The Arizona Cardinals are looking to follow what the Los Angeles Rams have done to get themselves into Super Bowl 53
As recently as the end of the 2016 season on January 1, 2017, it still appeared the Arizona Cardinals were ahead of the game when it came to comparing them and the Los Angeles Rams. The Cardinals had just come off a 44-6 beat down on rookie quarterback Jared Goff and the Rams.
It has been all downhill for the Cardinals since and mostly sunshine for the up and coming Rams. The Cardinals lost players like Carson Palmer to retirement while Goff was about to get a new coach in Sean McVey who could help nurture him into the player he is just two seasons later.
The Rams have also outscored the Cardinals in their four meetings 130-25 since and it really hasn’t even been that close. Two of those meetings resulted in shutouts.
So what do the Cardinals need to do to get back to the level where they were at in 2015 when they finished 13-3 and went to the NFC Championship and the Rams now as they head to Super Bowl 53 to face the New England Patriots?
They have started doing what they need to do, at least they are making the appearance they are doing so. They started by getting a young coach like McVey in Kliff Kingsbury.
Anyone will tell you though it will take more than a pretty face and a fancy passing game to win in the NFL. There is a lot of work to do.
The Rams have their franchise quarterback in Goff. The Cardinals hope they have theirs in Josh Rosen but he still has a lot to learn. Maybe Rosen can turn his second NFL season into a trip to the playoffs like Goff did.
Goff’s team went 4-12 in his rookie season. However he did not start until week 11 when the Rams were 4-5 at the time, went 0-7 for the season. Rosen’s went 3-13 but he did not start those first three games, so he went 3-10 in his 13 games.
The Cardinals also need to shore up their interior defensive line to stop the run. Adding linebackers and still searching for a cornerback to play opposite Patrick Peterson also have to be at the top of the list of needs.
The key will be to draft smart, spend smart in free agency. Don’t throw all your stones in one basket for one guy. It is going to take a lot of new pieces to get this team put back together properly once again.
Things can turn around quickly however. Although right now it is hard to imagine this Cardinals team, even with guys like running back David Johnson and receiver Larry Fitzgerald, making the 2019 playoffs and then making a run for the Super Bowl either next year or in 2020.