The Cardinals lost their coach and their starting QB to retirement in a course of two days. Let’s see what’s left in AZ.
Head coach Bruce Arians retired. That’s about all you need to know about this Cardinals team for 2018. For Arizona, as soon as the year started, it pretty much ended. It was a new week, a new year, new goals. But on Jan. 1, Arians cited his family as his reason for retiring.
It wasn’t his 8-8 squad that finished third in the NFC West last year. (Because that was actually a semi-improvement from the 7-8-1 they had the season prior.)
It wasn’t that the Cardinals missed the playoffs for the second consecutive year either. Or that he reinvented a new offense after his two key players suffered injuries.
So this year, more than losses, the Cardinals will likely suffer heartache. Arians was the winningest coach in franchise history. He led the Cardinals on a historic run in 2015 to the NFC Championship game, but Arizona lost to Carolina.
So now Arians is gone and so is any current hope of the Cardinals finally winning a Super Bowl.
Not digging the doom in gloom in the desert? Did we mention quarterback Carson Palmer retired too?
C-you Later, Carson.
On paper, Week 7 last season for the Cardinals was a game on international turf against the Los Angeles Rams. It was also the week they lost quarterback Carson Palmer.
Palmer’s NFL career ended, in essence, in London, when he broke his arm.
For Arizona, as soon as the year started, it pretty much ended.
And this came six weeks after the Cardinals lost starting running back David Johnson to injury. That forced Arians to rework his offense.
In Palmer, Arizona is losing experience and its best season on memory. The 38-year-old QB, who was drafted first overall in 2003, went 38-21-1 in his five years in ‘Zona.
But the furthest he ever went in the postseason in his 14 years in the league was the 2015 run to the NFC Championship game. The Cardinals went 13-3 that season.
Palmer’s announcement to retire came just a day after Arians’ announcement, which if you think about it, seems very serendipitous if the front office was looking to make changes.
Why did Palmer retire? Was it because of Arians? Palmer said he just “knew.”
New Coach, New QB, New Arizona
The Cardinals hired Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks as their next head coach. But maybe to some fan dismay, Wilks isn’t focused on the Super Bowl. Not yet.
The overarching message he had for his team: “Win the day.”
Arizona quarterbacks have to actually take that to heart since rookie Josh Rosen and former Heisman trophy winner Sam Bradford are competing for the starting job.
See you in 2019
Vegas watched the departures and heard the new focus and set its odds with the Cardinals and Arizona is tied for the worst odds to win Super Bowl 53 along with the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins and New York Jets.
This year hasn’t been Arizona’s since Day 1. The Cardinals just need to get to 2019 already.
Week 1: Sept. 9 vs. Washington Redskins
Welcome to the NFL, Steve Wilks! An offensive-minded coach vs. a defensive-minded one. This will be fun to watch, but we like the stability of Alex Smith in DC versus not-Carson-Palmer.
Week 2: Sept. 16 at Los Angeles Rams*
The Rams are like the Elon Musk of the NFL right now. You don’t know what Sean McVay is going to come up with next.
Week 3: Sept. 23 vs. Chicago Bears
New coach, new QB, new everything. We’re still getting this train rolling, people.
Week 4: Sept. 30 vs. Seattle Seahawks*
Steve Wilks’ and QB-to-be-named soon first win comes against a division opponent. Are we crazy? The Seahawks? Yeah, maybe. But c’mon it’s not like the Cardinals dropped to the FCS here.
Week 5: Oct. 7 at San Francisco 49ers*
San Fran ranked fourth in the division last year, but they’ve had less upheaval in the offseason.
Week 6: Oct. 14 at Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings could win the Super Bowl or the Eagles, Packers, Saints, Panthers or Rams could.
Week 7: Oct. 18 vs. Denver Broncos
A possible battle between two talented rookies (Josh Rosen and Bradley Chubb). We’re liking our chances at home with Rosen.
Week 8: Oct. 28 vs. San Francisco 49ers*
Arizona won both against the 49ers last year, including one in OT. With Johnson back on the ground, why not pick up another win in the division?
Week 9: Bye Week
Week 10: Nov. 11 at Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs may have a new QB, but they still have the same ol’ Andy Reid.
Week 11: Nov. 18 vs. Oakland Raiders
Oakland finished third in the AFC West. This is a pretty even matchup so we’re giving home turf the pick.
Week 12: Nov. 25 at Los Angeles Chargers
Want to know one of LA’s headline makers in the offseason? If they should keep two kickers this season. A little less than – who’s the new QB and how will the new coach workout?
Week 13: Dec. 2 at Green Bay Packers
Green Bay last faced Arizona in a regular season game in December 2015. That was Arizona’s finest hour. This year isn’t.
Week 14: Dec. 9 vs. Detroit Lions
The Lions recorded consecutive winning seasons for the first time since the 1990s. While they won’t have as good of a year as 2017, we think they’ll still pull off a win in Arizona.
Week 15: Dec. 16 at Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons are looking for another 10-win season. It would be their third in-a-row. This game helps them get there.
Week 16: Dec. 23 vs. Los Angeles Rams*
Is Sean McVay still coach? Rams will take the division again.
Week 17: Dec. 30 at Seattle Seahawks*
Pete Carroll & Co. at home to end the season in search of returning to the playoffs? You could pick Seattle, but what fun would that be? Arizona had such a bad start to 2018, they may as well end it on an upset.
*denotes an NFC West game