After a disastrous 2010, Al Dannity doesn’t see a fun 2011 in store for the Cardinals. Despite playing the in NFC West, the NFL’s weakest division, wins will be hard to find.
I usually start this section off with a few comments on the incoming draft class. Well the rookies are going to have to wait a minute because there is a bigger issue to address. The Cardinals need a quarterback fast. I don’t care if it’s Kevin Kolb, Marc Bulger, or even Matt Leinart…yes Leinart. I can’t see Arizona trading to bring back a signal caller they dumped but there is just no denying how foolish Arizona looks now. The former USC product may not be the most likeable guy and prone to making check-downs but that still makes him look like Peyton Manning compared to what these birds had in 2010. Of the two realistic options, Kolb presents the greater long-term value. He will however command a hefty trade bounty, one which could cripple the Cardinals if he doesn’t succeed.
As for the rookies? The Arizona draft was one long list of reasons to smile. The decision not to go for a quarterback was odd, particularly given how much value there appeared to be in this year’s draft. Any draft where a player like Quan Sturdivant can be got as a sixth round bargain should be considered a success. The additions of Patrick Peterson, Ryan Williams, and Sam Acho, should all prove useful for years to come.
Mark your calendar
The opening day game at home to Carolina could prove to be one of the most winnable games of the season for the Cardinals. It may also be the first time Cam Newton torches a NFL defense. The games in Week 2 and Week 3, at Washington and Seattle, should both prove competitive. Then things start to get messy. I rate the Cardinals as underdogs in each of the next 10 games they play before finally being in position to stand as favorites against Cleveland in Week 15. I’m confident there are some NFL betting fans who will think I am under-selling the Browns there as well.
While I expect the Cardinals to be up against it, they won’t be hapless. Wins will be hard to come by but there are enough upsets in this league to know Arizona will pick up victories here and there. It won’t be a glorious year but the Cardinals should do enough to finish around 4-12 or 5-11.