The offseason has been an intriguing one for the Arizona Cardinals that has led to a number of questions that need to be answered.
However, there is not a ton of changeover on the offense or within the staff, which makes predicting who the Arizona Cardinals could be in 2017 even more difficult.
After a 7-8-1 season that saw the Cardinals defense give up 31 points per game over their final eight, it is hard to really identify if they are better, worse, or re-tooling for another rung.
Peter King of MMQB had this to say:
This looked like a playoff defense early, but then the roof fell in at midseason (they surrendered an average of 31 points a game in a late eight-game span) and the Cards lost too many shootouts. I’d lean on David Johnson (373 touches last year) again, dominate time of possession, and have the defense on the field one possession less in 2017.
Cardinals prediction in 10 words or less: This team has a last-gasp feel to me.
That is kind of the consensus right now.
They are ranked 15th in King’s power rankings, yet he doesn’t know why:
Why I have the Cardinals 15th: I am going to plead stupid here: I have no idea where to put the Cardinals. There are quite literally two significant changes in personnel—in the front office, on the coaching staff, in the starting lineup—from last year’s 7-8-1 team to this year’s team. Last year the Cards were yo-yos: They started 3-3. They finished 3-3. After Thanksgiving, they scored 85 on the Saints and Rams; they gave up 86 to the Falcons and Saints. And the only significant losses were a giant of the front seven—6’8”, 300-pound defensive end Calais Campbell—and versatile safety Tony Jefferson. That’s it. So even if top draftees Haason Redick and Budda Baker and a healthy Tyrann Mathieu make up for the dearly departed in impact, are the Cardinals better than the team that finished the season?
That is what the question really is. Are the Cardinals better in 2017 than they were in 2016, or was last season the beginning of the end?
I’ve said before I feel like this team, if used correctly, can make another run, but that means focusing on the running game and defense. If they are in a bunch of shootouts again in 2017, it could be a long, if not entertaining season.