Last year: 5-11, last place in NFC West
Acquisitions: Carson Palmer, Rashard Mendenhall, Jonathan Cooper, Tyrann Mathieu, Yeremiah Bell
Departures: Adrian Wilson, Adam Snyder, Kevin Kolb, John Skelton, LaRod Stephens-Howling
Vegas 2013 win total over/under: 6 wins
Five exotic animals Darnell Dockett keeps as pets:
— Spotted owl
— A lizard that is really an Animorph kid
If there’s one thing the Arizona Cardinals and their fans understand, it is a reboot. The team has had so many. Since they moved to Arizona, they have had eight head coaches, and they just fired their most successful one. (In every possible way. Ken Whisenhunt has the most wins in team history – 45 – brought the team to the Super Bowl and made the playoffs twice, something no other Buzzsaw coach had done since Don Coryell almost 40 years ago.) Their quarterback situation since the Arizona move, Kurt Warner aside, has been so awful they envy the Jets. Pushing the reset button is what we do.
It’s just sort of sad to be back here so quickly. The Warner-Whisenhunt era – that is to say: Two years, plus one .500 season – felt like a total transmogrification of the franchise. Not only was the team winning, and sorta tough, they were playing in a fantastic (and shockingly loud: Seriously, go there sometime) new stadium. No longer was the Buzzsaw the team Cowboys and Steelers fans took vacations to go watch their team pound. We actually existed. People knew who we were. To see the Buzzsaw in the playoffs felt like magic: To see them in the Super Bowl is so surreal and insane we still don’t quite believe it happened. It felt like the decades of irrelevance, of desperately hoping someone would at least notice our team, had finally paid off.
Nope! We’re back to being ignored again, and with good reason. (The quarterbacking in Arizona was so bad last year that they brought in Brian Hoyer, and Buzzsaw fans were all, “Finally, someone who can play!”) So, a reboot. This reboot is strange, though: It’s all about old dudes. Bruce Arians, a guy who actually retired two years ago, is getting his first real head coaching job even though he’s the same age as Bill Belichick. And the quarterback is Carson Palmer, who most NFL fans stopped paying attention to three years ago.
These are the saviors! It is difficult to get excited about a new era in town when the people in charge and orchestrating it won’t be here longer than two or three years even if everything goes perfect. This feels like a wait station. This feels like the blip everyone will have forgotten about 10 years, the little section of Buzzsaw history that came after Whisenhunt but before Kevin Sumlin made the NFL leap. In other words: It’ll be easy to ignore us again this year. Don’t feel bad. We’re used to it.
*** Carson Palmer continues the tradition of Jim McMahon, Gary Hogeboom, Dave Kreig, Boomer Esiason, et al: Coming to AZ on what may be the way downside of a once-good QB’s career. Feels like 1994 again. Feels like home.
*** Bruce Arians wears Kangol hats. We’re hoping that means he’s more Samuel L. Jackson than @DadBoner.
*** Bruce Arians doesn’t stretch his guys out, per a report by the Arizona Republic’s Kent Somers. His rationale being, if a guy’s chasing you with a knife you don’t have time to stretch. Bruce Arians apparently thinks The Last Boy Scout was real. Also, Bruce: YOU ARE IN THE DESERT NOW.
*** Everyone freaks out about Tyrann Mathieu, but seriously, the guy just smokes a lot of weed. That said, the first day of minicamp, he tweeted that he can’t let coaching get in the way of playmaking. Well, we actually agree with that, but it’ll be fun to watch Mike Florio freak out about him all year regardless.
*** Bruce Arians hired a number of his former Temple players on the Buzzsaw coaching staff, so we’re ready to play the tough American Athletic Conference schedule.
*** Rashard Mendenhall used to write columns for the Huffington Post, so he’s accustomed to poor production for little to no pay. A true Cardinal!
*** Through it all, there is Larry Fitzgerald. Sure to be the first full-bore, solely Arizona Cardinal Hall of Famer, you can argue Palmer was just brought in so Fitzy wouldn’t kill himself. Fitzgerald will be 30 by the time the season begins, which is starting to get up there a bit. You can imagine him starting to decline a bit in the next few years, which will be sad, but there’s still no one this side of Pat Tillman as universally beloved. In a pinch: Just watch this.
So much better in
SpanishItalian. So much more shrieking.