The Arizona Cardinals are entering the 2017 season with... Well, really no one knows.
There are expectations, but from those still entrenched as believers. There are those who have given up on the team and slammed the window shut, but in reality, most just do not know what to make of the Arizona Cardinals heading into 2017.
These are the five questions that most people will have heading into 2017.
What does Carson Palmer have left?
Fair or not, the Arizona Cardinals go as Carson Palmer does.
In their eight losses and one tie:
228/374 60.9% 14 TDs 11INTs 3.7TD% 2.9INT%
In their six wins:
136/223 60.9% 12TDs 3INTs 5.4TD% 1.3INT%
Palmer isn’t missing throws more often, he just is making bad throws more often and forcing the issue more.
When the Cardinals are behind or asking Palmer to win games, he is just not as good as when they are playing from ahead or they are able to protect Palmer a little more in what they are asking him to do.
The Cardinals need Palmer, especially early, to carry them, can they get the great Palmer instead of the average one?
Can D.J. and D.J. hold up?
The Cardinals 2015 draft class has been great, but they could be special, nearly franchise altering, if David Johnson and Markus Golden continue on their trajectory. More important to that franchise altering would be D.J. Humprhies. If the Cardinals get a franchise left tackle in Humphries, they all of a sudden have three of the four most important positions in the NFL locked up: left tackle, pass rusher, cornerback.
Meanwhile, David Johnson’s early pace is Hall of Fame level, but we have seen plenty of running backs not maintain it. If Johnson maintains that pace, the Cardinals can continue forward, even if question one isn’t answered.
Jared Veldheer, D.J. Humphries, Evan Mathis, Tyrann Mathieu, Tyvon Branch and Carson Palmer all missed time last season.
The Cardinals have done a nice job of creating depth, but they cannot afford to continue to lose starters like they did last year.
They need one season where a major piece isn’t lost at a key time.
How fast can the defense gel?
The Arizona Cardinals have turned over a lot of their roster on defense, it is unfair to expect them to come out clicking.
With that in mind, they still have the bones to be a strong, top ten type of defense. How quickly can they get to that level?
Maturation for Haason Reddick and Budda Baker is important, but one of the biggest keys is the veterans stepping in and helping bridge the gap.
Can Karlos Dansby and Antoine Bethea start out fast and allow the young pups to catch up with them?
Special Teams, are they fixed?
The Arizona Cardinals had one of the worst special teams units in the NFL in 2016. They have done quite a bit to fix that heading into 2017, you know how I know that?
Phil Dawson is being paid more in 2017 than Chandler Catanzaro, Drew Butler and Kameron Canaday were combined in 2016.
That doesn’t guarantee success, but it clearly shows that they want this to be a strength of the team.
What questions do you have heading into the 2017 training camp?