It seems like just yesterday we waited for the Arizona Cardinals to unleash their bubble wrapped 2017 team.
Little seen in the preseason Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson were chomping at the bit to be let loose against the Detroit Lions.
Then, everything went haywire.
Johnson was hurt in game one, Palmer was horribly rusty, then great, then was lost for the season for the second time in his tenure in Arizona and things went from bad to worse.
In a season filled with injuries and unfulfilled expectations, who disappointed the most?
Here are the top disappointments for 2017 for the Arizona Cardinals.
Another chance for Bethel at corner led to one of the worst on field performances from a corner over the first six weeks of the season. It may have even cost the Cardinals a couple of games. It's unlikely we'll see Bethel back, which is unfortunate for the special teams play, but makes sense for all parties involved.
Diche has certainly played better as he finally has cracked the rotation along the defensive line, but it's still a disappointment to see him battling the likes of Josh Mauro, Olsen Pierre and Rodney Gunter for snaps. Hopefully, this was the rookie season and we see the jump in year three.
Nothing should have been expected of Gabbert. In fact, I wrote and talked about it as much as possible to quell anything resembling expectations for Gabbert. Yet, he was given five games to prove himself and came out of it getting benched for Drew Stanton. This isn't fair to Gabbert, but when he had his chance, he didn't seize it and that's the disappointment
A massive contract that is useless to cut this offseason, maybe no player underperformed as much as Gresham. Except, his numbers will be eerily similar to the 2016 numbers that earned him his payday. Contracts do funny things to expectations.
James Bettcher/Bruce Arians
Bettcher and Arians messed up. It happens to the best coaches, but for six games they let Bethel play as the starter opposite Patrick Peterson and then it took an additional three games and an injury to get Budda Baker onto the field. For all the great of the past six games, whoever made those decisions messed up.
The veteran had his worst season in a decade and was actually his worst in his career when you take into account four of his eight misses were from inside 40 yards. In Dawson's career, he had not missed more than two such kicks in a season, this was a bad season for one of the best kickers ever.
D.J. Humphries, Markus Golden & David Johnson
It isn't their fault. They can't control injuries, but it's disappointing to see the cornerstones, the jewels of Steve Keim’s draft portfolio give no contributions to the Cardinals in 2017.
The Cardinals top three picks from 2015 went from 2,646 snaps played in 2016 to only 481 snaps played, combined, in 2017.
The Cardinals lost over 2,000 snaps (2,165 to be exact) from three of the young pillars on the team and it showed.
More than that, it is just disappointing to see growth stunted from three players in key years of development (year three, going into their contract year).
Here’s to hoping for health and growth in 2018.