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It may not be an official change that took place this offseason, but with the amount of turnover the team has faced, the Cardinals will surely run a new-look offense in the 2010 season.
For the last three seasons, we've gawked at passes from Kurt Warner that have sliced through the air, set into places that only a future Hall of Fame'r could make. We've seen receivers each catch over 1,000 yards in a single season. We've also seen the Cardinals continually rack up points on the scoreboard. All of which will change in the matter of one busy offseason.
The story began when Kurt Warner retired from the game of football that he both knew and loved so well. Warner was a gun-slinger. He always had been since his days in St. Louis when the offense was known as "The Greatest Show on Turf". He carried those ways with him to the desert and made the Cardinals one of the most intoxicating teams to watch on Sundays. His style was influencing and he could win games with his arm - an arm that should be enshrined in the NFL Hall of Fame. Now he's enjoying retirement, and that aspect of the offense will no longer exist.
The saga continued when Matt Leinart inherited his position as the Cardinals starting quarterback. Leinart isn't and never will be the quarterback that Warner was. That's not saying he can't be a passing quarterback. He did put up eye-opening numbers in college, and he has the receivers right now to lead the way back to the glory land. At this point in time, however, the best style is the more conservative one. Matt will need time to grow.
The changes became more relevant when Anquan Boldin was traded to the Ravens. Boldin was a possession receiver that would tussle for every yard. He was a playmaker, and if you want evidence, see the Minnesota Vikings game on Sunday Night Football last year. The man could flat out run with the football in his hands while taking and dealing punishment. Anytime you lose a player like that, you lose the big plays that come with him. But when one door closes, another door opens and someone will step into that role.
It was finalized when Alan Faneca was signed not long after he hit the open market. This move was the cherry on top. If you wanted anymore supporting evidence that the Cardinals were going to run more next season, look no further. Faneca has appeared in eight straight Pro Bowls and is known for his dominating run-blocking. He and Levi Brown will open paths along the left side of the offensive line for the Cardinals running backs. He is a leader and a professional, and just another new face on the Cardinals offense.
All of these changes enforce the fact that the Cardinals offense is turning a new leaf next season. They won't be the dynamic passing team that we witnessed the last three years, and they won't be able to score on the drop of a dime. They will, however, be a physical team that will attempt (I use this term loosely) to run the football down the mouths of their opponents. They will also ride or die with Matt Leinart. He'll finally get his chance to prove to all of us that he is this team's franchise quarterback. He has all the tools in place; now he'll need to take advantage of the situation and become the leader of the Cardinals new offense.