With the success the Arizona Cardinals are having, they have entered discussion of being a Super Bowl contender. This is exactly what the team wants, but what also inevitably happens is comparing this year's Cardinals to the 2008 Cardinals, when they can within a couple of minute of winning it all.
During the midseason conference call with the media, former Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner was asked to compare the 2015 Cards and the 2008 team he led.
"I think the difference with the team now than what we had is, A, I believe the offensive line is a lot stronger, which allows them to have more success running the football and be able to count on that a lot more," he explained. "We've seen that with the way Chris [Johnson] has played this year, not that it's not just him. He's playing great, but offensive line I think is a lot better. Giving Carson Palmer time. This is a team that loves to chunk the ball down the field."
He pointed out how the Cards have playmakers on the outside at receiver. Then it was Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin and Steve Breaston. This year it is Fitz, John Brown and Michael Floyd. He said the quarterback play of Carson Palmer is something similar to the 2008 team.
"Defensively I just think they're better on the back end across the board (than we were in 2008)," he went on to say. "They've got playmakers all over the place. We had a few of them. These guys have a whole bunch."
They had Adrian Wilson and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Now the Cards have Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu, Rashad Johnson and Jerraud Powers. Tony Jefferson and Justin Bethel can even be mentioned. This year's team covers extremely well and makes plays on the ball.
As for where the Cardinals are not as equipped as in 2008, it shouldn't be a surprise.
"I would say maybe where they're not as strong as we were is rushing the passer," he said. "We had a couple guys that were a little bit better getting after the passer. I think that's the one area, where this team, if there is any, struggles the most. They have to bring pressure to create pressure on a quarterback, which is never, never a good thing, especially when you're playing against really good quarterbacks as you will be come playoff time."
That team was 9-7 in the regular season and struggled against the league's toughest teams at the time. It feasted on a weak division. But they got hot at the right time. They did not dominate teams the way the Cardinals have this season.
When the Cardinals play up to their potential, "they are going to be hard to beat." With a tough second half coming up, we will see how that plays out.