With the Scouting Combine right around the corner, free agency and the NFL Draft in the not so distant future, we look at what the Cardinals need in order to get back to a Super Bowl and hopefully hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
This is a league that is run by good to great QB play. There have been teams in the past that have won the Super Bowl without great QB play, but those quarterbacks were game managers and just needed to play mistake free.
The Cardinals ask a lot out of Carson Palmer, as they should, because he is a good QB in this league. This upcoming season they need Palmer to play well and be consistent, they do not need Palmer to be the player he was from 2015, he just needs to be consistent.
If Palmer can limit turnovers and hit the big play a few times a game, this will keep the running lanes open for David Johnson. Speaking of which- I believe D.J. will be the key focus of the Cardinals offense, just as he was this year. He is a dynamic running back who catches the ball out of the backfield with the best of them.
The Cardinals need another WR- but with Larry Fitzgerald back, John Brown coming back to full strength, and JJ Nelson emerging as another deep threat this group could be good. It is just finding that other outside WR.
Offensive Line play will be key for the Cardinals in a successful run this year. Injuries derailed the Cardinals early, inconsistent play did not help. Late in the season last year the Cardinals line was looking better.
They need to limit Palmer from taking so many hits. Taking a lot of hits makes a QB jittery and want to get rid of the football quicker than he is supposed too.
Palmer is not one of those QBs that can make plays when the pocket breaks down. The Cardinals need to upgrade the line to make sure Palmer stays upright.
Defensively that Cardinals have been in the upper echelon the last few years. I believe this will continue but the Cardinals need to bring back some of their free agents, as well as getting some others to help contribute. The first spot that comes to mind is a CB opposite of Patrick Peterson. If the Cardinals can get someone that is capable of holding his own opposite of Peterson this will make the Cardinals even more electric with their defensive scheme.
2016 was just not the year for the Cardinals even though they had high expectations. This year a lot of odds have the Cardinals being a middle of the pack or playoff team. If the Cardinals can stay healthy and have everything else fall into place that was discussed, there is no reason why the Arizona Cardinals, with all those pieces in place, can't be back in the Super Bowl. A chance to bring the Lombardi Trophy to Arizona for the first time seems more like a probability than a pipe dream.