With the dawn of a new NFL season comes eternal optimism.
For the Arizona Cardinals there’s really no place to go but up after stumbling to a 5-11 finish in 2012, including a nine-game losing streak. Ken Whisenhunt was fired and replaced by Bruce Arians. The roster has been overhauled in several key areas, most notably at quarterback where veteran Carson Palmer hopes to add stability to the position after coming over in a low-risk, high-reward trade from Oakland.
“I think it’s definitely an upgrade in experience, what Carson’s done,” former Cards legendary quarterback, now NFL Network analyst Kurt Warner said in a phone interview with Pros2Preps.com. “You have to like the pieces they’ve put in place from that standpoint but…the big question is the offensive line.”
Protection has been an area of concern for the Red Birds since Warner was under center and still appears to be unsettled playing in a division which features some of the best pass-rush specialists in the league. Further complicating matters is the fact Palmer, much like Warner, is a pocket quarterback who lacks mobility and the ability to buy extra time with his feet.
“If they struggle up front,” Warner explained. “Struggle to run the ball and have some trouble with the tackles doesn’t matter who’s back there at quarterback. Even a guy like Carson is going to struggle in those situations.”
He believes the Cards and Palmer will try to push the ball downfield as much as possible but will need to be able to check down and throw the ball quickly if pass protection continues to be a problem.
Warner is confident the Red Birds picked the right guy for the job in Arians who’s well-respected around the league. The 60-year old finally gets a chance to be a permanent head coach after 20 years as an NFL assistant.
“I look at him very similar to a Mike Martz or a Todd Haley,” he said. “Very fiery guy. A guy that will get in your face. A guy that will push you to the next level…what you come to understand is those guys are doing that, not to attack you as a person, but to push you to be great as a player. That’s why I think those guys had so much success. They never let me stay status-quo. I think very much like Bruce Arians.”
Cardinals veterans report July 25th with the first practice scheduled for the 26th at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.