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Thread: Arizona Cardinals

  1. #1

    Arizona Cardinals

    Career Record: 97-110-1 (.468) in the Regular Season; 3-4 (.428) in the Playoffs

    Number of Division Titles: 3
    Number of Conference Championships: 0
    Number of Franchise Bowl Championships: 0

    History of GMs:
    oohnoitsjohn (2014-present) 20-28 (.416)
    Stangger (2006-2013) 56-71-1 (.432); 3-3 (.500)


    2004: 12-4 (NFC West Champs) lost in Divisional Round to MIN (14 to 17)
    2005: 9-7 (T-1st)
    2006: 6-9-1 (4th)
    2007: 3-13 (4th)
    2008: 3-13 (4th)
    2009: 6-10 (4th)
    2010: 6-10 (3rd)
    2011: 12-4 (T-1st; WildCard) lost in NFC Championship to SEA (10 to 31)
    2012: 12-4 (NFC West Champs) lost in Divisional Round to CAR (17 to 20)
    2013: 8-8 (NFC West Champs) lost in WildCard Round to WAS (24 to 31)
    2014: 6-10 (4th)
    2015: 8-8 (2nd)
    2016: 6-10 (4th)
    AFC NORTH CHAMPS: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2016
    AFC CHAMPS: 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2016
    FRANCHISE BOWL CHAMPS in 2011 and 2016


  2. #2
    2013 Preview

    2012 Record: 12-4, NFC West 1st place (Division Champs)
    Playoffs: 1-1 (Lost in divisional round 20-17 to Carolina)
    Points Scored: 350
    Points Allowed: 208

    Offseason

    Retirements: WR Reggie Wayne, LB Dan Morgan, CB Deltha OíNeal

    UFA Signings: DE Vernon Maples (BUF), LB Scottie Kennedy (WAS), LB D.J. Williams (GBY), CB Gerald Amado (LAS)

    RFA Signings: QB Hunter Murphy, FB Mark Fong, K Thurman Skuratovsky, LB Oscar Taylor, CB Walt Enochs

    Undrafted Rookie Signings: RB Rex Shaw, RB Rick Garner, WR Lamont Ward, TE Jim Hanlon, TE Jesse Malcomson, TE Joseph Mare, C Bryant Shepherd, C Sammie Walton, C Doug Fordyce, G George Doyle, G Harvey Copeland, DE Kent Sims, DE J.J. Mimick

    Free Agents Lost: RB Manuel White (CIN), FB Joel Porterfield (CLE), WR Marquis Hagans (NYK), WR Chad Johnson (DEN), TE Joel Small (STL), TE Donnie Ojeda (ATL), C Tracy Wilmoth (LAS)

    Acquired Via Trade: WR Sinorice Moss (PHI), TE Antonio Gates (PHI), LB Nick Barnett (PHI)

    Players Traded Away: None

    Contracts Renegotiated: QB Dan Orlovsky ($19.06 mil., 5 yrs.), QB Chris Simms ($16.32 mil., 3 yrs.), RB Willis McGahee ($6.34 mil., 3 yrs.), WR Rob Sherman ($3.88 mil., 3 yrs.), WR Sinorice Moss ($36.69 mil., 5 yrs.), TE Antonio Gates ($4.70 mil., 2 yrs.) C Earnest Tatum ($9.22 mil., 3 yrs.), G D'Brickashaw Ferguson ($12.23 mil., 4 yrs.), DE Darrin Evans ($20.90 mil., 3 yrs.), DE Travis Johnson ($12.15 mil., 3 yrs.), DT Bernard Sisson ($20.94 mil., 5 yrs.), LB Nick Barnett ($6.50 mil., 2 yrs.), CB Marcus Trufant ($16.08 mil., 2 yrs.), CB Cedric Griffin ($15.78 mil., 4 yrs.), CB Glenn Hubbard ($4.93 mil., 3 yrs.), S Roger Copeland ($17.99 mil., 6 yrs.)

    Draft: None

    Offense

    Quarterbacks:

    The Cardinals made a strong commitment to QB Dan Orlovsky (64.6%, 2588 yards, 19 TDs, 6 INTs) this off-season, giving the former backup-turned-starter a new 5-year deal worth $19.06 million. Orlovsky was thrust into the starting lineup when QB Chris Simms went down in Week 1 last season with a degenerative hip condition. Arizona management has yet to give up on Simms but with Simms out another 33 weeks and entering his 11th season, it is clear that the future lies with Orlovsky. The team resigned RFA QB Hunter Murphy (42.0%, 306 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs) to backup Orlovsky this season. Murphy looks great and should be able to manage this offense if something was to happen to their starter.

    Running Backs:

    This seasonís success is clearly going to rest on the shoulders of QB Dan Orlovsky. RB Willis McGahee (270 carries, 1101 yards, 7 TDs) showed up for camp out-of-shape and overweight. The former 2,000 yard rusher looks to be a shadow of his former self and will be doing good just to make this squad. The Cardinals brought in a pair of undrafted rookie RBs in Rex Shaw and Rick Garner but neither really impress and Arizona could be in for a tough season running the football. One possibility to help with what looks to be a shaky running game would be to use FB Mark Fong a little more in the runningback role. Fong has showed promise in running the ball in the past, just havenít been given many opportunities. He is an excellent receiver out of the backfield and has really improved on his run blocking skills.

    Receivers:

    Currently, the Cardinals have just 3 wide receivers on their roster. The team just acquired WR Sinorice Moss (71 rec., 806 yards, 5 TDs). Moss gives Arizona a big time impact WR and should easy become one of Orlovskyís favorite targets. The Cards gave up two future 1st round picks for Moss but quite a cheap deal given that Moss is only entering his 5th year. Last yearís 1st round pick, WR Rob Sherman (15 rec., 111 yards, 1 TD) will step into a starting role this season. Depth is a major concern here, with only rookie WR Lamont Ward serving as the teamís only other receiver.

    Arizona and Philly pulled off a string of trades this offseason, the second of which brought former All-League TE Antonio Gates (45 rec., 504 yards, 1 TD) to the desert. Gates is coming off one of the worse seasons in his career and is looking to rebound with a new offense and a new team. With the lack of talent at RB, the WRs and Gates should benefit from a offense that looks to be pretty one-dimensional. Three undrafted rookies was brought into camp to battle for a backup role but only TE Jim Hanlon looks like anything special and could really contribute to this offense.

    Offensive Linemen:

    Arizona has one of the best, if not the best offensive line in the FFL. C Earnest Tatum (22.0% KRB, 0 SA) looks to regain his former All-League form after a 2012 season saw him play in just 10 games due to a leg injury that limited his playing time. Tatum, when healthy, is one of the best centers in the league. Tatum has never really lived up to his run blocking ability and has always went above and beyond his ability as a pass blocker, which should bode well for this team.

    The team brought in a trio of undrafted rookies to compete for the backup spot and all three look like pretty good backups. But given Sammie Waltonís long snapping ability, he will probably be the one that sticks. Starting on either side of Tatum will be G Jermaine Summers (34.0% KRB, 4 SA) and G D'Brickashaw Ferguson (23.4% KRB, 7 SA). Both usually come up pretty big in pass protection and should be counted on again this season to provide support on the ground and through the air. If there is one knock on Ferguson, it is that he needs to provide better blocking in the run game. Not much depth outside of these two at guard, other than two undrafted rookies.

    The Cardinals have two of the very best tackles starting for them. T Orlando Fortenberry (38.1 KRB%, 2 SA) and T Reggie Wells (36.7% KRB, 4 SA) are the guys you want on the outside keeping the big pass rushers of your QB. The two combined to allow just 6 sacks last season and helped open quality holes for the ground game. Arizona will need to add some depth somehow, as these are the only two tackles currently on their roster.

    Defense

    Defensive Linemen:

    The Cardinals made a strong commitment to their defensive line during the offseason, resigning all four starters to long-term contracts. LDE Darrin Evans (38 tackles, 9.5 sacks, 6 blocks, 17 hurries, 21 knockdowns) was slapped with the franchise tag at the beginning of the offseason and then signed a new 3 year deal. Evans is great run stopper and provides a very good pass rush, despite his apparent lack of ability. Starting opposite Evans, will be RDE Travis Johnson (58 tackles, 16 sacks, 7 blocks, 31 hurries, 42 knockdowns). Johnson is hand down the best defensive end in the game. He more than proved his worth last season, recording a career high 16 sacks challenging Vonnie Hollidayís club and league record.

    The Cards also have some quick, agile hole cloggers in the middle of the line. LDT Bernard Sisson (52 tackles, 7 sacks, 3 blocks, 12 hurries, 12 knockdowns) not only provides big run stopping ability, he also is a very good pass rusher for a DT. Sisson is one of the top 5 DTs in the league. RDT Britt Floyd (25 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 1 block, 3 hurries) is the guy that is almost always overlooked on this talented line. But make no mistake, while he isnít the pass rusher that his three teammates are, he provides quality run control. Again, a position where the team doesnít have a lot of depth but did add Buffalo castoff DE Vernon Maples (6 tackles, 2 sacks, 6 hurries), who looks like he could become a little better than advertised and maybe be a decent pass rusher.

    Linebackers:

    Arizonaís biggest splash of the offseason came with the acquisition of two starting linebackers. First, Arizona paid LB D.J. Williams (110 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 2 INTs) $30.44 million over 3 years to come to the desert. Williams is a stud and whether he plays MLB or SLB, he will contribute a lot to this defense. The team then pulled off its 3rd trade with Philadelphia, acquiring LB Nick Barnett (34 tackles, 2.5 sacks). Barnett is currently recovering from ACL knee surgery and with 6 weeks left to full recovery, Arizona can only hope that his abilities hold and donít nose dive. If Barnett can recover fully, then Arizona might have found themselves a new starting LB. The team returns last yearís starter at MLB Andy Hilgendorf (73 tackles, 3 sacks, 2 INTs). Hilgendorf and Williams give the Cards a trio of great LBs. With these three in the lineup, it will be very difficult to run against this team and will make the defensive lines job much easier. LB Teddy Lehman (57 tackles, 0.5 sack, 1 INT) can play both SLB and WLB and provides a great backup at each position. Lehman could start also, if Barnett tanks. LB Oscar Taylor (5 tackles) looks to be a quality pass rushing LB but outside of him, nothing of note except a few undrafted rookies for backups.

    Defensive Backs:

    While the Cards donít have a great secondary, it is very good and the guys back there get the job done. Veteran CB Marcus Trufant (44 tackles, 7 INTs, 9 defensed) and S Roy Williams (74 tackles, 4 INTs, 15 defenesed) are entering their 11th and 12th seasons respectively. The two veterans are still game changers and provide leadership to an otherwise young secondary. CB Cedric Griffin (34 tackles, 4 INTs, 9 defensed) is young but already one of the top corners in the league. Griffin had 21 defensed passes two seasons ago and fell off to only 9 last season. If Griffin can return to that form from two seasons ago, no QB in the league in his right mind will throw his direction. S Roger Copeland (40 tackles, 3 INTs, 7 defensed) doesnít have the overall rating to show most that he a good free safety but he is a ball hawking free safety with great zone ability that can play the run. This secondary is very capable of shutting down any passing offense.

    Specialists:

    K Thurman Skuratovsky (26/29 FGs, 38/39 XPs) is perhaps the most accurate kicker in the FFL right now. In his three seasons, Skuratovsky has hit 71 of 80 FGs including 7 of 8 over 40 yards and 2 of 2 from beyond 50. This guy has strong leg and can carry a team when they are having trouble punching it in. P Cary Erwin (35.7 net avg., 39 In20) is about your average punter. Erwin had a great season last year pinning the opponent inside the twenty 39 times. Arizona management canít help but be concerned about that pathetic 35.7 net average though. The team really lacks a standout punt returner. Trufant has returned kicks his entire career and will continue to be the primary kick returner.

    Final Analysis:

    The Arizona Cardinals are loaded with talent at about every starting position, with the exception of RB. This team should easily be a pass first offense and will probably rarely run the ball effectively. Depth is a major concern. Any major injury at about any position could really cost this team. The Cards are primed for another playoff run and barring injuries, anything less than a trip to the Franchise Bowl would be a disappointment.
    AFC NORTH CHAMPS: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2016
    AFC CHAMPS: 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2016
    FRANCHISE BOWL CHAMPS in 2011 and 2016


  3. #3
    Guest
    Well 8-8 and a division championship and a WC round loss is like kissing your sister....

    I am afraid some tough decisions lie ahead.

  4. #4
    2016 Preview

    This team was very close in making the playoffs last season. It has been said that great teams are put together in the draft. It is not so much what you do in the 1st rd and 2nd round, but what you can do with your second day picks (3rd-7th). This off-season Arizona did just that. In the 4th round they landed SS Dana Banfield. He was the best PR in college last season and should start right away. In the 5th round they picked up OG Terrell Disney. The Great Great Grandson of Walt Disney. And this guy can really play. Look for him to be a starter next season. 6th round pick Glen Corbett looks to be a pass rushing stud. Getting 2 starters in the 2nd round with RB Wade Swift and OG Peter Jennings didnít hurt. Not bad for a team not using a 1st round draft choice. Oh yeah they have Alex Smith and Sinorice Moss on offense. On Defense they could have 3 to 4 players that make the pro bowl. Good luck the rest of the NC west
    AFC NORTH CHAMPS: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2016
    AFC CHAMPS: 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2016
    FRANCHISE BOWL CHAMPS in 2011 and 2016


  5. #5
    2016 REVIEW

    Well after a promising 2015 season but just missing the playoffs.... Arizona goes out gets a new Head Coach. Matt Howe, a well tested college coach, comes in and decides to make a few MAJOR changes. He gets rid of the team's running back of the future, Shaun Casper, and makes a blockbuster deal with Cincinatti to acquire a former league MVP QB Alex Smith.

    After what looked to be a promising draft and picking up several starters without a 1st round pick, 2016 looked to be the season where the Cardinals jumped in to the leagues upper level teams.

    2016 turned out to be a major disappointment for much of the organization. Matt Howe quickly realized the FFL is much different than the college ranks and the league witnessed his growing pains. With all the new changes to the team, team chemistry was clearly the toughest obstacle to overcome. Having the the toughest weighted schedule by year's end didn't help either.

    But with all the rough spots during the 2016 year, there were a few bright spots. Here are the team awards for the season.


    Offensive POY: WR Sinorice Moss (97 receptions, 1189 yards, 7 TDs)
    Defensive POY: DT Bernard Sisson (82 tackles, 8.5 sacks)
    Offensive ROY: RB Wade Swift (1059 yards, 5 rushing TDs)... pick 2.24
    Defensive ROY: SS Dana Banfield (55 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 3 INTs, 2 returned for TDs, 22 punt retuns for a 7.0 average)... pick 4.13
    Team Humanitarian Award: SS Jake Wiebe - After joining the team from the New York Giants in the offseason, Jake quickly became a leader on the team and on the field... leading Arizona's safeties with 58 tackles despite only starting 7 games. He also become a respected role model in the community, leading charitable groups to record setting fund raising programs.

    and the MVP goes to: *drum roll*

    BERNARD SISSON

    Bernard Sisson, for his 7th straight season, started every game of the year. Setting personal records in tackles, sacks, PR%, and Tk%, Bernard was the backbone to a depleted Arizona defense. His 85 tackles were 2nd in the league among DTs and his 8.5 sacks were 3rd among DTs. He also earned his 3rd All-League 1st team appearance.

    Honorable mention goes to Moss, who set a team record of 97 receptions.
    Arizona Cardinals GM 2014-2023, 2027-2031
    NFC West Winner: 2018-2020
    Career Record (130-108-0)

    RETIRED GM POSITIONS
    GEFL - Minnesota Vikings 1993-1997 (40-42-0) - NFC North Winner: 1996-1997
    NRL - Washington Redskins 2026-2029 (38-30-1) - NFC East Winner: 2027-2028

  6. #6
    2017 Preview (as written by MARV)

    Arizona finished the 2016 season strong winning 3 of their last 4. With impressive wins against AFC Easts best teams NY Jets 27-24 and New England Patriots 33-31 and a 23-9 win for a season sweep of division rival Seahawks...

    Arizona will have 10 yr vet QB Alex Smith under new C-Martin Felker taken 2.2 who has yet to sign at this point. He should anchor this O-Line for many years to come.

    3.6 TE Everett Patterson has excellent RB and PB abilities his strength is avg. but his only real weakness lies in his endurance and BPR. He should be a day one starter. Needs to get signed to get him into camp

    4.5 K Ricky Azzoo nice pick here he will develop into a great kicker his kick power doesn't quite matchup to his kickoff abilities but lets see what happens.. Day one starter

    4.11 ILB Ronnie Bismonte an excellent Run Stopper and ST player very smart player knows what's happenning on the field at all times. Can make the switch to OLB should depth at the position be a problem but I suspect a move to MLB for a day one start...

    4.16 FB - Dean Horton very nice player. Should he sign soon enough as well Will be an instant start on day 1...Excellent RB,PB,BP,HR,PI,EN,ST.. His catching abilities are suspect. Looks like Lorenzo Neal... just a little shorter

    4.25 CB Devin Kerr solid pick here his M2M and BnR are very good is known to lay lick on ya from time to time and has been seen intercepting the ball.. Needs as much in TC as possible.. to take over the RCB spot. But think you'll see him in Nickel and Dime to start his career ..

    5.10 T Bruce Dodge hey not bad for the 5th round..He's a project..The move to LT may not have been the right move drafted a RT no major change here..Very Good RB not shabby at PB get him in the weight room and strengthen him up...He'll see limited time if he's backing up Forguson

    7.6 RB Dixon Rodriguez nice backup player should your starter go down.. I see him in alot of passing downs and passing formation.. he's pretty damn fast ,elusive,great Route running and getting down field.. maybe a move to WR would be better for him..

    7.11 LB Brenden Watson rating not that good but how do you avoid those bars like that in the 7th rd..Get him as much time in camp and see what come of it.


    The 2017 season brings hopes and dreams to the sun baked desert fans of Arizona. Who haven't seen the post season since 2013 when they eeked out a division title at 8-8. But faithfully they've walk towards the ticket boxes like zombies in Left 4 Dead. The rebellious stragglers are pulled in by the Smoker directing them to the ticketbox. Where the witch behind the ticket counter awaits with her boo hoo's and sob story to the walking dead as the Hunter picks their pockets...

    We talked with owner John of the Cardinals about. Why bring in the dead and place them amongst the living? John replies, I quote;

    "I had a long talk with our PR guys. They put their heads together and derived a plan of attack for the steady decline in tickets sales over the past few seasons. And they came up with a brilliant idea of if the Dead can infect the living our stadium will be sold out every year here after.. I said hey lets do it"

    It's really very simple marketing. The smokers pulls um in, while the witch pitches her sale the Hunter pounces and takes their money." The living become fed up with our performance, the dead well, they convince them.. This could catch on as plenty of other teams could use a new marketing technique it could spread like a virus.
    AFC NORTH CHAMPS: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2016
    AFC CHAMPS: 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2016
    FRANCHISE BOWL CHAMPS in 2011 and 2016


  7. #7
    2017 REVIEW

    An enigma of a team this Arizona Cardinals is. After starting the season a dreary 1-5 (thanks to the evil schedule makers putting 6 away games in the first 7 weeks) the Cardinals finished strong at 7-3. But that's not were the enigma lies. This team finished the season 8-8, mediocre by the book... but if you take a gander at the offensive and defensive statistics alone, you could swear they were a 10+ win teams easily.

    On offense, Arizona was a top 3 rushing team, top 10 passing team, and top 5 in overall yardage. They were also 7th in overall offensive scoring.

    So maybe their offensive numbers were good and the defense sucked it up. Think again. They had the 4th best rushing defense, 12th best passing defense, and 4th best in overall yardage. And 6th best in overall defensive scoring.

    All the above numbers were better than the 2017 FF Champions, the Atlanta Falcons (which whom the Cardinals were able to handle in their only win through the first 6 weeks). But that doesn't make the Cardinals an elite team. Numbers can only take you so far. Getting the WINS in the close games is where the next step lies for this team.

    But while we're at it, lets look at the awards for the 2017 Arizona Cardinals:

    Offensive POY: QB Alex Smith (351/487 = 72.1%. 3,798 yds, 22 TDs to 11 INT. QB rating of 100.2)
    Defensive POY: OLB Andy Hilgendorf (76 tackles, 5 sacks, 1 INT, 1 FF)
    Offensive ROY: C Martin Felker (22 KRB, 3 pancakes, only 1 sack given up)... 2.02
    Defensive ROY: ILB Ronnie Bismonte (33 tackes, 1 sack)... 4.11
    Team Humanitarian Award: RG Terrell Disney - Yes, the same Great Great Grandson of Walt Disney. As a former 5th rounder only 2 years ago, he deservingly earned his way into the starting spot as the team's RG. He was part of a unit that allowed only 17 sacks on the year (tied for second in the league). Growing up in Wilmington, Delaware and going to school in Oregon, the Southwest was a new environment for him. In his second year he's now more comfortable in the community and his charity that sponsers children's trips to Disneyland (called Disney to Disney) has been praised by all the local papers and the parents love it. Congrats to Terrell for his quick transition into the NFL and his role model leadership he shares with the community.
    Most Improved Player (a new award for this season): QB Alex Smith - After the blockbuster trade from Cincinnati 2 seasons ago, many thought this team was set to become a contender right away. Well, Alex failed to make a smooth transition. He was a former league MVP, playing about as well as a spot starter. The front office was worried they made a mistake bringing him in at potentially the down side of his career. All that turned around in 2017. He set team records for most 300 yard passing games in a season and highest completion percentages. His 72.1% was actually the best of his career. He was also only the 2nd QB in Cardinals' history to break the 100 QB rating number. The last to do that was Trent Green in 2011. This improvement is most notably apparent in the amount of drops his receivers made compared to last year: 9 to 31, respectively. He spent alot of time in the offseason to make sure he was on the same page with his receivers.

    And now the MVP:

    you guessed it

    Alex Smith

    We've already heard enough about this guy's season. And though he didn't lead this team to a playoff appearance, he did turn around a poor 6-10 team to a competetive 8-8 team with some solid numbers to be worried about in 2018.

    Honorable mention once again goes to WR Moss. His 94 catches and 1,223 yards for 12 touchdowns is no slouch of a season. A second honorable mention goes to RB Wade Swift, who set team records for most 100 yd rushing games in a season (7) and highest yd/carry (4.54)
    Arizona Cardinals GM 2014-2023, 2027-2031
    NFC West Winner: 2018-2020
    Career Record (130-108-0)

    RETIRED GM POSITIONS
    GEFL - Minnesota Vikings 1993-1997 (40-42-0) - NFC North Winner: 1996-1997
    NRL - Washington Redskins 2026-2029 (38-30-1) - NFC East Winner: 2027-2028

  8. #8

    Re: Arizona Cardinals

    2029 Season Preview:

    2028 Record: 6-10, 3rd place in the NFC West
    Points Scored: 211 (lowest in the FFL)
    Points Allowed: 286 (6th fewest in the FFL)

    Offseason:

    Retirements: ILB Ronnie Bismonte (37 tackles in 2028); DE Trent Hudgins (6 tackles, 1 hurry in 2028); DT Glenn Dorsey (appeared in only 2 games on ST in 2028)

    Coaching Staff: Hired Graham Marklund as Head Coach (from IND); Hired Ethan Brooks as Defensive Coordinator (from BAL)

    UFA Signings: TE Patrick Logan [43/43] (from SDO); DT Matt Sato [35/35] (from SEA); RB Jeff Hicks [26/31]; RB David Ayanbadejo [25/34] (from NYJ); DE Jimmy Hutton [27/36] (from NYJ); OLB Lincoln Vespignani [30/30] (from RIC); QB Tyrell Terrell [47/47] (from IND)

    Undrafted Rookie Signings: QB Tony Sheasley [17/46]; RB Wes Franklin [25/41]

    Free Agents Lost: QB Josh Johnson [30/30] (to IND)

    Players Released: TE Orlando Robles [20/32]; TE R.J. Cote [25/25]; RB Alex Keyes [30/30]; G Charlie Nash [20/38]; DE Archie Sankey [20/23]; RB Dana Brock [28/28]

    Acquired Via Trade: TE A.J. Kok [53/53]

    Players Traded Away: WR Kirk Bode [38/38]; CB Lonnie Denyer [30/52]

    Draft: WR Justin Briggs [52/66]; CB Dean Horton [44/65]; OT Toby Simonson [22/37]; WR Lionel Canty [22/34]; DE Devin Abrams [22/35]

    Offseason Recap: With new major retirements and a pretty lackluster free agency period, the real noise in Arizona this offseason was the hiring of new head coach Graham Marklund. While he's yet to have a winning season in his 6 years as a head coach, Marklund is a promising young coach that should get this franchise back to it's winning ways. The other big news this offseason, was the addition of WR Justin Briggs, selected 7th overall in the draft out of Oregon.

    Offense

    Quarterbacks:

    Last season's starter, Dean Baruffi, continued to struggled this preseason and should find himself on the bench to start the season. The newly acquired Tyrell Terrell didn't look great in the preseason either, but should be given the 1st chance to start. Heath Horn is the longest tendered QB on the roster, although just entering his 3rd year with the team. He got a long look in the preseason and completed 56.4% of his passes for 302 yards and 3 TDs, but struggled with turnovers. In fact, this group as a bunch is the achilles heel of the team, completing just 53% of their passes this preseason while throwing 5 INTs and fumbling another 7 times.

    Running Backs:

    Like the quarterback situation, the Arizona front office is looking for the answer in the backfield as well. Last year's starter, Charles Bowers, looked sharp in the preseason, racking up 112 yards on 18 carries. Look for him to evenly split the load with Ted Singh (43 carries for 180 yards this preseason) and FB Owen Marecic, who is by far the most talented member of the backfield. Rookie Danny Ayanbadejo, a 5th round selection who was cut by the Jets, might battle his way into the mix as well. Ayanbadejo carried the ball for 80 yards on 14 carries in the preseason.

    Receivers:

    This group got the biggest upgrade during the offseason with the addition of rookie WR Justin Briggs and TE AJ Kok, who makes for a big 3rd down target. Briggs will more than likely draw a lot of double teams, so the Cardinals will need one of the other WRs to step up out of the shadows. Bryan Schroeder was a threat in the end zone this preseason, catching 3 TDs, but struggled with 3 dropped passes. Demarco Sampson looks to be the starter though, opposite Briggs. He won't wow anyone, but he has played solid last season and in the preseason. 5th round pick Lionel Canty is still a bit raw, but might get a longer look later in the season if no one else steps up. TE Patrick Logan, who signed as a free agent, should see some time in 2 TE sets this season.

    Offensive Linemen:

    4th year Guard, Eugene Arnold, is the anchor and has developed into one of the FFL's best pass blockers. Guard Andrew Jackson will look to bounce back from a severe leg injury that ended his season in Week 11 last year. 2nd year C Bennie Tirman, struggled mightily in his rookie season (18.2 in KRB% and 4 sacks allowed), but has been working with Arnold to improve his foot work. Dwight Henley should see time at both the Guard and Center position as well. Henley has great strength, but has been inconsistent over his career. On the outside, look for the leader of this line, Billy Joe Whitlow & Jason Dorff. Whitlow is a great run blocker and provides solid protection against the pass. Dorff is recovering from a sprained knee, but should start this season as the starting RT. He was an amazing pass blocker in college, so he might get a look over on the left side once he gets more experience. Last season's starting RT, Andre Smith, is starting to show his age. While it looks like he's no longer in peak condition to be a starter, he should provide the experience to be a solid backup.

    Defense

    Defensive Linemen:

    Tyson Alualu, once a pro-bowl DT, enters his 2nd season as a DE. He's a great 3-4 DE and will look to build off his success from last season. In the middle, is 2nd year NT Scottie Kemp. Kemp is a punishing hitter, but needs to improve against the run to take his game to the next level. On the other side of Kemp, should be Bernie Watts, who is recovering from a serious leg injury that shortened his season last year. Kelly Compton has a nose for sniffing out the run, and looks to be on the field in running situations. Also coming off the bench, is C.J. Breeding, a bruising hitter that could push for a starting job. Had 5 sacks last season and looks to build off that.

    Linebackers:

    Our breakout candidate on this team is Nate Irving. This former 7th overall pick is entering his 3rd season and has all the right tools to be a force in this league. With the rest of this young defense getting better, we think Irving will have his first 100 tackle season and continue to make plays in coverage as he tries to match his 6 INTs from last season. Colin McCarthy looks to line up alongside Irving in the middle. He's one of the best in the game at reading plays. The biggest blow to this group came in the first preseason game, when WLB Travis Foster suffered a compound leg fracture. With 22 sacks and 53 hurries over the past 2 seasons, his production will be hard to replace. 3rd year LB T.J. Stetson could get the first look, but don't expect numbers even close. Perry Riley should once again start at SLB. While he's not a pro-bowl caliber player, he's consistent and gives it his all out on the field.

    Defensive Backs:

    Selected with the 22nd overall pick, look for Dean Horton to start right away at RCB. He can do all 3 coverage types well and has great hands while providing solid run support. His biggest knock is that he's a bit slow at seeing a play develop. Opposite him is Kyle Wilson. Wilson isn't a shutdown corner, but teams have been shying away from his side of the field. With Horton now on the team, look for Wilson to get challenged a bit more this season. Paul Fox struggled as a starter last season, but we think he'll bounce back as the nickle back.. a role we think fits him well. 3rd year SS Christopher Prosinski and 2nd year FS Jerome Holliman round out the starters in the secondary.

    Specialists:

    Ricky Azzoo is entering his 13th season as the Cardinals kicker and is coming off one of his best seasons yet. Last year, he nailed 10 out of 12 field goals from over 50 yards, easily the most in the FFL. Overall, he hit on 31 of 39 attempts and will be counted on again this season as the offense will continue to struggle. P Kenny Morris has been pretty consistent over the past few years and was 5th in both punting average (47.0) and net punting average (40.4) last season. Look for more of the same this year. Kyle Wilson mainly handled both the punt & kick return duties last season. He was 9th in PR average (9.7) and 8th in KR average (28.6) so look for him back in that role again.

    Final Analysis:

    The Cardinals will once again continue to struggle to put up points, but the additions of Briggs and Kok is a step in the right direction but management needs a couple more offseasons to turn this offense around. The defense will continue to be a strong points and I see this team going 8-8 this year, which is good enough to challenge for the division title in a weak NFL West.
    AFC NORTH CHAMPS: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2016
    AFC CHAMPS: 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2016
    FRANCHISE BOWL CHAMPS in 2011 and 2016


  9. #9

    2031 Draft Review

    After retaking over the team in 2027, the current management has put together a roster that got the team back in the playoffs for the first time since 2025. An amazing 51 players have joined the team since 2027: 34 draft picks (including 2 UDFAs) and 17 free agents. What's even more amazing is that they have been able to select EIGHT 1st round draft picks in that span of 5 years. All that wheeling-and-dealing left the team devoid of draft picks this year. To make things worse, they traded away their 2nd round pick to help secure future drafts from the same fate. The GM, oohnoitsjohn, gave reasoning behind the move in an interview before the draft saying, "We have a full roster right now, we had five picks in the first three rounds last year -- three of them in the first -- and we're missing our first round pick this year and next year. We've decided that we will focus this year on finding quality depth in the later rounds and have some added help in future drafts."

    Going into the draft and after trading away the 26th pick in the 2nd round, the Cardinals were planning on waiting till the 5th pick in the 5th round before making their first selection. That all changed when offensive lineman, Josh LeRibeus (LG 27/66), fell to the later stages of the 3rd round. The Cardinals decided he was too good to be sitting there in the 3rd and traded a future 3rd round pick to select him right before Philadelphia -- who admitted they had their eye on him.

    Josh LeRibeus is an interesting draft pick because of how he got to the NFL. Josh decided to enter the draft following his Junior year at Stanford. He is an undersized guard that was a true starter for his Freshman and Sophomore years. He boasts excellent strength and technique. A leg injury in a home game against USC cost him most of his Junior season. After the season he lost even more weight and had some conditioning problems. The leg injury wasn't fully healed in time for the combine, so he was unable to participate. Josh is expected to learn the game from the bench his first few seasons, but if he can show the nastiness that he showed as a child (http://dc.sbnation.com/washington-redsk ... hogs-haven), he might crack the starting lineup at some time this season.

    In the fifth round, the Cardinals had three picks: 5, 25, and 28. With the first of three, they went with RB Lamar Miller (RB 28/43) . In his Senior year at Minnesota, Lamar Miller was a proficient and polished all-around back. As an added bonus, he was an accomplished special teamer that played on both coverage units as well as returned a few kicks. But many scouts agree that his skill-set might translate best to wide receiver in the pros (WR 23/58). As evidence to his receiving skills, he lead his team last year in receptions, yards, yac, and receiving TDs. His knock on him as a wide receiver prospect is that as a pro, he'll have to learn how to beat press coverage and and learn the nuances of the position. If he can develop as hoped, he could very well be the steal of this draft.

    With the 25th pick of the 5th round, the team went running back again. They drafted the combine stud out of TCU, Kelly Culberson (RB 14/21). This pick pretty much sealed the deal for Lamar Miller's switch to a receiver position. Culberson was a highly regarded high school prospect and put up solid numbers in his Freshman season with the Horned Frogs. After a preseason injury, the talented player was redshirted his Sophomore season. In his Junior year, he failed to live up to his Freshman year expectations. Culberson decided to go pro after his coach decided to leave and the offense was going to be switched to a spread that almost never gave touches to the running back. When he entered the combine, he put up phenomenal numbers for someone that eventually was selected at the end of the 5th round. Cardinals' Offensive Coordinator Jed Weaver said this about him after the draft, "We didn't draft him because of his combine. We looked hard at him because of his combine, but we drafted him because we looked at his tape from his Freshman year and saw a guy with tremendous potential. If he can recover that form, we will have a dangerous one-two punch with him and [last year's Rookie of the Year] Jared Rayburn."

    With their last pick in the 5th round, the Cardinals went with another receiver, Chris Givens (WR 19/36),the redshirt senior out of Wyoming. It is clear that the Cardinals were looking to infuse youth and depth at their skill positions in this draft. Chris Givens had a fairly productive career at Wyoming and performed very well at the combine. He looked extremely fluid in his position drills and ran in the 4.4s in the 40 yard dash. Given his relatively unknown status, he could be a small school sleeper candidate to have a solid career (96 volatility). He'll have to improve his route running skills to get looks in the pros, but his physical gifts could mean he might grow into an excellent slot receiver down the line.

    In the 6th round, with the 184th pick overall, the Cardinals went with another combine absentee and relatively unknown player. The tweener DE/OLB Scott Solomon (DE 19/47) was primarily a pass rushing specialist for Washington State last season. He didn't get a lot of playing time, as the cougars were playing from behind a lot this season. As a result, he unfortunately was not invited to the combine this season. But on film, he showed very good strength and technique along with a terrific burst off the line. He was almost never beat on screens and always made his way into the backfield. If he can round out his game and become more efficient in shedding blockers, he could be very useful and potentially be a great pick for the Cardinals from the later stages of the draft.

    Finally, with the Cardinals last pick in the draft, they selected FB Dave Hughes (FB 28/38). Playing for the Florida Gators last year, Hughes was shifted and played both fullback and tight end. He was excellent in 3rd down passing situations, proving to be useful as blocker and coming up big in surprise draw plays. But the Cardinals see him more suited towards the tight end position (TE 29/46). At 6'1" 243lbs, he's a little on the small side, but he has shown to be an excellent route runner, has very good hands, and NEVER shies away from catching the ball across the middle. He doesn't have blazing speed and has been known to lose focus when trying to make a catch-and-run on third downs. But being the 214th pick in the draft, all he's looking to do is compete and hopefully earn a roster spot.
    Arizona Cardinals GM 2014-2023, 2027-2031
    NFC West Winner: 2018-2020
    Career Record (130-108-0)

    RETIRED GM POSITIONS
    GEFL - Minnesota Vikings 1993-1997 (40-42-0) - NFC North Winner: 1996-1997
    NRL - Washington Redskins 2026-2029 (38-30-1) - NFC East Winner: 2027-2028

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