TEAM: Arizona Cardinals
SPEC. TEAMS C
FRONT OFFICE C
STRENGTH WR, DS, OG, LB, TE
WEAKNESS FB, DC, OT, OC
OFF. MVP Kurt Warner
DEF. MVP Karlos Dansby
TOP ROOKIE Tim Hightower
Comments: Much like the Rams of 1999, the lousiness NFL club of the decade, it appears likely that the much maligned Arizona Cardinals may finally have parlayed enough early draft selections and free agent selections to be in a position to challenge for the division title. Timing is everything.
All that being said, the I believe second year coach Ken Whisehunt and his staff has done a commendable job of molding this team into a winner. Larry Fitzgerald the third overall selection into the 2004 draft is clearly one of the top receivers in the league and when you add Anquan Boldin to the mix, it form the top receiving duo in all of football.
Veteran Kurt Warner has played very well within the Cardinal offense. He's tough, smart, experienced and is a very accurate short passer. His mobility and deep throwing ability is no longer what it was, but without him at the helm, the Cardinals might very well be in their regular spot in the standings at this stage.
Running back Tim Hightower has surprised many football analysts throughout the league, but not the readers of the Scout.com 2008 draft preview. I really like his run toughness, size ability to bounce things effectively outside, finish and secure the football. The offensive line is adequate at best.
Defensively, the Cardinals have some impressive people, but have yet to show the kind of consistency necessary of a championship type defense. The Antrel Rolle move from corner to safety (lacked the recovery speed to line up against the race horses in the league) has paid immediate dividends. I tried desperately to talk the Rams hierarchy into drafting Adrian Wilson with one of our three number one selections in 2001 (they ultimately drafted linebacker turned safety Adam Archuleta with that particular selection). He's a special athlete and player in my opinion. Karlos Dansby, one of the top "will-backers" in the NFC, is yet another player my former employers, didn't see as a true upgrade at the position.
The scouting staff has made more than its share of errors in recent years, but has a number of very reliable respected scouts (Jerry Hardaway and Dave Razzano) on the staff.
Rod Graves, certainly has the backing of the Bidwell family, but has done little in his time on the job to lead me to believe that he is has special feel, instincts or the ability to lead a club to the promised land. Overall the club's inability to win on the road, leads me to believe its likely going to be a one and done scenario for this club come the NFL's second season