The Arizona Cardinals opened the 2012 NFL season with four straight wins, including a shocking upset over the New England Patriots in Foxborough during Week Two. Then, almost as surprisingly as they emerged, the Cardinals collapsed. The Arizona Cardinals won just one of their final 12 games to finish 5-11 before firing their head coach. Once again, Bruce Arians inherits a disaster.
The troubles in Arizona are certainly less emotional than the situation Arians temporarily inherited as interim coach of the Indianapolis Colts, but there are definitely problems in Arizona. He should be ready to address a variety of concerns, and after the success he had turning around the Colts last season, he deserves his chance in Arizona. The question remains, can he fix these problems?
He handled a challenging quarterback situation in Indianapolis by riding Andrew Luck into the playoffs. In Arizona, he must deal with another quarterbacking challenge. John Skelton appeared for a time to be the better quarterback for Arizona, but Kevin Kolb emerged as well before injuries derailed his season. Larry Fitzgerald may be the second best wide receiver in football and the Cardinals need to address their quarterback situation. If Arians can be as “lucky” as he was in Indianapolis, the Cardinals offense has a chance.
Defensively, the Cards can hold their own. In their victories, the team suffocated comeback efforts, closed out tight games and controlled the flow of the game. They have a strong line and a talented defense. If the offense can take some pressure off their defensive unit, the Cardinals will be much improved.
Given all Arians did to steady the ship in Arizona, he certainly deserves a shot at getting the Arizona Cardinals back on track. If he can replicate his magical touch with quarterbacking issues, the Cardinals are not far from contending next season. If the quarterback issues of last season continue to plague the Cardinals going forward, it’s hard to see anyone, even Arians, making much of a difference.