The Arizona Cardinals have one of the best teams in the NFL but are a part of the toughest division as well. A 10 or 11 win season may not even get them a 2nd wildcard spot in 2014.
Bruce Arians joined the Cardinals in 2013 and immediately restored them to the type of powerhouse that had gone to the Superbowl back in 2008. But despite a 10-win season – which would have been enough for a wildcard spot in the AFC or a division title in the NFC North – the Cardinals narrowly missed the playoffs and enter 2014 where they must play 6 divisional games against 3 of the top defenses in the NFL.
QB Carson Palmer was reborn in 2013 with a receiving group of perennial Pro Bowler Larry Fitzgeraldn and up-and-coming receiver Michael Floyd. RB Andre Ellington averaged 5.5 yards per carry and may see his workload increase now that Rashard Mendenhall has retired. The team drafted TE Troy Niklas – a massive pass catcher out of Notre Dame to give the offense a threat over the middle.
The defense, which was 6th in the NFL in yards and the best rushing defense, added CB Antonio Cromartie to give a boost to an underperforming secondary that still has triple-threat Patrick Peterson. The unit still has pass rushers John Abraham and Calais Campbell but lost long-time star Karlos Dansby in free agency.
The Cardinals will report to training camp in Glendale, Arizona on July 26.