NFC West Preview- Arizona Cardinals

by: Dwayne D.

The NFC West was virtually the worst division in all of the NFL, but the worst division produced the NFC representative in the Super Bowl, the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals run was not a fluke, they got off to a great start in the first half of last season, then fell off in the second half, only to prime themselves to wins against Atlanta, Carolina, and Philadelphia, the latter two on the road. The rest of the division is up in the air, with the former kings of the west, the Seattle Seahawks looking to rebound and heal from a nightmarish season from a year ago, the San Francisco 49ers are on the rise with a new head coach and a new attitude that gave them momentum last season, and will carry over into this season. The Rams are… the Rams… it’ll be a long season in the Gateway to the West.

The NFC West will play out like this:
1. Arizona
2. San Francisco
3. Seattle
4. St. Louis

The Arizona Cardinals overhauled the staff with Ken Whisenhunt. His offensive coordinator, Todd Haley, went to Kansas City to become the head coach of the Chiefs, and now he has two coordinators… one to handle the running game in Russ Grimm, and one to handle the passing game in Mike Miller. The Cardinals have a plethora of receivers for Kurt Warner, who re-signed with Arizona in the offseason, has his two favorite targets in Larry Fitzgerald, and despite his pledge to not return to Arizona, Anquan Boldin. Warner has a good third receiver in Steve Breaston, and a couple of good receivers in Sean Morey, Early Doucet for a good fourth and fifth option. The running game is gone downhill, but despite the departure of Edgerrin James, the Cardinals drafted Chris “Beanie” Wells from Ohio State, and they will battle it out for the starting job. If Wells can stay healthy, he’ll be a major player for Offensive Rookie of the Year. Hightower is good as a power back, but he would compliment Wells as Wells has a combination of power and speed, but the speed would definitely compliment Hightower’s bruising style. The Cardinals will be a pass-first team though, just as last season, especially when two of the best receivers in the game are on the team.

The defense is going to improve, Whisenhunt fired Clancy Pendergast, the old defensive coordinator, and will import 3-4 schemes more, the same way that was utilized from the Pittsburgh days. Bryant McFadden is an upgrade at CB to compliment Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and Antrell Rolle moving to Free Safety and Adrian Wilson in the secondary at Strong Safety puts the Cards’ secondary at one of the best.

With the key players from the Super Bowl this season, there’s no reason to believe that Arizona will be back in the playoffs and hosting another playoff game. This is not the woebegone Cardinals, and the good times will continue to roll in the desert

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    • markcaufield
    • August 18th, 2009

    Excellent post. I couldn’t agree more. Too many people and sportscasters comment that Arizona’s run to the Super Bowl was a fluke. I’ve never seen a team make it to the Super Bowl as a fluke. There have been bad or lopsided Super Bowl games in the past, but the Cards vs. the Steelers had to be one of the best. An exciting game that came down to the last minute to decide the champion. Definitely a game that was played by the two best teams in the NFL.

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