With a Week 3 matchup on the road against the offensively charged New Orleans Saints, the Arizona Cardinals have been dealing with nagging injuries that may curtail their own offensive output. Larry Fitzgerald and newly-acquired Rashard Mendenhall both have injuries that have kept them from being at full strength since the Week 1 loss to the St. Louis Rams. On top of that, the starting tight end for the Cardinals, Rob Housler, has been limited in practice as well. Summing all of that up, their WR1, RB1, and TE1 are all dealing with injuries that have hindered their ability to perform at 100 percent.
That begs the question, what will the Cardinals do to stay in contention against the Saints? There are a few things that need to be done in order to come out of the Superdome with a W this Sunday.
The receivers need to step up. Riding the coattails of Fitz up to this point, both Andre Roberts and Michael Floyd must start cementing themselves as solid WR2s. If they can get some traction and maybe break loose for a big gain or two, anything is possible. Especially against an historically poor New Orleans defense, this could be the game where both Roberts and Floyd make a real name for themselves with their leader hobbled by injury.
Andre Ellington and Stefan Taylor, RB2 and RB3 for the Cards will have to focus on their pass blocking abilities coupled with being able to be a receiver safety valve for Carson Palmer in blitz situations. This is compounded by the Cardinals No. 1 overall pick, Jonathan Cooper, already being out for the season after breaking his leg. If Carson Palmer stays on his feet for the majority of the game, the offense has enough pop to keep up with the Saints.
The defense. Linebackers Kevin Minter and Lorenzo Alexander are both dealing with injuries as well. Minter hasn’t participated in either Wednesday or Thursday’s practices, and Alexander had a full practice today. Looking past injuries, the Cardinals must keep pressure on Drew Brees throughout the game and force him into making bad throws, focus on Jimmy Graham and Darren Sproles, and keep them off balance.
If all three of those points come to fruition, or close to it, on Sunday, the Cardinals will have a good chance to start the season 2-1