As anyone reading this knows, the 2016 season has been an abysmal one for the Arizona Cardinals. And there isn't one singular thing they can blame their 5-7-1 record on either. Quarterback Carson Palmer hasn't been as sharp this year. General manager Steve Keim has made some critical mistakes in not filling certain holes that absolutely needed to be filled (more on that in a second) and Bruce Arians seems to, once again, be keeping too much trust in guys that should have been relieved of their duties a long time ago.
And really, I can keep going. But for the purposes of this article, I want to focus specifically on the secondary.
What was once the strongest unit on the team and considered one of the best secondaries in the NFL a season or two ago has now become a liability in the desert. Before the season, I continuously hammered home the fact that with the loss of Jerraud Powers, the Cardinals needed to find a consistent and reliable player to line up across the field from Patrick Peterson at CB2. Unfortunately, that never came to fruition.
That isn't to say the Cardinals didn't make attempts at securing players to play that role. The team drafted former running back converted-to-DB Brandon Williams out of Texas A&M in the 3rd round. He wasn't ready. They made a trade right before the season to get Marcus Cooper from the Kansas City Chiefs. He was good for a couple of games, but completely fell off after that. And, of course, they signed Justin Bethel to a contract extension last offseason hoping his growth could lead him to finally recognizing his athletic potential. No dice.
Then you have the safety position, which has mostly been unsightly as well. Tony Jefferson is a really good box safety that has probably been one of the most explosive players on that defense. But he still isn't the deep guy like Rashad Johnson was for so many years and, because of that, he is kind of a duplicate of what Deone Bucannon already brings.
Then you have Tyrann Mathieu and Tyvon Branch, who have been in and out all season long with injuries (a signing and an extension that, so far, look like very bad moves by GM Steve Keim).
Needless to say, it's time for a change.
The team could very well watch Jefferson walk in free agency and decide to part ways with the oft-injured Branch and the underwhelming Bethel this offseason. On top of that, Brandon Williams still may not be ready to assume a big role next year.
I personally would like to see the Cardinals draft a stud inside linebacker and move Bucannon back to his natural safety position, but either way, some real infusion of talent that can stay healthy is needed. Bethel and Branch should be cut to free up cap space and another cornerback to compliment Peterson should be brought in. I am also of the opinion that the team could stand to draft a real talent at corner within the first two rounds of the upcoming draft.
What do you think, Arizona Cardinals fans? Is an overhaul needed in the secondary for the Arizona Cardinals?