Add Kurt Warner to the list of those who think the Arizona Cardinals are in for a strong bounceback year.
The former MVP quarterback who finished up his career with the Cardinals sees an improved squad over the one that finished 5-11 last season. He expects the team’s defense to be just as good, if not better, than last year when the group was ranked sixth by Football Outsiders in defensive efficiency.
Warner pointed out the playmakers the defense has, highlighting star cornerback Patrick Peterson, saying it, “changes everything when you have a guy who can be a shutdown-type corner.”
He’s also high on his former top target, Larry Fitzgerald, who has a new quarterback in Carson Palmer and head coach in Bruce Arians.
“I expect Larry to be back to form of a couple of years ago,” Warner told Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo on Friday. “I think Carson will make him better. I think what Coach Arians and what they are going to do with him is going to give him more opportunities to get back to that level and have impact.”
Warner still has questions about who will be the other guy on offense for them, whether it’s a running back or another receiver to help take some of the pressure off Fitzgerald. While he believes Palmer is definitely going to help, Warner isn’t sure if the offensive line will give him the protection he needs to perform.
“One thing that I feel with Carson is that he struggles a lot more when you get quick pressure on him and he has to make those quick decisions and get the ball out of his hands,” Warner explained. “Will they be able to sustain things up front so he can be who I think he can be, throwing the ball down the field and attacking like how this offense wants to?”
The Cardinals open the 2013 campaign on Sunday against the St. Louis Rams, a team Warner thinks has improved as well.