That the Arizona Cardinals, and their troubled offensive line, were able to reverse their fortunes of a season ago didn't catch offensive guard Daryn Colledge off guard.
The eight-year veteran paid close attention to his team's offseason moves, knowing what pieces most needed to be added in order for the turnaround to be effective, despite also having confidence in the talent already in Glendale, citing the 4-0 start to the 2012 season, which later went awry, as evidence of its existence on the Cardinals roster. But the specifics of the team's draft -- which yielded products such as Andre Ellington and Tyrann Mathieu -- and free agency activity -- adding Karlos Dansby, John Abraham, Eric Winston and Rashard Mendenhall -- along with its addition of Carson Palmer via trade wasn't the most important part of the Cardinals revival, according to Colledge.
"Finding a team that knew how to win" -- the broader point -- was, as he informed Arizona Sports' the Dan Bickley Show with Vince Marotta.
"To see the culture of the team change and to see a winning mentality come in (with the new coaching staff) -- that's what's most important and that's the greatest thing," he went on.
"I'm not surprised at all that they got it turned around."
Colledge, who began his run with the Cardinals in 2011, seems an integral part of such a team -- one that "knew how to win," as he would have it.
A member of the Super Bowl XLV-winning Green Bay Packers, in his final year with the team, the 310-pound guard has been on a winning team in four of his eight seasons in the NFL, while playing for an 8-8 team in two others, including the 2011 Cardinals.
First-year head coach Bruce Arians and staff, who together drew praise from Colledge during the on-air interview, managed to turn a 5-11 team into a 10-6, near-playoff team which won seven of its final nine games of the season. The offensive line, meanwhile, jumped from 26th to 16th in pass protection from last season, according to FootballOutsiders.com, while improving upon their run blocking, which was ranked last in the NFL in 2012, climbing to 17th -- sixth in the site's season-ending power rankings.
And while the NFL is a league of nomads with high roster turnover league-wide, Colledge feels confident that the team's most integral members will return in 2014. That, he says, will bode well as the team can build on its 2013 momentum and chemistry.
"The good thing is, the guys that are staying -- we're not starting over," Colledge told the show. "It's not a brand new system. Guys aren't trying to figure (something new) out.
"We're already a few steps ahead of the game."