NFL

Cardinals hoping Palmer finally leads a deep playoff run

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Ken Rodney, TSN.ca
8/30/2014 8:46:12 PM
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There have been a lot of seasons for a lot of teams, well a lot of seasons for three teams that have started with the belief that this is going to be the season quarterback Carson Palmer leads his team deep into the playoffs, this year that chatter has begun again.

The reason for that optimism is the back half of last year where the Arizona Cardinals, Palmers' third team after the Cincinnati Bengals and Oakland Raiders, posted an impressive 7-2 record including a December 22 victory at CenturyLink Field, that snapped the Seattle Seahawks 14-game home winning streak and was the only game they lost their all season in their run to the Super Bowl title.

The late season surge left the Cardinals one win shy of the final wild card spot, but did create optimism heading into the 2014 season.

Palmer for his part helped elevate the offence from dead last in the league to 12th overall including a 129 point jump in scoring.  If they hadn't stumbled out of the gate they would have been neck and neck with the top two teams in the division and could have been a major player in the playoffs, as they were at least in the race.

Coming off a season where he finished with 24 touchdowns and 22 interceptions, Palmer will have both speed and talent at the wide receiver position at his disposal.

Veteran receiver Larry Fitzgerald bounced back last season to post solid numbers, pulling in 82 catches for 954 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Michael Floyd did even better turning 65 catches into 1,041 yards and he also found the end zone five times to add to the offensive cause.

In the pure speed department, the Cardinals have added Ted Ginn Jr. to the mix and with other talented pass catchers on the field he will have the chance to prove a real nuisance to opposing defences and also look for Jaron Brown and John Brown to stretch the field in multi sets opening the passing lanes for the big boys.

On defence the Cardinals will have to replace Daryl Washington who has been suspended for the entire season for a violation of the league's substance abuse policy and Darnell Dockett who suffered a season ending injury in the preseason.

Kareem Martin and Ed Stinson are a pair of rookies that are now going to see their playing time increase with the bodies that they will have to replace.

Corner Patrick Peterson will become an even more important person on defence as they will have to rely on both his skills and his leadership to marshal together a defence that will be young and inexperienced playing together.

Antonio Cromartie is new to the defence this season but is a veteran with savvy and skill at the corner position.

The Cardinals have a talented secondary when you also take into account their safeties and at the very least will be a tough team to pass on, making the job a little easier for their defensive front and linebackers.

If this team can start this season like they ended last season, they will be right in the mix as one of best teams in the NFL, but if they stumble out of the gate again in the NFC West it might be too hard once again to recover.

Carson Palmer  (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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