The Arizona Cardinals saw a five win change in the matter of a year. After winning 10 games in 2009 -- the most since 1976 -- five wins defined the team in a rough 2010 season. Like any disappointing time however, there are some players that shine despite the gloomy weather. The following list are the players that have improved their stats, performance, and overall ability a one year span:
Paris Lenon - +82 tackles, +2 INT, +2 Sacks, + 5 PD
After longtime middle linebacker and leader Karlos Dansby departed for a bigger payday last offseason, Lenon was brought in to ease some of the pain. It didn't take long for the Cardinals fan base to doubt the pick up. Despite the fear of a drop off in production, Lenon played his butt off in 2010, becoming one of the Cardinals best defenders while improving his numbers from the previous season.
LaRod Stephens-Howling - +1 Ret TD, + 291 Ret yards, +98 Rec yards
Since he was drafted in the 7th round last season, LaRod Stephens-Howling stock has risen dramatically. The Cardinals kept LSH as the primary kick returner this past season and he ran away with it -- literally. He increased his return average by three yards and returned two touchdowns to the house(a third was called back due to a holding penalty). Outside of his contributions on special teams, which included coverage on kick offs and punts, he also increased his role on offense.
Kerry Rhodes - +27 Tackles, +1 sack, +1 INT, +2 Ret Tds
One offseason acquisition with improved stats is one thing, but two players makes the signings of Lenon and Kerry Rhodes significant to the future of the Cardinals. When Antrel Rolle bolted last offseason, Rhodes came to Arizona in a trade. There were worries about his commitment to football, but that quickly vanished when Rhodes reminded us that Rolle wasn't the only big-play safety in the league. Actually, Rhodes played better than Rolle in every aspect of the game and was even robbed of a Pro Bowl appearance. He was second on the team in total tackles, caught six interceptions, and ran two fumbles to the house in 2010 -- making his 2009 numbers look amateur.
Greg Toler - +79 tackles, +7 PD, +1 Sack, +1 INT
After a quiet rookie season, Greg Toler won the starting cornerback position in training camp and played a solid 2010 season, improving all of his stats. With the drastic increase in production in just one season, the potential and expectations for next season are on the rise.
Cast your vote below for the most improved player of the year. If you think anyone should be added just list a comment with who and why and me or Joe will add them to the poll.
Who is the Arizona Cardinals most improved player of the 2010 season?
Paris Lenon (71 votes)
LaRod Stephens-Howling (55 votes)
Kerry Rhodes (88 votes)
Greg Toler (53 votes)
267 total votes