The Arizona Cardinals finished the 2007 season with an 8-8 record, which basically summed up the season: mediocre. In fact, it would seem to fans as if the franchise's formula has always been mediocrity with a dash of inconsistency just for good measure.
But 2007 also represented new hope for the team and its future. Thanks to some good coaching on the part of Ken Whisenhunt -- though a few of his decisions were a bit on the questionable side (a dual quarterback system in the NFL?) -- and his staff, for the first time in years, hopes (and to some extent, expectations) the team would make the playoffs weren't dashed to bits before week eight.
Hopefully 2008 will see the team pick up where it left off. Doing so will begin with free agency, where the team will be able to acquire some veteran talent.
With that in mind, this is part one of a series of posts dedicated to telling you what the Cardinals should target (and who is available at those positions).
TEAM NEED #1 ... Tackle
The offensive line has always been a weak point on Cardinals teams. Year in and out there is talent on offense, but rarely does the running back see enough lanes or the quarterback enough time in the pocket to take advantage. Such was the case in 2007. After a promising start, the team's running game again finished in the league's cellar while there was constant pressure on the quarterback. If Arizona can build up its offensive line, it should do so beginning with the left tackle position, the anchor of the offensive line.
Mike Gandy played the position this season, mostly out of necessity. The team lost Leonard Davis to the Cowboys last season in free agency and relied on Gandy to fill the void. But he isn't the long-term solution.
For starters, Flozell Adams will be one of the hotter names on any list you'll find. The Dallas Cowboys tackle is an unrestricted free agent who is expected to hit the market. Experienced, Adams is the type of player who can instantly improve the offensive line.
Outside of Adams, a couple other names are intriguing. Pittsburgh's Max Starks has shown a lot of potential on the field and his size (a massive 6'7, 337 pounds) and age (25) make him a great candidate to join the Cardinals. Much safer than a draft choice, Arizona should work to sign Starks if he's available.
If not, Carolina's Travelle Wharton has developed into a solid left tackle for the Carolina Panthers. His current team will work hard to keep him aboard for the long-haul, but if the Panthers do let him go, Arizona may wish to pounce at the opportunity to pick up a veteran, proven tackle with enough experience and talent to make an instant impact.
Team Need: Left Tackle
Names You Need to Know: Flozell Adams, Max Starks, Travelle Wharton
For those of you who read this blog, I apologize for not posting in nearly a week or offering an explanation until now. I've had a case of the flu and have spent the better part of my time sleeping it off.