Super Bowl puzzle

You could go around to almost every position on the Arizona Cardinals roster and find something that they could improve upon to give themselves a better chance to win the NFC West and go deeper in the playoffs.  Much of that improvement will come from returing injured players.  Here are the top five reasons to believe the Cards will be even better in 2015.

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5. The running game

It will improve.  Andre Ellington, who spent all season nursing a foot injury then missing the rest of the season after a sports hernia at the end of November, should be back to full speed after an off-season of rest.  Now, don’t expect the Cardinals to allow Ellington to be the focus back again though.  He will be the top guy but expect the Cardinals to find #1A.

4. Continuity on defense

The defense took a big hit losing Todd Bowles.  He kept the unit together playing some of the best defense for the first three months of the season.  They wore down after there just became too many losses in personnel to overcome.  Then Bowles left to become the head coach of the New York Jets.  Expect this week for the Cardinals to name current outside linebackers coach James Bettcher as the new defensive coordinator.  Keeping it in-house should allow for things to continue on the right path.

3. Dave Zastudil

The Cardinals were able to get away with Drew Butler for awhile but as the season progressed it was clear they missed Zasty.  That was no more evident than in the Wild-Card loss to the Carolina Panthers.  Butler was downright brutal.  He couldn’t punt the ball 20 yards.  Maybe it was the moment that got him riled up but he is no Dave Zastudil.  It will be nice to have him back in 2015.

2. The return of Larry Fitzgerald

It honestly sounds like these two sides are going to get something done to keep Fitz in town.  Reports are that Fitz is willing to restructure his contract.  The Cards want him here for the rest of his career.  I don’t know what that restructured contract looks like but I imagine we are going to hear a lot more in the coming weeks.

1. The return of Carson Palmer

They say it is a quarterback-driven league.  The Cardinals found that out the hard way in November, December, and the playoffs in January.  Palmer, who only played in six games in 2014, is expected back at full strength come training camp time.  Reports on him are that he is ahead of schedule.  Also important is the return of his backup Drew Stanton.  Between the two of them they went 11-3 this season.