2013 was a year of change for the Arizona Cardinals.
Following a disappointing 5-11 season in 2012, the Cardinals essentially cleaned house, firing general manager Rod Graves and head coach Ken Whisenhunt and replacing them with Steve Keim and Bruce Arians.
The change didn’t stop there. Keim almost completely re-tooled the roster, making over 190 roster moves during the course of the year.
Those changes led to a 10-6 season under Arians, and some really positive momentum heading into 2014 and beyond.
Now, the task becomes maintaining the forward progress instead of creating it. Cardinals president Michael Bidwill joined Doug and Wolf Wednesday on Arizona Sports, now on 98.7 FM, and talked about that very challenge.
“It’s about keeping up the intensity we started last year,” Bidwill said. “It started with Steve and Bruce, it was all about leadership, accountability and performance and they really delivered — the players delivered it on the field.
“What we need to do is build upon that. We’ll have free agency starting here in a few weeks. After that, we start getting ready for the draft — we’re actually in the process of getting ready for the draft now — but in early May, we’ll have the draft.”
The Cardinals own the 20th pick in the first round of this year’s draft, and the team’s needs are easily recognizable — left tackle and quarterback being among them. But Bidwill knows that another key to continuing the franchise’s momentum are guys that are already wearing the colors.
“It’s also re-signing a lot of the key players and making sure we’re making the right moves in terms of building out that roster and spending the money in the right places relative to our roster additions.”
The harsh reality for the Cardinals is they reside in a division that is undoubtedly the strongest in football. The Seattle Seahawks will host the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game Sunday, and those two teams show no signs of letting up any time in the near future. Bidwill is very aware of the neighborhood.
“We’ve got to continue to get better in all areas, all positions, build the back of the roster, build depth,” he said. “The NFC West is going to continue to be a very tough place. We’ve got to continue to build the team that wins the West and becomes the dominant team in the NFL and maintains itself.”