When we look back over the Carson Palmer and Bruce Arians era there are more what ifs than anything else.
Let’s look back.
2013 - What if Daryl Washington is not suspended the first four games of the season? The Arizona Cardinals gave up 20.3 points per game in 2013. The first three games they gave up 79 points, or 26.3 points per game. The only saving grace of those first four games was playing a putrid Tampa Bay Buccaneers squad. If Washington is out there, remember he was one of the best linebackers in the NFL in 2012, is there a one game difference?
2014 - What if Carson Palmer stays healthy? This is the biggest what if in history for me. This was the year. A nasty defense, Palmer was nails when on the field. This seemed like the right time, the right team.
2015 - What if Tyrann Mathieu stays healthy? A raucous 2015 came crashing down in flames when Mathieu was carted off the field in Philadelphia. The life blood of the defense went with it and despite playing well against Aaron Rodgers the next week, never looked the same.
2016 - What if Chandler Catanzaro makes the 47 yard field goal against the New England Patriots? It was as simple as can be. The Patriots come in and punch you in the mouth with their backup quarterback, but you scramble and find a way to win. It sets a completely different trajectory for the team. Remember, the next week they bludgeoned the Bucs 40-7. Going to Buffalo as a 2-0 team with a come from behind win against the Pats and a blowout of the Bucs is a much different feeling.
2017 - What if Steve Keim had been aggressive? Patrick Mahomes… That is all.
The biggest what if for me is always going to be 2014. It felt like that team was the team, the year to get to the Super Bowl.
Alas, it will always be about what ifs with Palmer and Arians.