The Arizona Cardinals did not win their season opener, but that does not mean the afternoon was a total loss.
Sure, the team has every reason to be disappointed in the 27-24 loss to the St. Louis Rams, but there were some positives to take away from the game, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
New quarterback Carson Palmer looked sharp running new coach Bruce Arians' offense, and the Cardinals piled up 390 yards of total offense against one of the better defenses in the league.
"Coach Arians' offense is unbelievable," Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald told ESPN's SportsCenter Tuesday. "He has so many different ideas and formations, and puts guys in position to have success."
Fitz himself had an outstanding day, catching eight passes for 80 yards and two touchdowns, but Andre Roberts (8 catches, 97 yards) and Michael Floyd (four catches, 82 yards) also got in on the fun. In all, eight different Cardinals caught a pass.
"He knows what guys' strengths are," Fitzgerald added. "He's going to put you in position to go out there and play at your best and play fast."
Arians' play-calling aside, it's tough to see the Cardinals being as effective without the change at quarterback. While the veteran did throw an interception, he was on target much of the day and showed why the team acquired him from the Oakland Raiders.
"It's great to have that stabilizing figure at the quarterback position," Fitzgerald said, adding Palmer brings a calming presence to the huddle. "He's poised, and to have that, you know you have an opportunity to go out there and have success every single Sunday.
"He's a great leader for us."
Though it would be unwise to try to take too much away from just one game, it does appear that the Cardinals' offense is very much improved from last year. Now, the only question is whether or not that will translate to more wins.