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These Arizona Cardinals aren't the Arizona Cardinals you remember

Getting quality veteran talent late has not been Arizona's modis operandi

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals, even recently, has been a team that has fielded a roster of players and then went with it. If a key player got hurt, then they would go with the "next man up" mantra, going with the depth they had, usually expecting young players to step up. That is not the worst way to go, especially if a team is trying to rebuild, but when you want to win now, it can be tough.

However, you cannot argue that the Cardinals are not giving it their best shot to win this season. They added two very good veteran players in Eric Winston and John Abraham and in doing so added a level of competition to their positions.

Quarterback Carson Palmer loves the moves. He said he is "shocked, excited, happy" about the moves. "That's when you know that your organization is trying win football games today."

He said that competition is better for the offense and the defense. "To have six, seven, eight guys deep fighting for jobs is always a good thing," he said. "You're always going to lose a guy for a game here, but having enough guys to compete for starting jobs is a good thing."

In fact, reacting specifically to the signings of Winston and Abraham, he said "it's unheard of."

He even said that he was reading on Pro Football Talk (we've got to get him to a better site for his Cardinals one) and reacted much like we would have (and some of us likely did) -- "Really? Is this really going to happen?"

Head coach Bruce Arians explained it in a way that tells you that the Cardinals are doing things a little differently under Steve Keim. The fact that the team has thus far been proactive in adding quality depth to the team is what Arians as a head coach calls "your lifeline."

"We've all been in situations where we lost key players in the past and you don't want to have to totally depend on young players," he said. "If somebody is available that is a quality player and you can add him to your roster, why not?"

That's what the Cards did with Winston and Abraham.

Before, if starters like Beanie Wells or Levi Brown went down for long periods of time, they did not go out and try to bring someone else in. Maybe they just did not feel that there was anyone that was a significant upgrade over the players currently on the roster. This year's free agency for veterans actually has helped a lot with this. Normally, players of the caliber of Winston or Abraham simply are not available at this point. This offseason, it has worked out.

Whatever the reason, it means nothing but good things for the team. If anything else, the Cards are not just going down swinging if they end up missing the playoffs. It won't be a lack of trying from the front office...and that is where you probably aren't used to it.

These are the New Cardinals. May they stay like this.

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