The negativity that began in week one of the regular season has continued throughout the 2017 campaign for the Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals were feeling pretty darn good this past summer. There were promising additions made to the roster. Unlike some other teams, the Cardinals had managed to keep all of their important players healthy.
And then the regular season began. A 35-23 opening-day loss to the Detroit Lions was only part of the bad news. Compounding the defeat was an injury to the one member of the squad they could least afford to lose.
David Johnson, the Cards’ star running back, had to be placed on injured reserve after dislocating his wrist. Gone was the back who had accounted for over 2,100 yards from scrimmage and 20 touchdowns in 2016. In hindsight, any hopes of Arizona making the playoffs were probably squashed that day.
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They attempted to persevere. General manager Steve Keim acquired future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson in October, seemingly injecting some life into the Cardinals. That optimism evaporated later on in the month however, when quarterback Carson Palmer suffered a broken arm against the Los Angeles Rams.
Johnson and Palmer weren’t the only Cards sidelined. Outside linebacker Markus Golden, who had broken out with twelve and a half sacks in ’16, tore his ACL in week four. Ascending left tackle D.J. Humphries has played in just five contests this year.
The on-field performance of some have also contributed to Arizona’s woes in ’17.
John Brown’s demise began last season when he was diagnosed with a sickle-cell disorder. It’s been mostly downhill ever since. “Smokey” has been hurt more often than not, and his days in the desert may now be numbered.
Defensive end Josh Mauro was supposed to help pick up the slack for the departed Calais Campbell. In his fourth year now with the Cardinals, the Stanford University product has been mediocre at best. 2016 first-round draft pick Robert Nkemdiche was also expected to chip in, but has added little.
Phil Dawson was signed to help bring stability to a pathetic special teams unit. But instead of improving things, the veteran placekicker has only added to the misery. If the Cards feel that they’ll be able to contend in ’18, they’d be smart to make sure Dawson is not brought back.
A couple of cornerbacks who just last season were being looked at to start opposite Patrick Peterson have become an afterthought. Justin Bethel started the current campaign at the post and, not surprisingly, failed miserably. Brandon Williams, who only played the position for one year in college, has been a major bust.
There are four games left to be played in this miserable season. NFL franchises, for the most part, refuse to use injuries as as excuse. When you lose the quality players that Arizona did this season however, it’s certainly hard not to.