There are some things far too dangerous and difficult to even attempt. The bull run, surviving a fist fight against Chuck Norris, and beating the original NES version of Battletoads.
Making an argument for the Arizona Cardinals to win the NFC West is one of those things. Up until recently, the Cardinals were the team having issues. While the Seattle Seahawks were getting thoroughly gutted. That changed Sunday, with Kam Chancellor’s retirement putting things into perspective.
The Seahawks have Russell Wilson and the Cardinals well, they don’t even have that. What once was one of the most underrated rosters in the league has now had draft picks that can make them great next season, but like the 49ers in 2017, it’s going to take a year. And the worst part? Their best piece, Larry Fitzgerald is on the verge of retirement.
I’m going to do it. I’m going to come up with an argument as to how the Cardinals can win this.
Reason for: Veteran leadership
I almost was going to put strike-through in the above and say “They aren’t winning the division,” but the Cardinals still can surprise. Sure, maybe Josh Rosen isn’t horrible, but the way the Cardinals can win is with their veterans.
The Cardinals have one of the NFL’s most decorated active wide receivers in Larry Fitzgerald. The only thing Fitzgerald doesn’t have is a Super Bowl ring. When he retires, the hurt in the Cardinals locker room will only be exponentially increased by that simple decision. Fitzgerald is that good, even in 2017 he amassed over 1,000 yards at 34 years old.
Along with Fitzgerald, the Cardinals have David Johnson coming back from a wrist injury and he’s no slouch at the running back position. After backs like Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington, David Johnson provides them with a solid bellcow provided he can stay healthy, so they have some veterans?
Reason against: The roster is far too young
No use mincing words. Seattle is going through an offseason from hell, but at least in 2018 they aren’t the Cardinals. As strange as it is to believe, the Cardinals have even more to work on in 2018 than that Seahawks do. As a result they have a young, inexperienced roster where they have wisely prepared for the inevitable but also took flyers to address their other picks. The 2nd round pick of wide receiver Christian Kirk was clearly to address Larry Fitzgerald’s imminent retirement and the rest of the roster has offensive line picks (for the second worst offensive line according to pro football focus). It’s all a group of question marks and a team far too young right now to do anything in the long term.
Let’s get one thing straight: the Cardinals hit a brick wall hard, but it’s one they addressed with a good draft, but that team isn’t going to win anything this year. They need development and we need to see what new head coach Steve Wilks can do.