A recent interview by CBS Sports' Mike Freeman with Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell revealed the notion that the Arizona Cardinals could win the NFC West in 2013 is not out of the question. In fact, it is "very likely", according to Campbell.
The main reason he says this is because of Carson Palmer, who will be able to help the offense produce at respectable levels.
Among the things Campbell said, he said that Palmer told him something that made me do a little bit of checking.
Campbell said, "I was talking to Carson the other day and he said he's never really played with a good defense before."
That actually isn't true. For the most part, Palmer has been on Bengals and Raiders teams that did not do well at stopping opposing offenses. Here are the rankings:
|Yr/Team||Record||Def ranking: pts||Def ranking: yds|
Palmer apparently does not recall 2009, when he won 10 games. Of course, looking at what the current Arizona Cardinals defense does in practice, he simply could be saying that he has never played with a defense as good as what the Cards have now.
Arizona's defensive rankings were 17th in the league in points allowed and 12th in yards allowed. However, we know that the defense was batter than it showed because of the horrific offense. In fact, in calculating points allowed and rankings, the defense is actually penalized for points they don't give up. It is the case for all teams, but the Cards gave up eight return touchdowns -- points scored by opposing defenses and special teams units. That would be 56 less points allowed by the defense.
The team allowed 357 points, but the defense was on the field for only 301 of those points. That number would put them sixth in the league, just behind the Falcons and ahead of the Steelers. To get a true defensive ranking, we would need to do the recalculation for all teams, but this gives the Cards' numbers some perspective, at least.
Now...to the point. Palmer has played with a very good defense. That year, Cincinnati won the AFC North, when they swept their division games.
If Palmer puts up his career average numbers and the Cards defense is at least as good as it was a season ago, then the sky is the limit, really. As for offensive numbers, in 2009, Cincinnati was ranked only 22nd and 20th in offensive points and yards.
You can see why Palmer, Campbell and scores of Cardinals fans are excited.
More from Revenge of the Birds:
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- Arizona Cardinals QB Drew Stanton ranked in middle of pack of NFL backups
- Who are the Arizona Cardinals breakout players for 2013?
- What are reasonable expectations for the 2013 Arizona Cardinals
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