2013 Arizona Cardinals: Keys to success or failure

USA TODAY Sports

There is new leadership, a new quarterback and more optimism than a season ago. Will that translate into wins?

As most know, this offseason has been one of many changes for the Arizona Cardinals. They fired Ken Whisenhunt, Rod Graves and almost the entire offensive staff. They promoted Steve Keim to general manager, hired Bruce Arians as head coach and put together a larger coaching staff than in years past. They brought in Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton to stabilize the quarterback position. They changed their training camp venue. They ran simultaneous practices during OTAs and mini-camp, getting in more than twice the work that normally gets accomplished.

Now...will there be more wins in 2013?

A recent article by James Brady for SBNation.com gave the keys for success or failure on the season.

If the Cards are to be successful, Brady states:

  1. Get Larry Fitzgerald the football
  2. Keep Carson Palmer upright
  3. Make life tough for their NFC West rivals

The first two I think will be very doable. Fitz is moving around more and has a real quarterback throwing to him. In addition to the healthy return of Levi Brown and Lyle Sendlein, the team drafted Jonathan Cooper. That combined with the fact that Palmer is one of the best in the league at getting the ball out of his hand will make the offensive line look better.

The third part of playing the division tough is the biggest question mark, as the entire division is considered stacked. Both the 49ers and Seahawks are considered bona fide Super Bowl contenders and the Rams lost only one game in the division last year.

That will be the defining key of the three.

Brady also pointed to three things that could torpedo the season:

  1. Jonathan Cooper struggles
  2. No running back steps up
  3. Lack of defensive identity

Of the three, the last one seems to be a reach. Brady writes of the possible confusion of the 3-4 and 4-3 schemes. I don't think that will be a problem at all. As I have stated a couple of times, I am really downplaying this idea that we will see 4-3. I really don't see it, based on what Todd Bowles has said and what has been practiced. The defensive identity is the least of my concerns.

Cooper struggling? That would be bad news because it would mean that the interior line is not stabilized. It would also mean an early miss on their top pick. However, based on all that has been said about him, it seems unlikely.

The one likely bugaboo is the running game. At the top of the depth chart are a pair of runners in Rashard Mendenhall and Ryan Williams that have the injured tag on them. Behind them are a pair of rookies. Plus, Bruce Arians loves to throw the football. If the team wants to be able to have offensive success, and because Arians also prefers to stick to one back, they need one to step up. That is the least sure thing of the three things.

What do these mean? Nothing right now. But they are food for thought.

Are there points that could be made? The offensive line is not magically going to be top notch. However, with two starters returning and a supposed stud rookie being added to the mix screams upgrade.

Would you agree or disagree with the keys to success and feats to failure?

Keep up with Cardinals news and opinions when you are not on the site. Follow Revenge of the Birds on Twitter at @revengeofbirds and "like" us on Facebook. You can follow me individually at @senorjessroot.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Revenge of the Birds

You must be a member of Revenge of the Birds to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Revenge of the Birds. You should read them.

Join Revenge of the Birds

You must be a member of Revenge of the Birds to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Revenge of the Birds. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker