Birdcano: A 2016 Cardinals Preview

blaxabbath

blaxabbath

I sat on a jury years ago, 2nd degree attempted murder case. One day the defendant wore sneakers with his suit to court. It was that day I knew he was guilty.
blaxabbath


Last year :
11–5 (13-3), second place in NFC West Champions (Lost in Wild Card Divisional Round to 7-8-1 15-1 Carolina Panthers) Video of the post-game locker room speech is not available for embed but is on youtube here.

Departures: Todd Bowles, Bay Area Troll Darnell Dockett, Larry Foote, Lyle Sendlein (March, 2015), Antonio Cromartie OT Bobby Massie (gone Bearsin’), G Jonathan Cooper (traded + 2nd Round Pick to NE; subsequently got injured on the first day of practice because he’s a bust), C Lyle Sendlein (we’ll see — we canned that dude and then brought him back again last year), DT Cory Redding (release/retired), CB Jerraud Powers (gone Ratbirdin’), S Rashad Johnson (gone Titanin’), DE Dwight Freeney (gone Matt Ryanin’)

Regarding the departures, Johnson is about the most significant loss as he was the signal caller for the defense. With a lot of young talent on defense — including sophomores Deone Bucannon and Markus Golden at LB — getting those guys in position to make plays before the snap is an integral part of the fairly complex James Bettcher defense. Week 1 against Gronk will give a solid read on how much Johnson’s loss matters. The rest of those dudes have been replaced with relatively little drop off, if any at all. A fantasy tip for any of you in individual defense leagues: Bucannon lead the team in tackles last year and is in position to do so again.

Acquisitions: Lady Coach Jen Welter, Jermaine Gresham, Mike Iupati, Lyle Sendlein (August, 2015), Sean Weatherspoon G Evan Mathis, DE Chandler Jones (via Cooper/NE trade), DE Robert Nkemdiche, CB Brandon Williams, C/G Evan Boehm

The additions of Nkemdiche, a potential steal at the end of the first round, and Jones illustrates GM Steve Keim’s commitment to shoring up the team’s biggest 2015 weakness, pass-rushing.

blaxabbath: watching Cam Newton in the NFC Championship
blaxabbath: watching Cam Newton in the NFC Championship

Fantasy tip #2: Markus Golden, who didn’t put up huge numbers last year in a blitz-heavy defense, will be feeding in the wake of Chandler Jones. When Jones has a mismatch, Golden will be in position for a big game.

Restricted Free Agents not tendered an offer Picked Up By New England: Ryan Lindley None. After Lindley and Cooper, I doubt the Grumblelord would trade for anyone associated with the Cardinals who isn’t Christine Arians.

Players in perpetual unofficial suspension: Daryl Washington still.

Players in Temporary Suspension: Bobby Massie. None, until Larry Fitzgerald is exposed and gets four games.

Biggest offseason storyline: Emergence of Michael Floyd “As far as goals, we have one. Put the fuckin’ ring on your finger.” – Bruce Arians

Michael Floyd Status: Broken hand. Out 6 weeks. Contract year.

Vegas win total over/under: 8.5 wins 10 wins (Over -160)

Verdict: UNDER “Unless you put a ring on your finger, the season is not a success.” -Bruce Arians


Okay — enough redlining 2015’s preview…

If you watched All or Nothing to get your off-season fix, I don’t need to tell you much about the 2016 Cardinals because they haven’t really changed much. They are sitting among the highest echelon of NFL teams that are Superbowl LI favorites but there are no qualms that the window will slam shut with an injury to Carson Palmer or a failure to secure the West over Seattle.

The weakness of last season’s team was a non-existent pass rush. That has been addressed but the new question mark is the CB position opposite Patrick “Can’t Manage My Sugar” Peterson. The Raiders lit up rookie Brandon Williams by lining him up with Amari Cooper in the first preseason game. Obviously, P2 would shadow a stud like Cooper in the regular season but Williams had no answer for a top WR. This was the area that Carolina exploited in the NFC title game and, while the return of the Honey Badger will help, Arizona needs to establish a capable #2 cornerback.

The offense is a Bruce Arians wet dream. Speed and depth at wide out plus another round with last years backfield (that’s right, they resigned CJ2K on ANOTHER one-year deal). Fantasy Tip #3, don’t take David Johnson as an RB1. He had fresh legs and got the bulk of the carries in the latter part of 2015 because Ellington and Chris Johnson were hurt. Ellington is made of glass but Arians loves that guy’s skill set and Chris Johnson is an established back who is best at blitz pickup.


Schedule-wise, the NFC West draws the AFC East and NFC South so Arizona can potentially capture the top NFC seed with what’s ahead of them. Out of division trips @CAR and back-to-back @MIN/@ATL will be the toughest tests before Week 16 @SEA. But they do get a couple breaks facing Jimmy G and the P*tr*ots Week 1 at home, Week 3 at the Bills when they’ll be missing Shaq Lawson (shoulder) and Marcell Dareus (four games for substance abuse), in addition to simply being in a division where half the teams are either the Rams or the 49ers. Fantasy Tip #4: Arians will run up the score on teams. Weeks 2 (vs TB), 13 (vs WAS), 14 (@MIA), 15 (vs NO), 5 & 10 (SF), and 4 & 17 (RAMIT) are against 2015 bottom-10 defenses.

2016 repeats Super Bowl or bust expectation for Arizona. The regular season is going to have more to do with jockeying for position, as I’d expect the winner of the NFC West to get the #1 overall seed while the 12-4 runner up eats the top wildcard (and, yes, gets to travel to the 8-8 SLURS for their first round game).

blaxabbath
blaxabbath
I sat on a jury years ago, 2nd degree attempted murder case. One day the defendant wore sneakers with his suit to court. It was that day I knew he was guilty.
Please Login to comment
12 Comment threads
12 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
12 Comment authors
#MAZDA (Make Arizona Decent Again: A 2017 Arizona Cardinals Team Preview) – [DOOR FLIES OPEN]2016 Quotables – Super Bowl (Submissions) – [DOOR FLIES OPEN]CuntlerDon TWhyEaglesWhy Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
Notify of
trackback

[…] year’s great preview, let’s start with some excerpts from this failing site’s 2016 Arizona Cardinals preview (the article that started their freefall in […]

trackback

[…] I’m not going to be sad that 2016 Quotables — one of the few highlights of my 2016 NFL interest — is over, I’m going to smile because it happened. What will be in store for in 2017, I […]

Cuntler

comment image

Don T

That stretch of 3 (?) ARI primer time Games was the highlight of 2016. Meritocracy in flexing: what a fooookin concept.

Actually, Titanin’ is playing the early Sunday game. No that is not mugging At ALL.

Don T

And that was the last goddmned time i kept the autocorrect bullshit. Makes stuff suck worse!

Anyway, Noice previu blaxx.

WhyEaglesWhy

Well done, Blax! I think you should be pretty excited about the season, with the usual caveats about Carson Palmer’s balsa wood skeleton. Or maybe I just watched too much All or Nothing.

Low Commander of the Super Soldiers

Chris v David Johnson

comment image

I find this image to be as timely and relevant as CJ0K.

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Rikki-Tikki-Deadly

Based on the limited sample set of their first preseason game against the Raiders, I’m still plenty bullish on the Cardinals. They harrassed Derek Carr quite nicely, and their first team run D held up just fine. Teams are going to go after Brandon Williams all day long (the Raiders sure did) so he’ll be a liability, but I think the Cardinals will be able to make things work. The big issue that I noticed was depth; once their first team was off the field the Cardinals looked like shit. If they can stay healthy, I would not at all be surprised to see them making a deep playoff run.

jjfozz

Nice jorb.

Note to self: clean bourbon spray and cigar ashes off of keyboard, start writing Ravens preview before I am hunted down and impaled by DFO Stormtroopers.

theeWeeBabySeamus

Take heart fozz. I have it on good authority that you’re no longer the angriest and most feared lunatic on the blog any longer.
You’re welcome.

jjfozz

Who is it? Cause I have a blade made of ancient obsidian that needs to taste blood.

theeWeeBabySeamus

Shit, now I don’t wanna tell you.
I kinda value my blood.

Low Commander of the Super Soldiers

You really don’t want to get caught by those guys. Their uniforms do not require pants.

BrettFavresColonoscopy

This was excellence in laziness AND previewdom

theeWeeBabySeamus

Nicely done, Blax. I might even hate ’em a little less now.
I also might not.

Seriously, very nicely done.

theeWeeBabySeamus

/misses Adrian Wilson
//shameless NCSU plug to follow
(sorry foar the quality…used to be a better one)

theeWeeBabySeamus

Enrico Pallazzo

Bobby Flay says that you should draft Dave Johnson #1 overall.

Old School Zero

Nicely done. I’m actually excited to watch how the football Cardinals do this year, which is the first time since… Uh… Ever.

BrettFavresColonoscopy