It feels like it’s been forever since Kurt Warner was leading the Cardinals to their second straight division championship and playoff appearance even though this will only be the second season without him at the helm. But that’s how Derek Anderson, Max Hall and John Skelton will make you feel if you rely on them to fill the shoes of who may have been not only the greatest Cardinals of all-time, but maybe the state of Arizona’s best player of all-time (Charles Barkley and Steve Nash may have something to say about that but that’s another story.).
Since the very forgettable season of 2010 ending – and after the lockout, of course – the Cardinals have been doing everything in their power to get back to the winning ways of the Warner Era. This, for Cards fan, is not something they are accustomed too. Speaking from a Cards fan point of view, just signing our first round pick before training camp was a notable accomplishment for the team. Now, the front office is wheelin’n’dealin away former first round, pro bowl cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for what might be the future cornerstone of our offense, Kevin Kolb. Signing Todd “The Stormin’ Mormon” Heap, who just happened to be a former Sun Devil and adding depth at linebacker and runningback.
As for me, I loved the trade for Kolb. They needed to pull the deal to bring in a reliable quarterback, if just to give the team some much needed confidence. As much as I loved DRC, he wasn’t a dominant corner as of yet. I realize he made a pro bowl and he deserves all the credit in the world for it, but any given week, he could get picked on, beat and even in some cases (Watch the Sunday Night Football game against the Colts from two seasons ago) get completely embarrassed.
But looking towards the immediate future, the Cardinals will face off against the Carolina Panthers and their new #1 overall pick Cam Newton. Much like last year when the Cardinals faced then #1 overall pick Sam Bradford, the defense will be tested by the unknown. They really only can scout Newton from his preseason tape and what little college tape they could find that would compare to an NFL-style offense. In the end, however, I believe the Cards start the season 1-0 with a strong performance from the offense and a rejuvenated defense looking to show that last year was a fluke.
Prediction: Despite some crushing preseason injuries to second round pick runningback Ryan Williams and starting cornerback Greg Toler, Cards finish the season 9-7 (4-2 in NFC West) and will claim the division crown once again.
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Written by Zack Jones