Just three years ago the Arizona Cardinals were coming off a 13-3 regular season and a trip to the NFC Championship Game
The days of the Arizona Cardinals winning football games and handily against the NFC West and other foes seems so far removed. Yet, it is just three years removed from a dismal 3-13 season in which saw a change at head coach and the second franchise picked in the NFL Draft in two years.
It is amazing how fast a franchise’s image can change. After struggling in 2016 to 7-8-1 as a followup to the 13-3 2015 season, it just kept getting worse.
Running back David Johnson broke his wrist on the opening Sunday of the 2017 season. Quarterback Carson Palmer was finished for the season after the trip to London in a Los Angeles Rams beating of the Cardinals.
They finished the 2017 season 8-8 with backups at many positions but to do it with backup quarterbacks and running backs was truly an amazing job by then coach Bruce Arians. Arians ‘retired’ once the season completed.
So then things got interesting. In the offseason Arians was pretty quiet with the real reasons why he left. General manager Steve Keim was arrested for DUI, and they had difficulty landing a new coach, eventually ending up with Steve Wilks.
Keim was suspended right before the season but had served it by the time the season started. However the ridicule and complaints continued. He made questionable draft picks and free agent signings.
After the dismal 2018 season chalk full of mistakes on and off the field, the organization hired Kliff Kingsbury to lead them in 2019. A good man but questionable hire because of experience and the fact he had just been fired at Texas A&M and quickly left a USC job he was hired for a month earlier.
But Keim came back with a strong free agency period and even better draft class. The 2019 class may end up being his best.
We will only truly know though once they take the field in September. Winning on the field can change an image quickly. Not even winning, but just competing. There were times last season the team looked like it had quit on Wilks and the organization.
Kingsbury brings in a fresh look with his Air Raid offense. The Cardinals are building b ack towards winning football. The only blemish now is Patrick Peterson‘s suspension.
However the suspension reportedly was a long time coming on the announcement. The Cardinals supposedly knew for at least a couple of months it was coming.
Despite that, the Cardinals do appear to be trying to right the ship. Keim is likely under a hot seat. They don’t have to be a winning team above .500 in 2019 but they do need to compete and work towards loftier goals moving forward.
That is easier said than done but certainly attainable. Many teams have taken themselves out of obscurity and back to winning ways recently. Why not the Cardinals?