The rest of the team
There has been a lot of banter back and forth on the QB battle locally as well as nationally and I am sure there will be more. I'd like to ignore the QB position for the moment and Focus on the rest of the team to discover how this team is going to win this year in order of importance.
1. The Offensive Line
We finally drafted some O-Lineman and we have brought in some steady experienced guards. We have an HOF player as our O-Line coach in Russ Grimm. This has to be the most improved component to this 2012 team. We really need Grimm to put on a clinic in coaching. We need Bobby Massive to come along quickly and establish some dominance on the right side. We need Adam Snyder to play at least as well as College did last year. We need Levi to show his 1st round talent consistently. We need Nate Potter to become a solid and improving backup to Levi. Overall we need the O-Line to gel quickly and become a solid dependable unit in both the run and pass game. Can Grimm make it happen ? Will Levi be consistently better ? Is there enough talent ?
2. The Secondary
We now have a wealth of talent in the secondary and we need that group to shine. we need that group to stymie opposing passing attacks and create turnovers. We got bitten too many times last year especially against Baltimore and NY. It will be important for our safeties Rhodes and Wilson to perform at pro bowl levels. Peterson has to take that next step and it has to be a big one. Hopefully the officials will be a little more lenient with him this year. Opposite Peterson and in the nickel we have 3 guys that need to step I'm and fill the Richard Marshall roll and 2nd CB. Toler, Gay and Fleming have the talent and the mental toughness but can they perform. Overall that group needs to communicate better than they did last year. They are no doubt talented but a mistake in communication back there can be deadly. Can this group own the back half ? Can they create turnovers ? Will Peterson take the expected big step ?
3. The Linebackers
I think this all starts with Scho and Acho. 3rd year player Scho is going to have to do what he did best in college and get after the QB. Acho on the other side is going to be a special player, no doubt in my mind (break-out). He has got to pick up where he left off last year and terrify the opposing QB from the blind side. We need D-Wash to continue his ways as a disruptive force all over the field. Paris needs to hold off Bradley once again this year and be that solid leader in the middle of the LBs. Though, Bradley needs to draw himself closer and be considered a player who would start on most other teams. Will these LB's get the pass rush needed ? Canthey cover the TE's this year ? Will Scho prove he is a starter in this league ? Can Bradley adjust to the 3-4 ?
4. The Running Backs
It is quite the thrill to see Ryan Williams trekking near 100% and showing flashes like last year. It also appears that Alfonso has bettered himself each and every year and looks to be a solid backup. It's disappointing to see Beanie sidelined at the start of camp as he is the head of this dragon. If healthy this group is set up just how you would draw up a 1,2,3 punch in the backfield with Beanie pounding defenders merciless, Ryan taking the defenses shoes and socks of with his cuts and vision, and the hyphen sneaking around the lineman and linebackers for some big plays. Will this group be 100% healthy ? Will they stay healthy ? Do we have enough depth at that position ? Is Lil' Sweetness the real deal ?
5. The D-Line
I really like our D-Line and the depth we have there. Carter is an outstanding insurance policy and likely a challenger at the starting nose. Big Dan needs to shine and he's off to a great start coming to camp in shape. Dockett has taken the last two years off in my opinion ( relative to the Dockett we know ) and he needs to become that beast on the left. Any chance we could see him and Cambell switch sides given Cambell's knack for knocking down passes ? Will Dockett take on the personality of his pet alligators this year ? Can big Dan make opposing centers lives a living hell ?
The Cardinals can not rely on the QB to carry this team and they have to play as a true team. The O-Line needs to give the QB's time to figure things out and get comfortable. The defense needs to be a top 10 defense and create turnovers as well as generate a pass rush and give the offense good field position. Finally, the running game needs to be dangerous enough to temper the opposing pass rush, create manageable 3rd downs and make big plays.