Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians will not use final games to evaluate new talent
After losing to the Miami Dolphins last week and missing the playoffs, Coach Bruce Arians has decided to keep his starters playing and not using the opportunity to evaluate his newcomers and backups. Most teams headed into the final weeks of the season, tend to rest their starters so they can be ready for post-season play.
Arians made it clear to his team that the playoffs were not really an option at this point. “Just being real,” he said. “I wouldn’t expect anything other than disappointment, but are you going to sugarcoat it? 8-7-1 might get you in, but probably not.”
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While a playoff spot is still within reach for the Cardinals, they would need to win their remaining three games against the New Orleans Saints, Seattle Seahawks, and the Los Angeles Rams as well as certain teams winning and losing. Their entire season has been one long struggle mired with injuries and bad play decisions. Defensive lineman Frostee Rucker shared his disappointment with the media after the loss against the Dolphins.
"“It’s tough; you know, we scratch our heads a lot. When we look at the film, we’re a play away, an inch away at times,” “It’s frustrating, but the guys never backed down to the challenge and we continued to fight."
Throughout the 2016 season, the Cardinals had many opportunities to pull off last minute wins, but for a handful of reasons they failed. The Cardinals had previously excelled at pulling off last-minute wins.
Coach Bruce Arians is fighting to find a way to keep his team playing hard, despite not having a playoff spot with their name on it. Defensive lineman Calais Campbell will continue to play hard out of an obligation.
"“It’s better when you have something to play for like going to the playoffs and the Super Bowl and all that stuff, but in the end, we get to play football for a living. This is something I’ve dreamed about since I was a kid, so I’m going to continue to play football, the game I love, as best I can, and enjoy it.”"
The Cardinals defense will continue to fight to be the number one defense in the league and not start planning their vacations. Coach Bruce Arians and the front office will use the next few weeks evaluating the roster, to see who continues to fight hard and has the passion for the game. Several players will become free agents this offseason, leaving many futures hanging in the balance.
Having an offseason that included the Cardinals retaining every key player that reached the NFC Championship Game, many considered the Arizona Cardinals, one of the best teams in the league, not just in the NFC.