As the Arizona Cardinals get set to embark on a new era, they’ll find no easy pickings in the now ultra-competitive NFC West
2018 promises to be a year of change for the Arizona Cardinals. A new head coach will be making his way to the desert, a new starting quarterback will be under center. The retirements of Bruce Arians and Carson Palmer have created disarray within the organization, at least for the time being.
Amid all the developments with the Cards, the NFC West has undergone a transformation in the past year. A division that just last season featured a couple of doormats has since become incredibly competitive. And that could spell bad news for an Arizona squad that is currently in flux.
Those former doormats, the Los Angeles Rams and the San Francisco 49ers, are now spiralling upward in the land of the NFL. The Rams’ turnaround has been the most dramatic. Eyebrows were raised when 31-year old Sean McVay was named their head coach, but L.A. is having the last laugh.
The youngest head coach in league history has led the Rams to an 11 and 5 record and a division championship. It’s hard to believe that in many ways they are the same group of players that were flattened by the Cardinals, 44-6, in the 2016 season finale. Mcvay has built an extremely potent offense featuring Todd Gurley, Jared Goff, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp.
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Another young coach, 38-year old Kyle Shanahan, has the 49ers playing at a high level. General manager John Lynch orchestrated a trade for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo that, thus far, is looking like a steal. San Francisco was able to win their final five games of 2017 after losing 10 out of their first 11.
Though the Seattle Seahawks failed to advance to the postseason for the first time since 2011, Pete Carroll’s bunch still won nine times. But injuries and an awful offensive line hampered the ‘Hawks throughout the campaign. As long as quarterback Russell Wilson is leading their offense, however, Seattle will always be viable.
With all of the unknowns surrounding the Cardinals at the present time, it’s difficult to gauge where they fit in all of this. There’s certainly much work to be done by GM Steve Keim and company. One thing’s for sure, whatever group they assemble to take the field next September will find no easy sledding within the NFC West.