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Arizona Cardinals

Updated Jul 12, 2013 - 11:31 am

Calais Campbell happy to play with 'real quarterback' again

There's little need to rehash the struggles the Arizona Cardinals faced at quarterback over the last few seasons, but let's just say things could not have been much worse.

So, while the team's defense was emerging as one of the best in the league, the team was held back by an offense that, well, stunk.

But hope is on the horizon, as new head coach Bruce Arians brought in veteran quarterback Carson Palmer to run the offense. We have yet to see the former Pro Bowler's impact on the field, but he's certainly changed the perception of the locker room.

In a piece by CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman, defensive lineman Calais Campbell is quoted as being rather excited about the team's new signal caller.

So much so, that he thinks Palmer could be the difference between a team that finished last in the NFC West in 2012 finishing first in 2013.

"We have a quarterback," he said.

And there it is. The big reason why the Cardinals could end up being one of the true surprises in football comes down to two words: Carson Palmer.

"I think it's very likely we can win the division, yes," Campbell said. "I respect every opponent in our division. Every one. But I think of it this way. We were able to hang in a bunch of our division games without a real quarterback.

"I don't want to disrespect anyone but now we have a real quarterback to go with a good defense. When we play with a lead, we're hard to beat. This is the first time in years that we have an offense that matches our defense."

While one can expect the Cardinals to be an improved team, it is a bit difficult to see them improving to the point of surpassing division -- and conference -- favorites San Francisco and Seattle.

However, it would be foolish to underestimate the difference a quality quarterback can make, as this was a team that won 10 games, the division title and one playoff contest just a few years ago with Kurt Warner under center.

But with the way things have gone since No. 13 retired, it seems like longer.

He added: "I was talking to Carson the other day and he said he's never really played with a good defense before. I told him it's been awhile since I played with a good quarterback."

Maybe the wait is finally over.

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