Arizona Cardinals: The positives of the 2017 campaign
Despite what’s shaping up to be another losing season, the 2017 Arizona Cardinals have had more than their share of positives
It’s hard to deny that 2017 has been a depressing year for the Arizona Cardinals. With a postseason berth no more than a pipedream at this point, there’s very little to be happy about. Nevertheless, the Cards’ season hasn’t been a total loss.
One of the bright spots has been Budda Baker, who’s been productive at both safety and as a special teams performer. In fact, the rookie has a legitimate shot of being the NFC’s special teams representative in the upcoming Pro Bowl. Steve Keim has missed on quite a few draft picks over the last couple of years, but the GM certainly hit on Baker.
Bruce Arians has neglected to throw to the tight end very much since the head coach has been running Arizona’s offense. But a 22-year old youngster named Ricky Seals-Jones is trying his darndest to change all that. The undrafted free agent rookie has proven to be an exciting weapon, registering three touchdowns over the last three weeks.
Inside linebacker Josh Bynes has taken full advantage of Deone Bucannon’s missed playing time. Since “Buc’s” been out the last couple of weeks, the first-year Cardinal has been making plays all over the field. With Karlos Dansby most likely nearing the end of an excellent career, Cards’ management would be smart to re-sign Bynes for depth purposes.
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The Carolina Panthers did Arizona a huge solid by releasing punter Andy Lee in early September. Keim for some odd reason appeared satisfied with some terrible play at the position for way too long. Lee and Baker have been standouts on yet another horrible special teams unit.
Tramon Williams is the best number-two cornerback the club has had since Antonio Cromartie in 2014. Although he’s 34 years old, a one-year extension for the hard-playing veteran may be a good idea. Keim desperately needs to add a youthful corner or two in the offseason, but there’s room for Williams also.
The Cardinals’ under-the-radar signing of center Max Tuerk in November could eventually bear fruit. The rookie was plucked off of the Los Angeles Chargers’ practice squad, two months after he served a four-game suspension for PEDs. If Tuerk is able to move forward without the aid of supplements, the Cards may have acquired a talented, young offensive lineman for basically nothing.
It’s obvious that 2017 wasn’t a complete disaster for Arizona. That being said, the front office has quite a bit of work to do if the team is planning on a playoff return any time soon. But some positive thinking, along with some more positive additions to the locker room, can go a long way.