5 Questions the Arizona Cardinals Must Answer During Training Camp

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Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

When a team goes 5-11, they’re usually not expected to be very competitive the following season; that is, of course, unless they make noticeable changes.

Change; however, is what the Arizona Cardinals did. During the offseason, the Cardinals went out and found a new head coach in Bruce Arians, upgraded the quarterback position by trading for quarterback Carson Palmer and, in my opinion, had a very good draft, highlighted by the selection of offensive guard Jonathan Cooper in the first round.

Listen BirdGang, the Cardinals still have a lot of work to do in order to be championship contenders, but I truly believe that they have given themselves a chance to compete in 2013. Last season they had virtually no offense, but managed to win five games along the way.

While it’s true that this year’s schedule might be tougher than 2012’s schedule, the Cardinals will have the benefit of playing some of their tougher games at home. If you recall, in 2012, they had to go on the road to play the Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons; they won in New England and should have beat the Falcons. This year they get Atlanta, the Houston Texans and the Indianapolis Colts at home.

The Colts game should be a good one given that it’s Arians’ former team. If he can have half the success he had in Indianapolis, I think that’s a vast improvement from 2012 and definitely a step in the right direction. That’s why it’s important that the Cardinals answer these five questions during training camp.

Jesus Flores is a Dallas Cowboys writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @SSgtFlo1 or add him to your network on Google

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Rashard Mendenhall

Rashard Mendenhall
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

1.) Will Rashard Mendenhall hold off Ryan Williams, Stepfan Taylor and Andre Ellington?

If, and it’s a big if, Mendenhall can stay healthy, he should be the clear-cut No. 1 back in Arizona. He was Arians’ guy with the Pittsburgh Steelers and knows the system, but is recovering from a torn ACL. During training camp, the Cardinals need to find out if they’re getting a fully healthy Mendenhall.

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Jonathan Cooper

Jonathan Cooper
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

2.) Has the offensive line improved enough to keep Carson Palmer alive?

The Cardinals offensive line was horrendous last season, but they’re getting Levi Brown, Lyle Sendlein and Bobby Massie back. Throw in the addition of Jonathan Cooper and it makes for a much-improved line or one would hope so. It will be crucial to Palmer’s success that the line gels during training camp.

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Carson Palmer

Carson Palmer
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

3.) Can Carson Palmer play at a Pro Bowl level again?

Palmer is one of those quarterbacks that will look amazing in one game and come out and stink it up the next. It’s imperative that he plays better than he has for the Cardinals to be competitive once again. On the bright side, however, he’s got a good arm and should be able to revive Larry Fitzgerald’s career.

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Darnell Dockett

Darnell Dockett
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

4.) Can the defense adjust to its fourth defensive coordinator in five years?

It was the Cardinals defense that was the lone bright spot in 2012. In this new 3-4 system, the defensive ends will be required to penetrate the offensive line and play the run on their way to the quarterback as opposed to last year’s 3-4 defense where the linebackers were the playmakers.

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Adrian Wilson

Adrian Wilson
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

5.) With Adrian Wilson gone, who will be the defensive leader?

No surprise here as we all know just how big leadership is and can be in this league. Just look at the Baltimore Ravens who had arguably one of the best leaders in Ray Lewis and how that affected the way the defense played. Hopefully a defensive leader will emerge during training camp.


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  • Bill Doerr

    Last season despite having no QB play , no run game , and 4 out of 5 starters on the OL out injured ( IN the last 8 games they still managed to rank 13th in the NFL giving up only 19 sacks, RT Bobby Massie gave up ZERO n the last 8 games) yet SF n STL couldn’t beat them by more than 2 TDs n they lost 4 games by 7 points or less. They stayed very competitive.
    This year they have a very good , accurate above average QB in Palmer, decent back-up in Drew Stanton, RB Ryan Williams is 100% healthy and running like he did for the 1st time since his injury with explosiveness again finally, They signed Multiple 1k+ yard runner Rashard Mendenhall who is named the starting RB n is 100% Healthy , and they drafted 2 of the best RBs in the draft in Stephan Taylor & Andre Ellington as ins to all but guarantee they have a good run game. They have the best group of receivers in the NFC-W , & WR 2012 1st round pick Mike Floyd , and one of the NFLs top 3 fastest TE’s with his excellent hands and route running ability who Arians loves TE Rob Housler ( 4.40 40 6″5 255 HUGE target) are set for Breakout seasons now that they have a good QB. Fitzgerald may very well have the best season of his career n 1500+YDS. The Cardinals got one of the NFLs best offensive minded play calling coach’s in Bruce Arians , and Arians has the perfect personnel to run his play action vertical passing offense. The Cardinals will have a strong run game , good QB play, good OL & good passing game. They managed to stay in games with a horrible offense. Now they have a lethal explosive offense to match their top ranked defense which got even better personnel in the off-season as well. Arizona wont be losing close games & will be very, very competitive this year, & contend in their division. They have a better offense than STL W/STL having a huge question mark at RB n their run game , and them relying on rookie WRs. Arizona can beat SEA n SF as well this year on N E given sunday. Ifs a whole different team. I expect Arizona to contend in this division and possibly sneak into the playoffs.