Arizona Cardinals: 5 Irreplaceable Players During The 2013 NFL Season
5 Irreplaceable Players For The Arizona Cardinals In 2013
Ever since quarterback Kurt Warner retired in 2010, the Cardinals have gone through a buffet line of signal-callers and still can't find a franchise quarterback. The Cardinals must be realizing how special Warner was, while they are experiencing the struggles of not having a player who can throw a simple pass.
The Cardinals have also looked completely lost on offense, especially last season, as they ranked 28th in passing yards with 187.7 yards per game and 32nd in rushing yards with 75.3 yards per game. Quick-lightning passes and being a step ahead of opposing defenses are no more, as the Cardinals' passers have seen more turf in their vision than the actual field itself.
The Cardinals were once a feared team in the NFC, but last season, they only managed to win one game within their NFC West conference and posted a 5-11 record, while missing the playoffs.
Defensively, the Cardinals pose one of the best secondaries in the NFL, ranking fifth overall in passing defense, but the run defense has been a mess, ranking 28th in the league.
Although the Cardinals have been through a tough stretch since their star quarterback retired, they have a golden opportunity to surprise teams this coming season.
With fresh faces on the team, including a new head coach and quarterback, the Cardinals have a good mixture of veteran and young players to make huge improvements and possibly be a stumbling block to other teams within their division.
Ironically, the NFC West has been one of the weakest conferences in the NFL for quite some time, but this year, it could be one of the toughest conferences, with the likes of a revamped Seattle Seahawks team, the 2012 NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers, and even the St. Louis Rams are looking to make a push.
If the Cardinals want to get better and become a respectable team once again, these following five players are pivotal in 2013 to help shape a new, winning roster like the one Warner created.
No. 5: Levi Brown
Seven-year veteran offensive tackle Levi Brown is a crucial player to a team that is trying to create stability. No matter how much the NFL evolves or how the passing game takes over, there is one thing that will never change: teams must have players who can win the battles in the trench.
With the Cardinals drafting Jonathan Cooper, they know how important it is to protect the quarterback, which the Cardinals have been terrible at. Brown is one of the better tackles in this league and is a Pro-Bowler. He must perform consistently to give the Cardinals a chance to revive their offense and will be counted on for leadership in a revamped offensive line.
No. 4: Darnell Dockett
With the exception of last year, defensive tackle Darnell Dockett has been one of the best defensive players the Cardinals have had since they drafted him back in 2004. During their trip to the Super Bowl, Dockett was one of they key defensive players and leaders who helped the Cardinals to be an efficient defensive team.
With fresh faces and rejuvenated energy, Dockett will be a difference maker for a team trying to get back where they once were.
No. 3: Larry Fitzgerald
If there was one single player who was affected the most when Warner retired, it has to be Pro-Bowl receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Ever since he came into the league, he was regarded as one of the elite receivers the NFL has ever seen. When Warner was his quarterback, Fitzgerald was unstoppable.
Since then, the Cardinals’ quarterbacks have been unable to throw him the ball both in short and long passes. With newcomer Carson Palmer at the helm, things should be much better, and if the Cardinals want to be the best again, there is no doubt that Fitzgerald will be a huge reason why. Expect a big rebound year for one of the best pass-catchers in the league; as his opportunities come, so will the Cardinals.
No. 2: Patrick Peterson
Drafted in 2011 as the fifth overall pick by the Cardinals, defensive back Patrick Peterson has been a stalwart from the beginning. Peterson is a huge reason why the Cardinals have had a top-five passing defense, and he is an impact player who can change the outcome of a game in any given moment.
Last season, Peterson nabbed seven interceptions; he is one of the best at his position. Peterson once again will have the challenge to make sure the Cardinals' passing defense picks up where they left off, and if that continues, the Cardinals will always put up a fight and have a chance in any given game.
No. 1: Carson Palmer
Palmer, who was brought in after an unsuccessful stint with the Oakland Raiders, ironically might be the best player they’ve had in the backfield since Warner retired. Although Palmer is not the same quarterback he used to be in his glory days with the Cincinnati Bengals, he can still throw the football in the same direction his receivers are in, which is already a plus.
In a quarterback-driven league, teams must have a decent passer to have any chance of reviving a team, and to the Cardinals, he will be more than enough. Palmer is the key to how successful or how bad the Cardinals will be in 2013.